Psalm 1:1 – Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers. (NIV 2011)
Today, one of our toughest Christian challenges arises from the relentless pull of godlessness from all around. It's like a menacing tide, subtly trying to sweep us away from our trustful contentment in the Lord. I certainly sense it. And that's why I appreciate Psalm One. Here, I read about two contrasting kinds of people: those who resist the tide, and those who are swept away by the tide. Today as I immersed myself in the first verse, this is what I heard it say:
- God blesses the one who refuses to become rooted in a cultural worldview forged by those who have no respect for God — for Who God is, for what He promises, or for what He requires.
God honours every person who resists the pressure to compromise with ungodly expectations arising out of unbelief.
God shines His face on every person who resists the charm of people in esteemed positions, who are arrogant mockers, agitators, always eager to stir up conflict.
For me, the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer presents an effective illustration of the two kinds of people in Psalm One. During the rise of Hitler, Bonhoeffer and some others were willing to stand alone, amidst the masses of professing Christians who embraced a tide of political ideologies which eventually swept them away into destruction. Surely, Psalm One could have helped prevent the atrocities of World War II if it had been taken seriously. But it wasn't.
To be sure, standing against a tide of godlessness and putting Christ first can be a costly calling. Perhaps that is why Psalm One addresses godly people in the singular and ungodly people in the plural. That's how it is: the righteous one may stand alone against the masses swept by the tide.
And that's why Psalm One is so encouraging. It reminds us that God honours each of us who takes pleasure in learning His way, even when it's not the trend in our circle. God blesses each one who remains steadfastly rooted in Him, even in situations where the majority floats in the tides of the day.
Psalm One reminds us that we can live meaningfully and joyfully without needing to fit into the mainstream. Regardless of the tide's pull, we can fully embrace and enjoy the ways of God. In that way, we resist the tide, and God will bless us, just as He promised.
Enjoy Psalm One!
Prayer: Lord, may our hearts long to be prized for You and You alone. Amen.