Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in 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.
The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.
I want to be blessed.
And it seems the doorway to blessedness hinges on the law of the Lord, or at least knowing it well enough
- to recognize the difference between God’s counsel and the counsel of the wicked
- to stand on God’s word instead of the way of sinners, and
- to rest in God’s grace rather than the seat of the scoffer
According to Psalm 1, the way to attain that kind of knowledge is wrapped up in delight of and meditation upon the law of the Lord.
I think J.I. Packer describes meditation well when he says,
Meditation is the activity of calling to mind, and thinking over, an dwelling on, and applying to oneself, the various things that one knows about the works and ways and purposes and promises of God.
[Meditation’s] purpose is to… let his truth make its full and proper impact on one’s mind and heart…. It is, indeed, often a matter of arguing with oneself, reasoning oneself out of moods of doubt and unbelief into a clear apprehension of God’s power and grace.
In this description of meditation, Packer calls us, in essence, to take our assumptions about how happy we should be, the opportunities we think we should have, our ideas of what church, parenting, marriage, dating, even grocery shopping should look like out of our pockets and see them for what they are through God’s microscope.
Sometimes I find myself clinging to an idea for which I can find ample biblical support, but on closer examination I realize I have bought into a cultural lie.
In the United States today, Christians generally believe we have gifts given to us by the Spirit to use to build up the church. The Bible teaches this. It is absolutely true! But there’s this other pervasive half-truth accompanying this truth. It is this idea that if I am not able to use my gifts, I should perhaps minister somewhere else. As if God gave me these gifts and they are all that define my ministry opportunities. It doesn’t really allow for God to show up and get the glory for working through our weakness. It doesn’t allow us to grow. And sometimes we avoid stretching in areas required for all believers because we don’t have a certain “gift.” Like, people who excuse themselves from having others over to “break bread together” behind the guise of not having the gift of hospitality. Or who avoid sharing Christ with others boldly since they don’t have the gift of evangelism.
It is only when we, in Packer’s words, “argu[e] with oneself, reason oneself out of moods of doubt and unbelief into a clear apprehension of God’s power and grace” that we can find the half-truth we are using to excuse our laziness, repent, and be saved from another taskmaster.
It is the very act of meditating on the law of the Lord (the whole counsel of scripture) where we find the path to walk in the counsel of God, strength to stand on his word, and rest to sit under his grace.