Water for the Thirsty
Weekly Devotional

Water for the Thirsty

Delight in the Word of God

Weekly Devotional

‘As the deer pants for streams of water so my soul pants for you, O God’. (Psalm 42:1)
‘…Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink”…’ (John 7:37)

The very first Psalm in the Psalter has been described as a wisdom psalm as it offers us two ways, and only two ways to live; the way of the righteous or the way of the wicked.

‘Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish’. (Psalm 1:1-6)

The description of a righteous person falls naturally into three steps:

In verse 1the righteous person is described negatively. This establishes what the “blessed” man is not like:

  • He does not “walk in the counsel of the wicked”;
  • He does not “stand in the way of sinners”;
  • He does not “sit in the seat of mockers.”

Do you notice how the wicked person is grinding to a halt? He walks then stands and finally sits.

He begins by walking in the counsel of the wicked, picking up the advice, perspectives, values, and worldview of the ungodly. If a person does this long enough, he will sink to the next level: ‘standing in the way of sinners’.

Now this translation can give us the wrong impression. To “stand in someone’s way” in English is to hinder them, hold them up or cause them difficulties. Remember Robin Hood and Little John on the bridge? Each stands in the other’s way, and one of them ends in the stream.

But that’s not the meaning here. To “stand in someone’s way”, in Hebrew, means something like “to stand in a person’s shoes.” It means to do what he does, to adopt his lifestyle, his habits, and his patterns of conduct.

If a person does this for long enough he is likely to descend to the point where he “sits in the seat of mockers.” He not only participates in much that is godless, but He is comfortable with this lifestyle and makes himself at home with it. He ends up mocking and sneering at those attempting to live a godly life.

In verse 2 the righteous person is described positively and you might have expected the second verse to respond with contrasting parallelism. Perhaps something like:

“Blessed, rather, is the man who walks in the counsel of the righteous, who stands in the way of the obedient, who sits in the seat of the grateful.”

But what we get is just one positive statement, and it is enough:

‘But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night’. (V.2)

In The Message verse 2 reads:

‘Instead you thrill to GOD's Word, you chew on Scripture day and night’

When we delight in the Word of God, constantly meditate on it, and chew it over, then we will have good counsel, our conduct will be shaped by God’s revelation, and we will nurture the attitude of gratitude and praise.

The result is described metaphorically in verse 3,

‘They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do’. (New Living Translation)

As we immerse ourselves in the Word of God we’ll be planting firm roots, bearing fruit whatever the season, our lives will be spiritually healthy and prosperous and we will have the comforting knowledge that the ‘…LORD watches over the way of the righteous’. (V.6)

Have a good week delighting in the Word of God.

Pastor Barry

27th September 2009

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