Connection...what do I allow myself to connect with? What do I allow to influence me? What do I cultivate?
These are all questions that come to mind as we take a look at Psalm 1:1-2 and the author's observance of what we allow to influence us.
Connection and Influence
“How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers!”
This is one of those verses that I usually just read over and keep moving until I get to something that has to do with godly people cause I don’t think I am this guy. Yet, a few days ago God hit me with a brick of understanding with this verse.
This verse presents a progression from walking to standing and then to sitting. It ends up this verse applies way more to me than I would dare admit.
Walking – In the culture when this was written walking was a daily activity. The person in the verse allows his daily activity to be counseled by the wicked. I have to stop and ask myself, how often do I let the influence of the world and what it deems important, significant counsel my daily life? The person ends up getting carried away,I don’t think this is intentional, more like a slow drift from God.
Standing – If you are standing somewhere, odds are you aren’t doing much. You stand when you wait for something or can’t make a decision. It appears the person in the verse has grown passive. He stands in the path of sinners. He doesn’t turn and move towards God. He may actually get in the way of people that are trying to see God. I believe standing in this verse represents passivity in our relationship with God. They are growing cold. They may be tired, or something may have happened that he doesn’t like. For whatever reason, they has chosen to stop. This is a critical juncture in our life where faith is key. Faith in God, even when we don’t understand, grants perspective. Perspective grants hope, lack of perspective/faith breeds despair.
Sitting – In this culture when you sit somewhere, it was understood that you were identifying with it. So the person has moved from being counseled, to growing passive and now they are identifying with a scoffer. Now if you were to think of a scoffer you would probably think of a heckler at a comedy club that is being rude. However, we often scoff at things every day. When you scoff at something you deny it’s power or value and diminish it. How many times do I do this with God? The person in the verse has began to identify with scoffers perhaps due to despair or lack of faith, perhaps from disobedience. They now identify more with a scoffer than a believer. If you look at how they live, you would not be able to differentiate between their life and that of a scoffer. This is not because they are in the back of the church heckling the pastor, but because their life is void of faith and instead filled with actions that show they does not trust God in any way shape or form.
I look at these verses and I am challenged to think through what am I looking to for counsel, what am I allowing myself to connect or identify with?
Dwelling in God’s presence
“But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.”
Delight - I don’t know about you, but for me delight and law seldom go together…for example, I recently got one of those photo stop light tickets, I broke the law , the $50 fine does not equal delight.
The word delight here also translates desire. His desire is for the law of the Lord. I don’t think the law itself is the object of desire, we seldom want more rules to follow. I think the focus is the intimacy with God that living in God’s law brings. That is the focus and delight or desire.
So what happens if we don’t desire that? What happens when you lose your desire, connection or intimacy with God and begin to drift. In my experience, it leads to despair. Despair is the absence of hope. Hope comes from knowing God and experiencing His presence.
God’s presence will always grant your perspective. Without it, you are left to your own devices, which prove futile and empty, lacking hope.
So either we choose desire/delight or despair, God’s ways or our’s.
Meditate – now I usually chalk this one up to a hippy, yoga thing and move on thinking that if I read my Bible and that is how a person that grew up Baptist in the South meditates. Everything else seems a little mystic.
However, when you dig a bit deeper to see what the verse means by meditating. It means to mull it over, to chew on it.
Most of the time I don’t really treat scripture like that. I prefer the drive-thru version of a quiet time were I list off my order of ways I wish God to speak, He says “thank you please drive around” and I’m out in 15 minutes. He also say’s “My pleasure” cause that is what they do at Chick-fil-a (aka. the Lord’s chicken)
I like to live on the surface, I don’t like to sit and ponder or stare at scripture because then I start to see things.
I start to see that instead of viewing the “Pharisees” as the dark side of the force from StarWars, they begin to look like me.
I start to realize that I don’t apply what I read and I have a lot of “Quiet Time” McDonalds bags in my car but nothing to show for it. so to speak.
I don’t like to meditate not because it is mystic, in all actuality it is because it is intimate.
God gets all up in my business.
Yet, if I stop to ponder and actually look and listen, God engages me in ways that I would have never foreseen or considered.
Can you survive of off fast food? Yes.
Will you be healthy? No.
And usually, the more you eat fast food is directly proportionate to the amount of time you work out.
So we eat fast food, grow spiritually obese and complain cause we didn’t get it our way right away.
I don’t think this is God’s desire.
God’s desire is that we would sit down, look at the recipe and take the time to cook, savor and enjoy.
Jesus didn’t really rush, yet I try to get him to stamp my busy time sheet all the time.
So choosing to meditate is choosing to cook instead of eating fast food.
It is choosing to delight instead of despair.
Lord may you help us to slow down and connect intimately with you. May You help us to delight in your ways and may You grant us perspective and to dwell in Your presence so that we may also dwell in the hope of the gospel of Christ.
Take some time each day to meditate on one piece of scripture. It is often about the quality instead of the quantity. Let it seek down deep into your heart and share that with someone.