Sovereign Lord, long ago You revealed Yourself to the Magi travelers. Reveal Yourself to me in Your Word today.
Read Psalm 1:1-6
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“In the quiet, in the stillness I know that you are God … In the chaos, in confusion I know you’re Sovereign still (B. Fraser, “None but Jesus,” Hillsong, 2005).
“Happy New Year” has been said many times recently, but what is the way to happiness? With the opening word preferably translated as “happy,” Psalm 1 contrasts two ways. We may expect to read what they do “not” do (1), but readers in societies that reward busyness are confronted with the apparent inactivity of “righteous” people. First comes calm contemplation on “the law of the Lord”; such “teaching” (a more general translation) is not a burden, nor a duty, but a “delight,” another “happy” word! What follows is the opposite of movement, “a tree planted” (3) while “the wicked” are compared to “chaff” (4), a picture of “constant motion, restless, without direction, carried hither and thither by forces over which they exert no control” (R. Alter, The Art of Biblical Poetry).
There are two ways to the future; one “the Lord watches over,” the other “will be destroyed” (6). “The essence of wrongdoing is to miss the mark, to pursue foolish or unattainable objects of desire that will lead only to frustration, while [those] whose delight is in the Lord’s teaching know the art of sitting still in the right place” (Alter). Here is the place of stability in the midst of the chaos and confusion of competing voices and seductive appeals.
God’s involvement does not mean that all will be trouble-free. Along with joys come pain and suffering, through human violence, fires, floods or earthquakes, in personal financial pressures or family turmoil, through injuries, illness or death. As a “heading” to the Psalter, Psalm 1 prepares for the anguish seen in the psalms of lament but also looks forward to the fulfillment of God’s purposes (Psas. 145-150). Meditating on the whole of the Lord’s teaching enables the rootedness and stillness that will bear the fruit of true happiness in the year ahead.
As you look to the year ahead spend time being still, delighting in the Lord’s teaching and trusting his care.
Lord Jesus, I want to center on You. Be the rock and foundation of my life, my inspiration for right living.
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