4 Ways a Pastor Can Love His Wife Well
Mon Mar 10, 2014
by Dave Bruskas
We’re Praying for Epiphany Fellowship
Sun Mar 09, 2014
by Mark Driscoll
Our Top 5 Posts of February
Sat Mar 08, 2014
Resurgence Roundup, 3/7/14
Fri Mar 07, 2014
How to Replant a Church, Part 5: Rally Your Troops
Thu Mar 06, 2014
by Bubba Jennings
Psalm 1: The Preface
Most good books have a preface or introduction of one sort or another. The first book of the Lord of the Rings begins with a chapter entitled, “Concerning Hobbits”. Star Wars always begins with, “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...” Without them we would not know that hobbits are small agrarian creatures with hairy feet, we might think Luke Skywalker is from Iowa rather than Tatooine. Psalm 1 serves this same purpose as the preface to the book of Psalms building a foundation on which the rest of the book comes to rest.
Delight or Destruction? Your choice
The psalm begins with a challenge: do not take the counsel of the wicked, be counted with sinners or join in with those who scoff (v1). Rather, delight yourself in God’s law, the whole of scripture in our case, and meditate on it day and night (v2). This is a challenge to a very high standard and is the qualification for the blessing that follows. If, and only if, the word of God becomes our delight, we will be blessed. We will be like a fruitful tree, well watered and nourished, we will not wither and all we do will prosper (v3). However, if we we fail to delight in the scripture the opposite will be true. We will wither and die and the wind will blow us away (v4). God knows our hearts. We will not stand as righteous in the judgment and all our ways will perish (v5-6).
Your Best Life Now? Not necessarily...
I find that there is still a strong desire in my heart to adopt the “bible promise book” mentality I spoke of in my introduction to this series. I want to hold onto the promise that “all that I do will prosper” above all the rest of the prohibitions and cautions, but the psalmist will not let me. I have access to that blessing only to the extent that I delight in God’s word and keep it close in meditation. The great english preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon says it well: “How few among us can lay claim to the benediction (blessing) of the text! Perhaps some of you can claim a sort of negative purity, because you do not walk in the way of the ungodly; but let me ask you - Is your delight in the law of God? Do you study God's Word? Do you make it the man of your right hand - your best companion and hourly guide? If not, this blessing does not belong to you." from the “Treasury of David - Psalm 1” Martin Luther also drives this home: "...one does not meditate on the law of the Lord unless his delight was first fixed in it. For what we want and love, on that we reflect inwardly and diligently... Therefore let delight be first sent into the heart as the root, and then meditation will come o fits own accord." from “Luther’s Works - Vol. 10 - Lectures on the Psalms”
Delight is much more than duty
I would take Luther’s comments a small step further to say that unless we delight first and foremost in Jesus we will not delight in his word. The scripture reveals the glory of the Father in the face of Jesus Christ through the illumination of the Holy Spirit (2 Cor 3:18-4:6). Jesus is the only man who has ever, or will ever, fulfill the righteous requirements of Psalm 1. He has never walked in the counsel of the wicked, stood with sinners or sat with scoffers. He delights in the law as the one who inspired it (Jn 1:1). As such, he experiences the fullest blessing possible as an eternally fruitful, everlasting tree of truth and righteousness. To be in the truth of the word is to be in Christ. Apart from him there is no truth at all. I have a tendency to work from the outside in; to first ask, “what should I do?” before I ask, “who should I be?” But to “delight” in God’s word requires much more than a regular “quiet time” or daily devotional reading of the scripture. This could be a part of it but to delight requires a change in heart that is only possible through the the Holy Sprit. It means that we value, love, desire and take pleasure in the word. When this happens is becomes perfectly natural to meditate on scripture day and night. It also follows that what we do in that state would prosper as our hearts are unified with Jesus.
I would challenge you to ask the hard question, “where do I truly delight?” Ask the Spirit to search your heart for anything you delight in before Jesus and His word. Ask the Spirit to show you how to walk away from those idols and to place an insatiable desire for God’s word in their place. This is the heart of Psalm 1, Psalms 2-150 and the whole of Scripture. Heavenly Father... Open the eyes of my heart that I might truly see your glory revealed in Jesus by the Holy Spirit in the pages of Scripture. Reveal anything that opposes this and give me a deep delight in Your word. Grant that Jesus, as revealed in Your word, would be my deepest source of satisfaction, rest, comfort, pleasure and identity. Remind me that anything that prospers in my life ultimately comes from You. Amen.
Tim Smith’s facebook page
Discuss this Psalm on facebook