Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Best of: Psalms 1:2-What do you delight in?

I posted an exception of Psalm 1 back in the spring of this year. I have picked up several new readers since then. I therefore thought this would be a good time to take another look at this encouraging Psalm. I pray that God will bless you as we study this scripture together.


Some of the men at my church went through a Bible study called “The Exemplary Husband”. One of the points made by one of the guys was that how we spend our time demonstrates what we value as a priority. I would add to that statement that if we claim to be Christians and to love the Lord but our lives do no reflect that, we are deluding ourselves. The proof is in the pudding, as they say. In this verse, we see a practical observation about the reaction of a godly person to the word of God.

Scripture records in Psalm 1:1 that a godly person wants nothing to do with ungodly people or activities. Verse 2 informs us why a godly person has this mindset. To them, the Bible is not just a book. It doesn’t just sit on the shelf and collect dust or hang around in the car until next time they go to church (unless, of course, they have a copy in the house that they read). The psalmist writes “his delight is in the law of the Lord”. In our society, we are bombarded with a constant barrage of suggestions as to what will make us happy. We are told that more money, more power, or more prestige will bring true satisfaction. However, the Bible here tells us that a godly person’s “delight” should be in the law of the Lord, the Bible. The word “delight” translates the Hebrew word “hepes” which could be used not only as “delight” but also “treasure”. In other words, a godly person finds the Bible to be a treasure. Now, if some values something, they will treat it as special to them. When I was in school studying music, I had a tenor saxophone that my parents gave me. I polished it regularly. I treated it like a piece of jewelry. The way I treated it was proof of how much it meant to me.

A person who loves the Bible will spend time reading it, as the psalmist notes. “In His law he meditates day and night”. Now, if he is meditating on the Bible day and night, he is meditating on it all the time. There may be times when you cannot actually read through the scripture, but you can still meditate on it. I was the part time pastor of a small church in Northeast Alabama. For a full time day job, I ran a pizza restaurant. Many times, I would have to cover for drivers who didn’t show up to work. I didn’t have unlimited time to study. Most of the time, then, I would be working on a passage 2 or 3 weeks before I would preach it (one of the advantages of sequential exposition). I would be driving around delivering a pizza and thinking about a few verses that I had been studying. The psalmist paints the same sort of pictures here. This person is constantly consumed with God’s word. Now, let us imagine what kind of life this person must live. When someone treats him rudely, what kind of reaction would God’s word lead him to have? When he is fearful, what kind of comfort would it give him? How would our lives be different if we meditated on God’s word day and night?

Observe, however, that he doesn’t simply read the Bible. He “meditates” (haga-Hebrew) on it. The Hebrew word can be used for “study”. We are admonished that as we mature, we should move from spiritual milk (the elementary principals of the faith) to solid food (doctrine). We can’t expect to learn the Bible by simply reading it. When I eat a steak, I don’t just shove the whole thing in my mouth. Well, most of the time. I cut it up. I have to work to prepare my food for consumption. Even when I have a piece of steak in my mouth, I have to chew it before I swallow it or hope for someone to know the Heimlich. Now when I eat cotton candy, it dissolves on contact with my tongue. God’s word is spiritual steak. To study it and learn it is going to take some work. We have to read it, read commentaries about it, go and hear it preached, and study as much as we can of the original languages.

As we read in Hebrews 1, God spoke through the prophets. We know He spoke through the apostles as well. Therefore, when we delight in the law of the Lord and focus on studying it, we grow closer to Him because He is reveled in each and every verse. To study the Bible is to study God. Or love of the Bible demonstrates our love for our Lord who inspired it to be written.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission.


Rick Morgan said...

I have read it before plenty of times but I just realized what a great start to the book of Psalms.

The whole book is about the actions of the Godly man and the ungodly man.

The Godly man is looking to God for help and praising God for what he has done.

I did a search one time and found out that the book talks over and over about the righteous and the wicked.

Joe Blackmon said...


Thanks for the comment. This is actually my wife's favorite Psalm. To me, this is particularly relevant considering the popularity of prosperity-feel good theology.