Blessedis the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
2But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night.
3 He shall be like a treePlanted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.
4The ungodly are not so, But are like the chaff which the wind drives away.
5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
6For the Lord knows the way of the righteous,But the way of the ungodly shall perish.
Happy New Year, everyone! I always start each year with Genesis and Psalm 1, and this psalm is truly one of my favorite ones. Hebrew poetry thrives not on the rhymes but on contradictions. Majority of the psalms are filled with these contradictory thoughts: the ways of the righteous and the ways of the wicked; God makes this very clear distinction.
I think it`s important to start the year reminding ourselves that God continues to be in control of everything, and His ways don`t change. This idea of the righteous bringing fruit and not withering (meaning spiritually, emotionally, and physically) but the wicked being like “chaff” blowing away is a clear message of God throughout His word. There are numerous scriptures that make this statement. God is a holy and just God, and He doesn`t allow His name to be mocked by the ungodly lifestyle. Compromising lifestyle is a mockery to His name.
David knew from the early days of his life that he will not sit in the gathering of the scornful because they would turn him away from the Lord. There is a saying in my home county: “Show me who your friend is, and I will tell you who you are”. In other words, your friends define who you become; who you are because of the influence we make on each other. There is a reason why the Bible is so explicitly clear about who we hang out with and reproaches those who choose to live a compromising lifestyle.
6 In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching[a] you received from us (2 Thessalonians 3:6 NIV).
I want to live my life delighting in the Lord and bringing much fruit for His glory. I am still learning to walk the walk rather than just talking the talk, so the actions could prove who my God is. It requires constant choosing between submitting to my pride or humbling myself like Jesus did. The hardest thing for me to do is to be kind and choosing to do good to those who mock me.
One of the things that God showed me is the verse 5:
5Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
One of the things that have been said against me by my husband`s friends and his family is that the atmosphere in the house is a lot more relaxing without me being there. I can point straight to this verse and say that the spiritual battle will always be there because there is nothing in common between the light and the darkness. The wicked will always feel uncomfortable in the presence of the righteous because God`s light would convict their hearts.
Paul wrote in the second letter to Corinthians:
14-16a Thanks be to God who leads us, wherever we are, on his own triumphant way and makes our knowledge of him spread throughout the world like a lovely perfume! We Christians have the unmistakeable “scent” of Christ, discernible alike to those who are being saved and to those who are heading for death. To the latter it seems like the very smell of doom, to the former it has the fresh fragrance of life itself. (2 Corinthians 2:15-16, Phillips)
I am like a “scent” of doom for the unsaved who feel uncomfortable in my presence because of the light in me that brings conviction to their hearts, but those who are true believers they see me fighting against the stream and they get encouraged by my faith. The one thing that God made very clear to me is that I cannot please Him without Faith (Hebrews 11:6). I delight in His presence day and night literally because of who He showed me He is: loving, kind, merciful, and providing. He became everything that I need. That`s why when I read Psalm 1, I delight to know that I walk with the Lord, and I choose to sit in the gathering of the righteous rather than scornful and mocking people.
The Bible is full of God`s promises and blessings to those who choose to walk with Him, but it also provides us with the explicit information for the outcome of the scornful and the wicked.
How do you start your year: do you start it in your walk with the Lord or in a compromising lifestyle? If you have been living in compromise with your lusts, I encourage you today to dwell on this scripture and examine your ways. Moreover, ask the Holy Spirit to show you and to convict your heart if there are areas that need cleaning up.
Conviction is the first step towards our walk with the Lord. The following scriptures show that true convictions produce humility in one`s heart making one aware of his/her insignificance and inaptness apart from God. The following scriptures prove that only a humble and contrite heart can be pleasing to the Lord:
Ezra 9:6 (NIV): "O my God, I am too ashamed and disgraced to lift up my face to you, my God, because our sins are higher than our heads and our guilt has reached to the heavens."
Luke 18:13-14 (Phi): "But the tax collector stood in a distant corner, scarcely daring to look up to Heaven, and with a gesture of despair, said, 'God, have mercy on a sinner like me.' I assure you that he was the man who went home justified in God's sight..."
Ecclesiastes 7:2-4 (NIV): It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, because a sad face is good for the heart. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure.
These are some of my favorite scriptures:
Isaiah 66:1-2 (NKJV): Thus says the Lord: “Heaven is My throne, And earth is My footstool. Where is the house that you will build Me? And where is the place of My rest? 2 For all those thingsMy hand has made, And all those things exist,” Says the Lord. “But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, And who trembles at My word.
Psalm 51:17 9NKJV): 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,A broken and a contrite heart— These, O God, You will not despise.
Psalm 34:17 (NKJV): 18 The Lord isnear to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit.
Humbling ourselves before the Lord realizing that we are sinful and undeserving people apart from His grace and Jesus` cross, this is what we need in order to walk delighting in the Lord.
Who said that a believer will have a happy, happy, life? This is the promise that we don`t like to claim, yet the whole Bible is built on it:
19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers him out of them all (Psalm 34:19 NKJV).
This world is not our home, and following the Lord, we will have afflictions as a result because the world doesn`t recognize us; it rejects those who follow after God.
I remember asking my husband what he expected to have in his life, and he answered he wanted to be happy. The problem is that the Bible doesn`t have one single promise about us being “happy”. What`s more, our understanding of “happy” is distinctly different from the one of God`s. He is happy when people get saved to escape hell, and we are happy when we get what we want. Our promise is not the happiness (golden American dream” pursuit of happiness”), but many afflictions that we will suffer in order to learn to depend and rely solely on God. It`s important to keep God`s word intact in our hearts, so we don`t get entangled with the worldly concepts that hinder in our walk with the Lord because this is when we get discouraged when we don`t get something that we expect we are entitled to have as children of God.
We are promised suffering, afflictions, and trials, so all these things could place us in a constant dependence of the Lord. He would take that and deliver us from them all to make us fruitful for His glory. Let us not lose sight of what God`s word truly teaches us in this new year, so we could delight in our walk with the Lord and learn more of His ways.