“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits on the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does he prospers.” Psalm 1:1-3
This passage has two important things for us to remember. The first is a warning against hanging out with the wrong kinds of people and doing the things they do. You know who they are; the people who gossip about others, disobey their parents, and do whatever they can to get their way, even if it means hurting other people.
We’ve all encountered people like this, and maybe we’ve even been one of those people. But we all know what’s wrong and what’s right. We all know what our parents and teachers have taught us about the way we treat other people and the way we act. We all know that, while we still need to love people like that, it’s best to keep away from them so that we don’t end up doing the same things they do.
We also know what it means to be a good person and do the right thing. That’s great! But it doesn’t end there. We’re not supposed to just stay away from the people who do wrong and then we’re good to go.
The second thing this passage tells us is that we need to follow God’s rules. It’s not just about not doing wrong things, but about doing the right things instead. And God doesn’t ask us to just follow his rules. He asks us to delight in them. What does that even mean?
According to the dictionary, to delight in something means to take pleasure in doing it. God is asking us to take pleasure in following his rules. And the passage goes even farther saying that we should meditate on it day and night. At all times, we should be thinking about God’s rules and taking pleasure in doing them. I don’t know about you, but taking pleasure in some of those rules isn’t all that easy.
Sometimes it’s all I can do to smile at someone whose said something mean to me rather than saying something mean back. But I should enjoy doing it too? That’s rough. How do we enjoy following the rules? Especially the ones that are hard to follow?
Our joy doesn’t come from the rules themselves but from our reason for following them. We should be following God’s rules because we love him and want to honor him. Jesus died so that we don’t have to worry about being good enough for God to accept us. So instead of following his rules to gain his approval - something that leaves us tired and discouraged - we do it out of thankfulness for his gift.
When we’re thankful for what Jesus did for us, it is so much easier to obey God and take pleasure in doing so. What’s cool about this passage is that verse 3 tells us about an added bonus to following God and obeying his commands: prospering like a tree that’s planted really close to the water it needs to grow and flourish.
Praising God for what he has done for us by following his commands puts us exactly where we need to be to grow strong and healthy in Him. How cool is that?