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Psalm 1 – Choosing Rightly
by Gary Sims
09/16/03
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The Psalms
Psalm 1 – Choosing Rightly

Key Verses:
(NRSV)
  • 1: “Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked.” – This beatitude opens the book of Psalms with the recognition that we have a choice as to how we live our lives; we can choose to follow God or the ways of the wicked.

  • 2: “but their delight is in the law of the Lord and on His law they meditate day and night.” – Following God means taking the time every day to read and meditate on what He has to say. Knowing His Word is the first step to following Him.

  • 3: “In all they do the prosper.” – Planting our roots deep into His soil results in a bounty of fruit.

  • 4: “The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.” – Chaff is the outer shell of a kernel of wheat which is light and insubstantial; easily separated and blown away by a light breeze.

  • 5: “Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment.” – Since they are thin and weak, the influence of the wicked in our lives will not having lasting power.

  • 6: “For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.” – He watches the righteous because they have chosen to follow His path. Those who have not will go their own way and will perish.
Points to Contemplate:
  • To whom do you turn for advice? Are you influenced by the teachings of any sage or expert that comes along? Are you swayed by public opinion or by the latest fad or craze? Is your life shaped and influenced by the “talking heads” on television or by the flood of “experts” who offer unsolicited advice? Or do you turn first and always to God and His Word? Do you filter all information through His teaching and His guidance?

  • Are you happy? The psalmist says to “delight in the law of the Lord.” Does regularly studying the Bible bring you happiness? Does a sense of epiphany and revelation stir your heart? When you grasp a new truth within a scripture do you become excited and yearn for an opportunity to share it with others? Do you receive the same exhilaration reading a novel or from watching television? Can the emotions that are stirred within you be a guidepost to insure you are following God’s pathway for your life?

  • Are you prosperous? Is the psalmist saying that if we learn to follow God we will become wealthy? That in some way we will become immune to failure and our lives free of difficulty? Are we to expect a life of happiness, good health and riches? Do the trees in this psalm ever face storms? What kind of prosperity is the psalmist referring to? Is the fruit we bear the important part? Is this our prosperity, the ability to bring goodness into the world and influence those around us with our loving shade? Do you recognize that this only occurs when our roots are planted deeply in God’s soil, drawing from the waters of His Word?

  • If “the wicked are like chaff that the wind drives away,” then why do they seem so powerful? Why does evil seem to always get the upper hand in issues of power and wealth? Is it because power and wealth is not the way of God? Is His prosperity revealed in other ways? When we look at the rich and powerful, do you see that their “power” is short-lived? That eventually they simply blow away like chaff in the wind while the love of God lasts for ever?
Promise of the Gospel:

We have come to realize in our lives and in these verses that there are two pathways available to us from which to choose. We can choose to follow God and the path that leads to His glory or we can follow a pathway of selfishness and evil that leads no where. As we choose to “meditate day and night” in the law of the Lord, as we surround our selves with His loving influence, we find that our lives are joyful, fruitful, and prosperous. That we are increasingly successful at building His kingdom here on earth.

FUMC Devotionals


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