Psalm 1 – We are formed by what we love

tree-waters

The Psalm begins promising happiness to the person devoted to God.  The characteristics of such a person are described negatively as the avoidance of bad companions.  We see the psalmist outline the progressive levels of collusion with the wicked. The first and least offensive is walking or to follow the advice of the wicked, then standing or taking the path that sinners tread, which means conforming to their example.  the most corrosive evil would be to sit in the scoffers assembly and participate in their mockery. The wicked scoff at the trust of the good person, who is constantly, joyfully occupied with the study and observance of God’s word. We are called to delight in the word of God and meditate on it.  

 

An individual is formed by what they love.  What delights us invades us, it becomes part of us.  The psalmist describes a person who continually (day and night) relishes the word of God, feeds on and is nourished by it.  

 

This person is compared to a tree planted beside running streams.  the imagery is of both the inward and outward. The good person is inwardly devoted to the word of God, deeply rooted in the spiritual and ethical soil that is the word of God.  Outwardly such a person is fruit-bearing like a tree.

 

Psalm 1 is not a prayer in a usual sense, the psalmist neither praises nor complains to God nor laments or rejoices in his or her situation,  the major theme is the adhesion to God’s Word in a person’s life and its importance for the attainment of happiness. This psalm is about the personal commitment to a course traced by God’s word, to live a life according to God’s will.  For a life lived in the fellowship of God and in humble obedience to him is the real way of life.

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