She wanted to visit Israel with her family – a whole month viewing the various historic sites. So, she looked for an Airbnb. She found an entire house in the town of Bethlehem at a ridiculously low price.
But just before she clicked the purchase button, she realized that Bethlehem was located in the Gaza strip – a place that often exchanges rockets with Israel and where you might find that the neighbor next door drives a truck bomb for a living. But – you can get a killer deal on an Airbnb.
Where we settle matters!
Psalm 1 is in agreement. “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.” (1:1) KJV
To be “blessed” is to be happy. I am thinking we all want to be happy. To get that, we are advised to be careful where we settle.
The Psalmist illustrates with an example of a man who has the habit of strolling along with the wrong kind of folks. This together time begins to reshape his values.
He once thought that the sanctity of marriage was a given, but the video he streams treats extramarital sex as common place. Even his friends do it. Over time, his moral compass began to skew.
His walking gave way to standing – in the path of sinners. Not only is he comfortable with things that he once regarded as sin, he now takes a stand in their defense. He finds reasons to justify extramarital sex (if only to justify himself.)
First walking, then standing, then comes sitting – with the scornful.
We sometimes use the phrase “to sit in judgment.” This verse suggests that he too was sitting in judgment – mocking those who held to the moral truths that he once embraced. He had mutated into the person, about whom he was forewarned.
He settled in a neighborhood more dangerous than the Gaza strip.
He walked, he stood, he sat – but his journey was not over.
The Psalmist goes on to say, “The ungodly….are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore, the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment….” (1:4-5)
This person will be driven away, like wheat chaff in the wind – no undergirding values to keep him rooted. And though he once stood in the path of sinners, he will not be able to stand up to God’s eventual judgment.
Not a lot of happiness there. The happy part is in verse 2. “But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.”
In contrast – the happy person delights not in the company of the wicked, but in the Word of God. He makes it a daily priority.
This person also walks – but with God. He stands as well – but upon the things God has revealed. Rather than sitting in judgment on the truth, this person allows the truth to – to be the judge of his own attitudes and behavior.
Unlike the scornful, “…he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” (1:3)
Well-watered, fruitful, evergreen and prosperous! Those are the benefits that come to those who delight in the Word of God.
So, I just open the Bible, read a chapter and my world will instantly shift? Not quite.
It takes 40 or so years to go from an acorn to a mature oak. Forty years of daily drawing water and nutrients from the soil and rays from the sun. A healthy tree, however, can endure and bear acorns for hundreds of years.
And so it is with the Word of God. We must draw from its resources daily. The health that is produced and the growth that comes won’t be immediately perceptible – but like an oak, we will surely grow strong and stand tall.
So be careful where you settle. Find an easy chair and open your Bible.
A PRAYER: Lord, my life is ridiculously busy, so help me to carve out 15 minutes each day for Your Word.
This has been Jim Johnson with pickleheavenpress.com
May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.