In response to recent requests from subscribers, the Nugget will be featuring a devotional based on the book of Psalms once a month. We pray you will be blessed by this focus on the one book of the Bible that Jesus quoted the most.
An interesting fact about the book of Psalms is that it is actually a compilation of various songs. Though we always refer to them as the Psalms of David, they were, in actuality, penned by many different authors over a span of many years.
Over the past seven months, we have looked at seven individual Psalms and how these powerful songs can empower us, rendering our prayer life stronger and increasing our faith. Today’s lesson comes from Psalms 1, a Psalm of David, which teaches us some important facts about relationship with God:
“Oh, the joys of those who do not
follow the advice of the wicked,
or stand arhound with sinners,
or join in with mockers.
But they delight in the law of the Lord,
meditating on it day and night.” (vs. 1-2 NLT)
I don’t know about you, but on first glance, it would seem to me that this is in opposition of the teachings of the New Testament which tell us that in the New Covenant, we are no longer under the law and it will not save us (See Acts 15:10, Rom. 3:20, Rom 4:15, Rom 5:20, 2 Cor. 3:7-15, Gal. 2:16-21, Gal. 3:1-23, etc). How then can delighting in God’s law bring us blessings?
When you do a close examination of these first two verses ofPsalms 1, however, you see something powerful:“…they delight in the law of the Lord…”
When you delight in something, it is because that something is extremely pleasing to you. For example, I delight in my children. But wait: How can a list of rules be pleasing to us?
It is only by being in love with the rule giver than any list of rules can be ‘pleasing’. When we love someone with all of our hearts, we want to please them and we take delight in doing the things that please them. There’s no way we can delight in a set of rules unless we truly love the rule giver; therefore, delighting in God’s laws requires that we be fully and completely in love with God, the Rule-Giver!
Of course there are benefits to loving God enough to want to keep His laws. Psalm 1 tells us that God will pour blessings out upon us when we delight in His laws:
“They are like trees planted along the riverbank,
bearing fruit each season.
Their leaves never wither,
and they prosper in all they do.” (vs. 3-4 NLT)
Unfortunately, when we look at these verses, we often see them as a ‘recipe’ for prosperity: If I keep the Lord’s laws, I will prosper! And so we work hard to keep those rules, but the desired prosperity never comes.
I think the problem is that we forget that little word delight. We forget that it’s not just keeping the rules that God requires of us, it is in taking pleasure in those rules. While we think the ‘recipe’ for prosperity lies in keeping the rules, in all reality, the ‘recipe’ for prosperity lies in being so in love with the Rule-Giver that we delight in His laws! When this is the case, our focus will be on being with God and loving Him, and not on trying to earn His favour. It is only when our priorities are properly aligned that we can delight in the law and receive the promised blessings.
Psalms 1 goes on to explain that though there are many benefits to delighting in God’s laws, there are also consequences for not delighting in His laws:
“But not the wicked!
They are like worthless chaff, scattered by the wind.
They will be condemned at the time of judgment.
Sinners will have no place among the godly.
For the Lord watches over the path of the godly,
but the path of the wicked leads to destruction.” (vs. 5-6 NLT)
Isn’t it interesting that the “wicked” are defined as those who do not delight in God’s laws, and conversely, those who dodelight in God’s laws are called “the godly”?
Let’s keep in mind as we read this Psalm that it isn’t about wanting to receive the blessing; it’s about wanting that relationship with the Law-Giver for the sole purpose of loving Him and pleasing Him. The given benefits to those who loveGod enough to delight in His law are just icing on the cake!
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, andScriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, withAnswers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.
(To access the entire “Lessons From the Psalms” mini-series, please click here.)