March 3, 2020

I'm Just Standing Here!

Blessed are those who don't walk according to the advice of the wicked, nor stand in the way of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers; but their delight is in the law of God, and on God's law they meditate day and night.
—Psalm 1:1-2

As I begin my Psalm meditations anew, I want to once again quote Alexander Maclaren, who said that "the Psalter may be regarded as the heart's echo to the speech of God, the manifold music of its wind-swept strings as God's breath sweeps across them."

This, I believe, is the reason the psalter has been prayed by the ancient Hebrews, by cloistered monks and nuns in medieval times, by the Reformed Christians of 16th-century Geneva, and by people in the USA in the year 2020. But no matter how many times we read or chant or sing them, there's always something new to discover—something in our own understanding of who God is, of human nature, and of human relationships (with God and each other).

Case in point: How many times have I read Psalm 1? Probably hundreds of times. And yet in my meditation on it this morning, I was struck for the first time by the walking, standing, and sitting mentioned in the first verse. In my own life, I find many ways to make wrong choices. "I'm not walking with the wrong crowd—I'm just standing here!" or "Hey, I was just sitting here and these people invaded my space—it's not my fault that I laughed when they made fun of others!"

The truth is that I usually know my mind better than I pretend I do, and my own intentions are not exactly a mystery to me. The First Psalm helps me understand that my choice is not limited to the lesser of two (or in this case three) evils. The path of peace and justice and righteousness is always there—I just might not like the consequences of choosing it.


Thank you, God, for inspiring and teaching me through the Book of Psalms. May I delight in your way, and may I avoid the temptation to neglect those prayers that make me uncomfortable. I pray this in your Son's Name, who taught me to pray:

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name. Thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.

Crossposted to Psalm Today, where I've been posting my daily devotions. Later this year, these devotions will be posted exclusively here on Opossum Screed.

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