Category Archives: Devotional Commentary

The Footsteps of A Fool…

“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” [1]

Some decisions change our lives forever.  Some decisions will cost of us everything in order to gain just one thing.  The world calls us fools, but the Father calls us faithful.  Loving God requires radical faith–one willing to give up much-desired temporal comforts in order to gain costly, eternal rewards.  It is a constant “death to self” that is usually painful. However, we survive by fixing our hope on the glory that is to come rather than in the painful price that is paid… the paradox is nothing short of a divine conspiracy rooted in God’s grace and love toward us.  He is so good and ready to give everything to those who are willing to lose all for His sake… Seek first the Kingdom of God, and all other things shall be added to you.


The Call of Elisha:

In the 19th chapter of 1 Kings, we are introduced to a man named Elisha. At first acquaintance, Elisha is in his field plowing with twelve yoke of oxen. Only the most wealthy of farmers would have had so many oxen at their disposal.  As Elijah, the great prophet of God, passed by the young farmer, he anointed him as a prophet of God.  God had told Elijah (19:16) to transfer his power to this young prophet-in-the-making and he does so by casting his cloak upon him.

Elisha’s response is so fascinating.  He runs after Elijah, and Elijah tells him to go back home.  Elisha responds by returning back home so that he can burn the plowing equipment and sacrifice the oxen.  There was no turning back, and his radical behavior signifies a clear distinction between his former life and this new one. He’s been called as a prophet of God, and he burns every bridge necessary so that he’s not tempted to go back.  In fact, there are numerous times when Elijah–seemingly testing the young prophet’s resolve or trying to spare him the lonely life of a prophet–tells him to go away.  Elisha is persistent in his refusal to depart from his divine calling, because he counted the cost before he ever took the first step.  As a result, God used Elisha as a powerful instrument to proclaim His glory and deliver His grace…

It’s interesting that Jesus says, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62).  Serving the King requires a single-minded pursuit. It casts off anything that hinders, retaining only that which aids in that one solitary, glorious mission.  It will be lonely, it will be difficult, but it is the only way to relentlessly pursue the calling of God upon the life of His servant. I wonder what sorts of plowing equipment we need to burn and which oxen we need to sacrifice in order to follow the calling that God has placed upon our lives–are we willing to give it up in order to pursue the selfless demands of the kingdom?

Calling the Disciples:

While walking by the sea of Galilee (Matt. 4:18-22), Jesus sees two brothers–Peter and Andrew–who are fishing.  He calls out to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”  Immediately, they left their nets and followed him.  And shortly thereafter, Jesus came upon two other brothers–James and John–who were also fishing with their father.  He called them as well, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed Him.  There is no following the will of God half-heartedly…

This story, like that of Elisha, amazes me.  These men were so ready to leave everything they knew and had invested their lives into in order to follow Jesus.  The moment that He called them to something greater–serving Him–they dropped it all to follow hard after His footsteps.  Ridiculous.  We can hardly fathom it at first reading.  Yet, as we reflect on what is taking place, we begin to realize that responding to the call of  Christ requires a radical departure with our former way of life.  It’s a decision that is all-encompassing.  There’s no turning back and all temptations to do so must be left behind.  Not only is this true of a Christ follower, but it is even more important of one who is called to proclaim the excellencies of Christ.  A man of God is not only known by what he pursues, but by those things he’s willing to give up in order to maintain that pursuit.  He will give up lesser things to gain greater things, the things of this world to gain the things of the next, that which hinders to gain that which helps.

Therefore let us take up our crosses daily and follow Christ. For whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for His sake will save it (Luke 9:23-24). We must fix our eyes on the Author and Perfecter of our faith as we cast aside the sin that so easily entangles (Heb. 12:1-3). We must pursue Christ with a relentless, single-minded passion that requires a radical willingness to give up good things in order to pursue greater things.

Such a willingness does not come naturally, and so we must ask the Spirit of God to strengthen us so that we will set our gaze upon the only One who is worthy of our passionate pursuit–in both the joy and the pain.  I am helplessly unable to do this on my own… but God is faithful to accomplish so much more than I ever thought possible.  He will neither share His glory with another nor compete for the affection of His children.  If He has to repeatedly crush the idols of their hearts and pry their affection loose from created things, then He will do so in order that they might love Him with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength.  This is a most brutal love, and yet it the only way for God to remain faithful to His people.  It is His mercy that He implants and sustains our undivided love for Him…  May God do this among us, for we cannot do it on our own.

[1] Jim Elliot, Journals. This can be found in the October 28, 1949 entry on page 174 (Chapter 4) of the 1978 hardback edition of the Journal and on page 108 (Chapter 11) of the 1958 hardback edition of Shadow of the Almighty.  Philip Henry (1631-1696), father of well known preacher and Bible commentator Matthew Henry (1662-1714), was credited with a very similar saying: “He is no fool who parts with what he cannot keep, when he is sure to be recompensed with what he cannot lose.”

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The Willow Tree: Psalm 1 (Pt 6)

A Study of Psalm 1: (Part 6: Exposition IIC & Conclusion)

C.  Unlike the righteous, the wicked will perish. For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

The Lord knows the way of the righteous, first of all, because His Son is the “Way” of the Righteous.  In fact, He is the only true Righteous One.  Jesus says in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.”  God will preserve the righteous, because their way is through Jesus Christ.  As the Father knows the Son, so the Father knows those who love the Son.  God will preserve the righteous, because He knows them (Jn. 10:15, 27).  God has not chosen to know the wicked, because they have refused to repent and believe.  He has made no provision for them, because His mercy is found only through the finished work of His Son.  Grace flows to mankind only through faith in the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Those who refuse to submit to God in this life will suffer the fate of their sin at the coming judgment.

We all have a lot more in common with the wicked than we ever had with the Righteous. None of us have perfectly abstained from the counsel, lifestyle, and companionship of the wicked.  None of us have had persistent pleasure in the law of the Lord, and none of us have perfectly meditated on His laws.  But the amazing thing is that Jesus did what we could never do. [1]   He is the only man to ever perfectly meditate on the word of God and live an obedient life.  He was obedient even to the point of death on a Cross.  And while we deserved to perish for our wickedness, God punished Him instead.  God poured out His righteous wrath on Jesus so that we might prosper through His resurrected life.  By faith and repentance—turning from our sin and putting our trust in Christ—we share in the prosperity that belonged only to Jesus.  God blessed His perfect Son so that His life would be abundantly fruitful and eternally flourishing.  Through faith, we experience the spiritual prosperity given to Christ, as well as the promise that physical prosperity will accompany us at the arrival of the Last Day.  God knows the righteous through His Son Jesus Christ, for there is no other way that a man can be made righteous.  Those who choose to live by their own merits, in their own wisdom, and by their own way will perish in their sin.  God will preserve the righteous, but the wicked will perish.

Will you be counted among the righteous or will you perish with the wicked?  Do you savingly know God through His written word (Scripture) and His incarnate Word (Jesus Christ)?


Conclusion:

On the Last Day, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord (Phil. 2:1-11).  Some will worship Christ out of joy and gratitude for their salvation, and others will worship Christ out of fear that His anger will destroy them.  Today is the day to decide which way you shall live.  Choose well, for you shall reap what you sow for the rest of eternity.  In this psalm, we have seen a portrait of two different men.  One would prosper and the other would perish.  The righteous man avoided the counsel, lifestyle, and company of the wicked; and instead found his delight and devotion in the word of God.  Through meditating on this word, he received a continual source of refreshment and sustenance.  Even through adversity, that man was fruitful with a life the flourished in whatever he did.  He experienced spiritual prosperity.

The wicked man, on the other hand, had no lasting value or stability in the eyes of God.  His hope was in himself, and he was destined for destruction.  His way would perish in the end.  The wicked man will be brought to his knees and cast out of the presence of God and His people.   The wicked will perish while the righteous are preserved.  God has called every man to be righteous and treasure His word, but the only way that such a lifestyle is possible is through faith in the Righteous One.  By faith we experience the righteousness of Christ, and through His word the Spirit causes our souls to flourish.  His word gives us the saving power of Christ, and transforms us into His likeness. It is in this way that God will preserve the righteous, and allow the wicked to perish.  He will not intervene on behalf of those who treasure their sin in this life, but He will preserve those who treasure His Son.

Are you looking to Christ to be your righteousness or are you counting on your own wisdom, lifestyle, or relationships to save you?  Are you looking to God’s word to be your source of strength and guidance or are you counting on your own wisdom and ways to protect you?

Let us be people who are planted by streams of water and daily absorb the refreshing truths that will preserve us for all of eternity.  Unless we are connected to the person of Christ by faith, which comes to us by the Spirit’s witness from God’s word, then we shall perish on that Last Day.  Let us find our refuge and refreshment in the righteousness of Christ!!

[1] As a boy, Jesus amazed the teachers of the Law by His knowledge of Scripture (Luke 2:47), and at the beginning of His ministry when tempted by Satan His “encyclopedic knowledge of the Word” allowed Him to defeat the enemy with fitting quotations of His Father’s counsel (Luke 4:1-13; cf. Deut. 8:3; 6:13, 16).  He showed us how to meditate on God’s word and yield to it as the sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6:17).  Jesus was the fullest expression of the word made tangible as the “incarnate word” (John 1), and embodies in flesh what the Scriptures contained in writing, the fullness of God (Col. 1:15-20).  Jesus was the mystery of God revealed (Col. 2; 1 Pet. 1-2).

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The Willow Tree: Psalm 1 (Pt 5)

A Study of Psalm 1: (Part 5: Exposition IIA-B)

II. God does not bless the way of the wicked.

A.  The wicked man is fruitless and worthless: The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

The Psalmist uses the analogy that the wicked man is like chaff driven away by the wind.  Chaff is an agricultural term that describes the fragments of stalk and husk that accompany the grain gathered during harvesting.  The grain is valuable, the chaff is not.  When farmers harvest a crop, they would have to separate the grain from the chaff by throwing it into the air.[1] Since the chaff was nearly weightless—light and lacking in substance—the wind would drive these worthless fragments away, leaving only precious morsels of grain to fall to the ground.

The point of the Psalmist is that the wicked man is as useless and unnecessary as    the chaff.  As the wind drives the chaff away, so shall the wicked man be unable to remain.  He has no value in the sight of God, because he is worthless and good-for-nothing besides wickedness.  He has no staying power, but will be driven away by the wrath of God.  He is unlike the righteous man who will flourish in hard times.  The wicked man will be unable to endure the difficult that he will face on Last Day.  His life will be fruitless and unstable, and he will be completely at the mercy of the destruction that befalls him.

In what ways does your life resemble the wicked man and lead you to confess your sin as you practice faith and repentance in the gospel to deliver you and make you fruitful?

Not only is the wicked man fruitless and worthless, but he is unstable and unwelcome.

B.  The wicked man is ultimately unstable and unwelcomeTherefore, the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;

1.  He will not stand in the judgment. This is in contrast with verse one where the wicked man has a way of standing.  In this life, the way of the wicked seems prosperous as though it will forever stand.  Yet, such behavior is only temporarily unpunished.  The way of the wicked is that they will ultimately be unable to stand in the final judgment.  Spiritually, he will have “no leg to stand on.”  He will be cast down for his wickedness, and have no excuse by which to hold himself up.  He will be forced to bow the knee to Jesus, because his legs will have been broken from under him and never restored to their temporal, worldly strength.

2. He will not be included among the righteous.  This is in contrast with verse one where the wicked man has an assembly of mockers among whom he is seated.  While the company of the wicked may seem to prosper in this lifetime, there will be no room for them among the God’s people in the Day of Judgment.  They will be expelled from God, and by extension, from the people of God.  They will find no assembly among the righteous, and have no refuge for their souls.  They will suffer the eternal torment that awaits all who did not confess Jesus Christ as Lord and live for Him in their lifetime.

Might you now take time to thank God that He has accounted you among the righteous and that you will stand in the Day of Judgment.  Celebrate His mercy by praising His name.  If you are not sure that you will be among the righteous who stand in the last day, then confess your sin and cry out to God to have mercy on you and save your soul.  Christ will save you, if you but trust in Him.

*This is the fifth part of a series on Psalm 1.


[1] Cf. Matthew 3:12 uses this analogy as the Father winnows the wheat from the chaff.  The same is seen in Matthew 7 where Jesus says, “Depart from me you workers of lawlessness, I never knew you.”

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The Willow Tree: Psalm 1 (Pt 4)

A Study of Psalm 1: (Part 4: Exposition IB)

B.  The righteous man is fruitful and flourishing:

The Psalmist uses an analogy to describe the righteous man.  He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yield its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither.  In all that he does, he prospers. In the culture of that day, a fruit-bearing tree had no chance of surviving the dry season without irrigation or transplantation.  When the heavy drought set-in, the leaves would wither and the tree would begin to die.  The only remedy during this difficult season was to transplant the tree near a refreshing water-source that would prevent it from withering and being rendered fruitless.

The righteous man is like a tree whose roots are connected to a all-satisfying water source that refreshes his soul and sustains his life.  When the dry seasons of difficulty comes, this man will neither wither nor become fruitless.  Not only will he be sustained, he will also flourish.  He will flourish, because he daily draws life  from the only source of true refreshment.  In fact, he draws this refreshment both day and night.  The man who meditates on the law of the Lord will be fruitful and  his life will flourish.  The fruit may not be immediate, but it will surely come in due time.

The result of being connected to a supply of water cannot be overestimated.  An intriguing illustration of this can be found in the satellite footage of the South Platte River basin of the western United States.  Much of the land in that region is dry and shows little to no greenery.  However, the basin that runs along the South Platte River is saturated with trees and shrubs.  The satellite images are quite compelling.  The righteous man is like a tree planted along streams of water.  His leaves will not wither and his life will yield its fruit in season.

Have you experienced God’s word to be refreshing to your soul?  Do you look to God’s word to sustain your life and satisfy your deepest longings?  Are you allowing it to bear fruit in your life?  Is it where you primarily look for guidance, and by which you test all other things to see whether they are truly beneficial for your growth in godliness?

Unlike the righteous man who prospers in all that he does, the wicked man is like chaff that the wind drives away.  Nothing that he accomplishes will last.  In the next post, we will consider how God judges the wicked by allowing them to perish in their sin.

*This is the fourth of several posts on Psalm 1.

[1] See also Joshua 1:8-9; Jeremiah 17:5-8; 31:5; Psalm 19:1-14

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The Willow Tree: Psalm 1 (Pt 3)

A Study in Psalm 1: (Part 3: Exposition IA)

Central TruthGod preserves the righteous, but the wicked shall perish.

I.  God blesses the way of the righteous.

A. The righteous man is disciplined and devoted:

1.  He avoids ungodly advice: The righteous man is blessed, because he does not walk in the counsel of the wicked. This means that he does not listen to sinful advice or allow his thinking to be influenced by sinful men.  It is fascinating to consider the vast number of things that influence our thinking, often without us even realizing it.  Whether we know it or not, we are influenced by the books we read, the conversations we have, the television we watch, the internet we surf, the images we view, and the ideas that we absorb.  None of these mediums are, in and of themselves, bad; however, they are often used as the vehicles through which the counsel of the wicked is delivered into our heads for the shaping of our hearts.  Influences are never neutral.  They either make us godly or they make us worldly.

What has the greatest influence upon your thinking: the things of God or the things of the world?


2.  He avoids ungodly behavior: The righteous man is blessed, because he does not stand in the way of sinners. This means that his behavior does not resemble the behavior of sinful men.  The manifestations of his heart do not reflect rebellious ways.  If your entire life was recorded on DVD and someone was to catch a glimpse of any given moment of your life, what would they see?  Would your behavior in that random moment be reflective of godliness or worldliness?  Would someone look at your behavior and comment on whether you are a righteous person or a wicked one?  Our lives are all on camera, and God sees everything that we do in every moment of our lives.  There are only two paths.  We are either walking in the way of God or standing in the way of sinners.

Does your behavior reflect a lifestyle of righteousness or more often resemble one of rebellion?

3. He avoids ungodly companions: The righteous man is blessed, because he does not sit in the seat of scoffers. This means that he does not gather together with those who express contempt for God.  He neither mocks the things of God, nor holds company with those who do.  “Scoffers, if not the most scandalous of sinners, are the farthest from repentance.” [1] The righteous man is not characterized by an unrepentant spirit, but recognizes that the righteous life is one of perpetual faith and repentance. [2] The righteous man does not maintain relationships with those who exhibit hearts that are cold, calloused, and contemptuous toward the gracious God that he loves.  This is not to suggest that he never befriends an unbeliever; it simply acknowledges that his closest companions are those who honor God and love His word.  A Puritan pastor once said, “Let your choicest companions be those who have made Christ their chief companion.” [3] We often conform to the character of those individuals in whose company we spend most of our time.  Our time should be most spent with those whose hearts recognize Christ as supreme.

Are your closest companions those who have made Christ their chief companion?

4.  He exercises godly devotion: The righteous man is blessed, because his delight is in the law of the Lord and on His law he meditates day and night. This is the key that unlocks the other three.  Taking pleasure in the word of God enables the righteous man to avoid the pitfalls of the wicked.  As he meditates on the ways of God, his heart and life are conformed to the character of God.  Not only does he take delight in the things of God, he is also devoted to thinking often and deeply about them.  Instead of taking the counsel of the wicked, he receives the counsel of the Lord.  Instead of imitating the behavior of the wicked, he imitates the ways of God.  Instead of expressing contempt for God, he joyfully contemplates Him and enjoys the company of others who do likewise.

Meditation is best characterized as mental-chewing.  A helpful illustration will be that of a cow. After a cow consumes grass, it will repeatedly chew this food until it is made ready for a thorough digestion.  The first chewing moistens the food and allows it to be swallowed.  Once swallowed it enters the stomach where chemicals soften it and then the stomach muscles regurgitate it up for a second chewing.  This softened, half-chewed material is called cud.  During the second-chewing, the food is further softened and made ready for digestion.  As the cow digests the cud, the rich nutrients contained in the original grass become part of the animal and serve as a source of strength and sustenance.

Meditating on the law of the Lord is a lot like chewing cud.  The righteous man is not critical of Scripture.  He enjoys consuming and repeatedly chewing on it.  Digesting the truths of Scripture requires our minds to constantly mull over them so that the rich nutrients they contain become a part of our lives.  The repeated chewing causes our hearts to soften so that we might receive the goodness that they have to offer.  Once digested, these truths will have their full effect of transforming our lives and bearing the fruit of righteousness.  Meditation requires two things: our delight in the things of God, and our devotion to thinking often and deeply about them.  This is both practical and personal.  As the Psalmist writes in Psalm 19, the law of the Lord is sweeter than honey.  Let us digest it.

Do you take delight in the things of God and think often and deeply about them?

The righteous man is characterized by both discipline and devotion, and the fruit of this lifestyle is spiritual prosperity.  He will flourish and be fruitful, just like that willow tree near the pond.

*This is the third of several posts over Psalm one.


[1] Derek Kidner, Psalms 1-72 in The Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove: Inter-Varsity Press, 1973), 47-48.

[2] Martin Luther, in the first of his 95 Theses nailed to the door at Wittenburg, wrote: “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said ‘Repent’ [Mark 1:15], he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.”  Martin Luther, “Ninety-Five Theses.”  C.M. Jacobs, trans. Luther’s Works.  Helmut T. Lehmann, gen. ed., vol. 31. (Philadelphia: Muhlenberg Press, 1957), 25-33.

[3] Puritan Pastor Thomas Brooks: < http://www.puritansermons.com/reformed/brooks6.htm>

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The Willow Tree: Psalm 1 (Pt 2)

A Study of Psalm 1: (Part 2: Preface)  Go to Part One

Psalm one is significant for a couple of reasons. First, this psalm serves as an introduction to the book of Psalms.  The entire Psalter served as the hymnbook of God’s people, and provided them instruction on how to worship Him.  Psalm 1 provides the first hint of that instruction.  It reveals that God must be worshiped according to His word and in light of eternity.[1] Second, this psalm vividly portrays two contrasting ways to live: the way of the righteous and the way of the wicked.  This will be the primary focus of our study.  Psalm 1 uses several images to distinguish between the steadfast life of the righteous and the coming peril of the wicked.  Their ways of life are nearly as divergent as their destinies.  Those who are faithful in this life will be preserved, but those who are unfaithful will ultimately perish.  Those who walk with God now will live with Him for eternity, but expulsion and eternal torment await those who waste their present lives living for themselves in contempt for God.


As we look more closely at our text, we will see a stunning portrait of two different people: the righteous and the wicked.  The righteous person is blessed by God, whereas the wicked one is not.  The righteous person is described as blessed, because his life is characterized by faithfulness.  He is both disciplined and devoted.  He is disciplined in his thinking, his behavior, and in the company he keeps; and he delights in the things of God and is devoted to them.  His discipline is stated negatively in terms of what he avoids, and his devotion is stated positively in terms of what he pursues and takes pleasure in.  God blesses this faithful man.

Psalm 1:1-6“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. 3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. 4 The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. 5 Therefore, the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; 6 for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.”

*This is the second of several posts over Psalm one that will be forthcoming.


[1] Interestingly, Roman General Maximus Decimus Meridias confidently quipped in the thrilling blockbuster Gladiator (2000), “What we do in this life echoes in eternity.”  Even the Hollywood depiction of pagan Rome recognized that what happens in this life carries consequences for eternity.  Although their understanding of eternity does not line up with a biblical understanding.

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The Willow Tree: Psalm 1 (Pt 1)

A Study of Psalm 1: (Part One: Introduction)

On my parents’ property there is a beautiful pond overlooked by a large willow tree.  The willow tree is completely eye-catching.  It stands triumphantly on the edge of the pond with its gorgeous branches kissing the ground.  That beautiful tree standing center-stage is not very old.  Few admirers would guess that a tree so large could be that young.  I remember helping my father plant that tree a few years ago, and each year I have been amazed to look back on its exponential growth.  The changes have been staggering.  I believe the secret to that willow tree’s rapid growth and annual flourishing has been its excellent placement.  The tree was planted less than ten yards from the water, and its roots wasted no time in finding the pond’s life-giving moisture.  I often wonder whether that tree would have flourished so much had it been planted elsewhere—perhaps the middle of our yard where the pond was out of reach.

I have often been fascinated by that tree, and marvel at how it stands as a fitting metaphor for life.  People are a lot like trees.  Some flourish while others fade.  Some are fruitful and others fruitless.  Each tree has the capacity to grow and live, but it also has the ability to wither and die.  So, what makes the difference?  The answer is obvious.  A tree can only flourish when it has the nutrients that are necessary for its growth.  In this way, the condition of the tree is a result of the elements to which it is exposed.  It is shaped by the environment that surrounds it, and is affected by the resources that either nourish or suffocate its growth.  Is your life like that willow tree at my parents’ pond?  Are you experiencing exponential growth and flourishing for all to see?  As we will see in our text today, our growth is completely dependent on where our roots find their sustenance and ultimate satisfaction.

Let us now turn to our text:

Psalm 1:1-6: “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. 3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. 4 The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. 5 Therefore, the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; 6 for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.”

*This is the first of several posts over Psalm one that will be forthcoming.


[1] The premise of G.K. Beale’s monumental work on idolatry, We Become What We Worship: A Biblical Theology of Idolatry (IVP Academic, 2008), has suggested: “We become what we worship, we resemble what we revere.”

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