For September 2022, I’m trying to read and reflect – briefly – on a Psalm each day. I’ll read the Psalm, pray, and then ponder a few questions:
- What is this Psalm about?
- What does this Psalm teach about God?
- How does this Psalm connect to God’s people today?
I’ll close the post with a simple prayer, trying to draw the themes together.
It being September 1st, I’ll begin with 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,
2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.
4 Not so the wicked!
They are like chaff
that the wind blows away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
6 For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.
What is this Psalm about?
Psalm 1 appears to contrast two kinds of people – those who follow the way of the righteous, and those who follow the way of the ungodly. There’s an invitation, or a suggestion, that to be the kind of person who ‘meditates on his law day and night’ is a good thing. Perhaps this Psalm, as a part of Scripture, is offering a glimpse of the value and importance of Scripture to the life of God’s people.
What does this Psalm teach about God?
The God this Psalm describes is not a distant God. This is a God who has communicated – given the law. This is a God who has revealed something of himself – a God who is a person, a God who people can relate to. This is also a God with an awareness of all, but a particular focus on ‘the righteous’. To put it another way, the God of the Psalms is a God who cares.
How does this Psalm connect to God’s people today?
One thing that stands out to me is particularly in verse six but something we see throughout this Psalm. God’s people are invited to be distinct, I think. To meditate on the law in order to be rooted. To grow in order to bear fruit. This distinction seems to come as ‘an assembly of the righteous’. Yet it is not just this assembly – for those of us wondering if just the church gathering is the focus. God’s people – assuming, with all of my theological baggage, that ‘the righteous’ are God’s people – are watched over by God. This is a profound and beautiful and wonderful thing.
A Prayer from Psalm 1
Lord, thank you that you are not distant. That you communicate with us, and that you have a way for us. Thank you that you are a God who cares. Watch over me, Lord, and lead me on the way of the righteous.