The Psalm’s these ancient songs of praise and lament, joy, love, celebration and sometimes misery are great to reflect upon, great to read as prayers and they contain much wisdom, God given wisdom. In reality we live in the collected knowledge of those who have gone before and we have opportunity all the days of our lives to gain from their knowledge.
The complete book starts with a couple of Psalms that are listed as ‘orphan’ Psalms, they have no date of writing and no known author, PSALM ONE (read).
Today I’ve decided to look at this little song that declares there are two ways in life, the way of those with a right relationship with God the righteous and those with a wrong relationship with God the wicked.
The writer compares them to two things: the person with their relationship right with God is like a tree, but not just any tree, they are like “a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither”. The closing statement from the Psalmist is a nice wee summery of this person… “whatever he does prospers”.
The other person the person that the Psalmist calls wicked, which is far from the modern definition, they are what we would refer to as bad eggs, the kind you keep an a watch on out of the corner of your eye, nasty blighters. These people “are like chaff that blows away in the wind.” These people don’t have substance they blow away…or could the final paragraph of this song say something else about them.
The Psalmist tells us, “the LORD watches over the way of the righteous.” Which is good to know if you are one of these tree like individuals that the Lord is watching over your way, and from his vantage point he sees the road behind and the road ahead, a little like us watching a person traveling on the plains from the top of a mountain. We can see things that they are yet to encounter, what is around the next curve, the next corner as we observe their progress.
The second part of this final sentence gives me hope and it should bring hoped to those who struggle with wickedness, who suffer under oppression, “but the way of the wicked will perish.” Note that the Psalmist does not say the wicked will perish, but “the way of the wicked” will.
Those of us who have been on the side of the divide that contains the wicked know that this is a truth, that that way can perish, that we can enter into a relationship with God that is right, that we can become righteous through our relationship with Jesus, not because of anything that we do but as a result of what he has done for us. People don’t have to remain bad! In Christ people and situations alter. That is not to say that those who choose to stay on the wicked side of the divide will change, in travelling that way their success will be strictly limited in comparison with what it could have been had they had their relationship with God right!
I think Paul sums it up nicely in Ephesians 2:8-9 as he words things this way; “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”
As we enter into and journey alongside the streams of living water we flourish, we thrive because we are in that right place with God the Father. We will never be picked up and tossed aside because we are secure in God.
Praise God for that!