1. Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful.
For too many years of my life I walked in the counsel of the ungodly; in fact, I was ungodly. As I reflect on much of my life, I have to acknowledge that I was acting in accordance with a nature that is contrary to who I am. Only, I didn’t really know who I was because Christ was not the center of my existence. Much of my behavior was influenced by a desire to impress, fit in, or to fulfill some selfish desire that had no lasting good. Not only did I walk in the counsel of the ungodly, I stood with sinners, and assumed a seat at the table with the scornful. I was that ungodly, sinful, and scornful person that fed from a table of filth and influenced others to do the same. In the same way that our bodies become acclimated to the cold lake water, we also become acclimated to the life of sin and almost dread stepping out for fear of getting the chills when a cool wind passes by.
2. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.
I grew up in a Christian community and went to church almost every week but I would be lying if I said that I delighted in the law of the Lord and meditated on it for even part of the day. In fact, I barely understood what I was reading and the King James language didn’t really help. I never at any point in my life believed that Santa Claus is real but I treated God as if He was. I found myself praying when I was in the midst of a difficult situation and reading the bible when I found myself sitting on a sand hill in Iraq. My delight was in whatever seemed pleasing in the moment or the near-term. It was what satisfied a physical or emotional craving; a lust that has nothing to do with honoring God and everything to do with honoring self. The word was near but I was far from the word; the law was on my heart but only to remind me to disguise my sins. I didn’t consider that God saw my sins because……well, I didn’t even consider God.
3. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not whither, and whatever he does shall prosper.
I was more like a tree in the middle of the river, soaking up the best of what I came in contact with and shedding dead leaves and poisoned fruit in the waters surrounding me. Even worse is that I didn’t see it that way. I thought I was doing good; that I was contributing to society in a positive way and fostering positive growth in those with whom I came in contact. I left a wake of pain and disappointment in my past and it was not immediately clear just what my life had amounted to. While I felt remorse for the pain that I caused, there was no repentance. I continued to produce poisonous fruit hidden behind withered leaves, deceiving myself that I was prospering. Even those things that could be viewed as prosperity were simply high hollow walls; a valley of dry bones.
4. The ungodly are not so, but are like the chaff which the wind drives away.
That I can now reflect on my past and share my testimony is only possible by the mercies of God. I should have been driven away like chaff, yet here I stand with roots that drink of the rich waters of forgiveness and redemption. Here I stand on the Rock that is higher than I; on Jesus Christ who has redeemed me from among the ungodly [from myself]. Like the Apostle Paul, I was chief among sinners. I was on the fast track of destruction, running a faithless race to a fiery trial; but God, who is gracious and forgiving, snatched me out of my self-destructive lifestyle and has planted me by the rivers of water. He has set the times of my fruit and has appointed them for good – for His glory. I stand strong in the winds of strife, anchored in His Holy Spirit with my eyes stayed on Jesus Christ. I no longer walk in the counsel of the ungodly nor do I stand in the path of sinners. I do not sit in the seat of the scornful but my counselor is the Holy Spirit, my path is that of Jesus Christ, and my comfort is in God – the Triune God. Though the world throws them all at me, my sure hope is in Christ and He has already overcome. I remain on watch and dawn the full armor of God, acknowledging that the enemy is crafty – but God is all-knowing!
5. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
Immediately the song “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine” comes to mind. Yes, “This is my story” and I will continuously praise my Savior because He has secured my place in His kingdom. He has rescued me from the judgement and seated me in the congregation of the righteous. How do I know this? If you are saved you already know the answer to that question!
6. For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall perish.
There is only one way of the righteous and His name is Jesus Christ (Yeshua HaMashiach). “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me””. (John 14:6)