Monday, May 19, 2014

May 19: The danger of scoffers

How blessed is the one who does not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand in the pathway with sinners, or sit in the assembly of scoffers! Instead he finds pleasure in obeying the Lord’s commands; he meditates on his commands day and night. He is like a tree planted by flowing streams; it yields its fruit at the proper time, and its leaves never fall off. He succeeds in everything he attempts. Not so with the wicked. Instead they are like wind-driven chaff.   (Psalm 1:1-4  NET)

There is no indication of who wrote this Psalm or what the circumstances its writing were, but it seems to be a quick summary of the lessons that Israel learned throughout its history. It contrasts the blessings of following God with the futility of turning away from Him, and through this initial psalm the Holy Spirit appears to set the tone for the rest of the book.

The first sentence describes increasing levels of evil that still exist today, three to four thousand years later. Following the advice of the wicked leads to standing in the pathway of sinners, which leads to sitting in the assembly of scoffers. First the devil wants us to follow his advice by listening to words of fear and doubt from a friend or colleague, then he wants us to seeking out their friendship and stand with them, getting accustomed to their ways. Finally, he wants us to sit in the assembly of scoffers, cynics, and people who have lost belief in anything good. There must have been ages where people did a lot of complaining, but the modern world we live must be one of the most unbelieving. People are skeptical about God, faith, trust, respect, and anything else that is good. People don’t believe in marriage anymore, they think prayer and church are a waste of time, they don’t believe in their government officials (at times with good reason) and authorities, and start to feel that no one and nothing can be believed anymore.

The person who avoids these people and places, and instead chooses to meditate on God and His word, day and night, experiences a totally different type of life. He is fully aware of the evil in the world and the untrustworthiness of people, and as a result places his trust in God. He prospers, he is strong and resilient in times of trouble, he is continually fruitful, and he is successful in whatever he does. People with faith in God have a future, whereas scoffers end up as wind-blown chaff… useless and carried away by the wind.

God promises that we will be like trees planted by flowing streams if we find pleasure in obeying His commands.

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