“Happy are those
who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
or take the path that sinners tread,
or sit in the seat of scoffers.”
— PSALM 1:1 (NRSV)
Those doing God’s bidding are not fazed by worldly delights, so they are not seduced by wayward advice so much, nor do they tend to enter into the path of ruin, nor take to dine with those big on the little things of life.
Those doing God’s bidding are steadfastly committed to the law of the Lord: to faith and to the works of compassion, mercy, and justice for the oppressed. Their discernment is inspiring, because they appear so well connected to God, by the ways of their heart for the needy.
Those doing God’s bidding exercise reverse partiality – they favour the needy, not the popular. They are inclined to favour those who don’t agree with them over those who do, because there is more to be learned from being open to difference than there is in groupthink. Their focus means they won’t get too anxious. They know the battle is not theirs, but the Lord’s.
Those actually doing God’s bidding, versus those who merely preach in God’s name but cannot follow-up their words with action, will end up with the favour of God, whilst those who use God for their own purposes (and are not available for God to use them) will soon perish – their mission will fail shortly. God is not fooled. And pity me or you if we rail hard against people dispassionately, which is to be in opposition to the will of God that decrees we are to love them regardless what they have done. Even a casual reading of 1 John 2:9-11 will reveal God’s truth to the reader: God’s kingdom is full of light. The person of Psalm 1 is, likewise, full of light – full of the light of truth and is able to discern it and obey it, humbly and penitently.
The Psalm 1 person sees through the worldly trappings and seeks a different kick.
Psalm 1 is an urgent encouragement to the one who keeps doing right, despite the weight of evidence that says, “Give up!”
The Psalm 1 person is encouraged when they ought to otherwise be dismayed, because they take the only side, the only option, their eyes see they can take; God’s side.
Psalm 1 encourages us to keep doing what is right, despite temptations to weaken in envy and join those who gave up on God long ago. The person of faith and integrity will be blessed. Ultimately, they have put God first and God will ensure that that sort of faith and integrity is rewarded.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.