Monday meditations: Psalm 1.1-2

Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.

Let me say up front that this post is directed at me and it’s hurting me (in a good way I suppose) just to write it out. If it benefits you too that’s great, but if you’re wondering who I have in mind here, that’d be me.

Hebrew poetry does a lot with parallels (as I’ve mentioned before in my first of these meditations on this same verse) and here we have wicked, sinners, and scoffers in parallel with each other, each enhancing the meaning of the others. This really bothers me. I feel like I can say pretty truthfully that I am not a wicked person. I am a sinner (saved by grace!) but I feel like the Spirit has matured me beyond the ‘worst’ of my sinful habits.

But then there’s scoffing.


See the thing about being a graduate student is that you have to think critically and… [editing out remainder of lame excuse]

[searching for another rationale to overcome this parallel]

[Google not helping here]

I can’t get around it. The connection here is obvious and unavoidable. Wicked, sinners, and scoffers are all lumped together. What’s worse is that while the wicked are giving counsel (albeit wicked counsel), and the sinners have their own way, the scoffers are sitting on their butts doing nothing but scoffing. Great. Critical goes with wicked and lazy.

There is a solution here and only one. The person who doesn’t want to be with that wicked/sinning/scoffing group sets his or her delight and focus on the Word of God instead.

I encourage you (meaning me) to reflect this week on the parallels here:



And on how “delight” changes the whole tone of this poem, back to the initial “Blessed” which draws sharp attention to the “not” that stands in front of these parallels. The poetry here is beautiful and effective. The differences in how we think and act could not be more starkly portrayed. This is juxtaposition at its finest. Because this is a life-choice at its most important.

Monday meditations: John 14.21

“Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” John 14.21

The one thing in the Christian life I don’t think we can emphasize enough is the importance of obedience. That seems to have been the sentiment behind the WWJD campaign that started some years ago now (at least I hope it was about more than selling swag at Christian bookstores, but I digress).

But the “what would Jesus do” approach suffers from a serious problem. If I ask this question, I make myself the arbiter of what to do. It is up to me to assess the situation, up to me to decide what I think Jesus would do, and then do that. I think a far better question to ask is, “what has Jesus commanded me to do?” and then do that. Trying to figure Jesus out on our own is not likely to end with us getting it right. After all, his disciples (who were with him 24/7 for 3 years) were constantly getting it wrong when they tried to guess what Jesus would do. We are likely to do worse.

The good news is Jesus hasn’t left us to figure it out on our own. He has told us what to do and blessed us with the Holy Spirit who leads and convicts us as well. Our problem is not in knowing what we’re supposed to do near as much as that we often don’t want to do it. Obedience is not always easy.

As you meditate on John 14.21 this week, reflect on what it means to ‘have’ Jesus’ commandments. Think about the commandments Jesus gave us all (love God, love neighbor) and think about what specific commands the Lord has given to you.

You say he hasn’t given you any? I’ll bet that’s not the case and even if it is, ask for orders and I promise you the Spirit will give them to you (or remind you of them). The Lord delights in our obedience and is always ready to help those who earnestly seek to obey.

Also spend time reflecting on the connection Jesus makes here between obedience and love. I will say more about this in a future post. It is very important and I think the Spirit will bless your meditation in this area with insight.