TWO PATHS – TWO VIEWS
Lord, keep me from traversing the path of the wicked.
Read PSALM 1
1 Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.
4 Not so the wicked!
They are like chaff
that the wind blows away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
6 For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
One salient theme of the psalms is the stark contrast between the righteous and the wicked. Isn’t this exactly how the entire book opens in this psalm?
Like Jeremiah, the psalmist here presents readers with two paths. We see the route to the different paths and also the view from and the destination of the paths. The point also seems to be twofold. On the one hand we are encouraged to follow the righteous path and discouraged from following the “way that sinners take” (1). Moreover, we are called to rejoice, perhaps revel, in the thought that if we do follow the righteous path we do so not in “the company of mockers” (1) but in the company of the Lord himself, who watches over us all the way. The second path actually has no destination: the path itself literally comes to a dead end. So how do we get on the right path? Negatively, we get out of step with the wicked and stop keeping company with “mockers.” Positively, we immerse ourselves in God’s Word, which enables us to walk in step with God himself.
The enjoyment of a walk depends to a large extent on who accompanies us. I have been on walks where the leader waits for the slower walkers to catch up but then dashes off as soon as they arrive, so that the quick walkers get a rest, but the slow ones don’t! The best walk-leaders are those who think about everyone’s needs and who make sure that one of the good walkers keeps alongside the slowest at the back. The walk of life may sometimes be quite difficult but the view is great—and don’t you just love the thought that God himself is walking with us and watching over our paths!
Think about why the inspired psalmist would liken the believer to a tree planted by the water. How does this apply to your walk?
Lord, help me to remember that “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path” (Psa. 119:105) and that “when my spirit grows faint within me, it is You who watch over my way” (Psa. 142:3). Keep me walking close to You.