Welcome back to the Midweek Worship Connection. For the next several weeks we will be walking through the six verses of Psalm One.
Israel’s great song book, which we know today as the Book of Psalms, begins with some exceptionally helpful information. You want to be blessed, right? Well then, don’t do this…
What is it that the writer warns us not to do? Let’s check out the first verse:
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 scoffersPsalm 1:1, ESV
What is it that the writer warns us not to do? He warns us about the dangers of WALKING in the counsel of the wicked, STANDING in the way of sinners, and SITTING in the seat of scoffers. That should be easy enough to avoid, right?
Let’s not be so sure.
You will notice that the writer draws a connection through a slow fade. People do not generally wake up and immediately take their seat with the scoffers. The slow fade away from God’s unique blessing in our lives typically starts with our seemingly innocuous decision to walk in the counsel of the wicked.
God knows best. Do you want some great advice? Ask God! (We will look more closely at what happens to those who delight in the law of the LORD when we unpack more of Psalm 1 in the weeks to come.) Unfortunately, we too often fall into the trap of seeking counsel (or dare I say approval) from others before seeking it from God. This can be a dangerous gamble. It is possible that the ones you seek council from are godly. It is also possible that they are not. We are called to test everything (see 1 Thessalonians 5:1), even (and especially) the counsel that we receive from others.
We begin to willingly forfeit our unique blessing from God when we walk in the counsel of the world rather than in the counsel of the Word. If the counsel that we receive does not line up with the clear teaching of God’s Word, then it is wicked. There is no middle ground. Routinely walking in worldly, wicked counsel results in a person stopping to stand for a while.
The person who is on the path towards throwing away their unique blessing from God will eventually come to a stopping point. They will no longer be walking. They will no longer be moving. They will rather stand… in the way of sinners. Now, let’s be clear… everyone has sinned. In that sense, everyone is a sinner. This is not the type of “sinner” that Psalm 1 is referring to. The “sinner” in Psalm 1 is the person who willingly sins with no thought of repentance for their sins. This is exactly what will happen to the person who continually receives worldly counsel from the wicked. Their conscience will no longer work as it was designed by God to work. They will grieve the Holy Spirit of God. They will stand among those who regularly, willingly sin with no serious thought of repentance.
But standing is tiring, and their progression has not yet reached its natural end. Those who begin by walking in the counsel of the wicked, who stop moving and begin to stand in the way of sinners, will ultimately take their seat among the scoffers. The “scoffers” are those who not only actively choose the council of the wicked over God’s Word, but they actually hate God’s Word. The Word of God is no longer simply difficult for them to carry out—it has actually become offensive to them.
I have become convinced that this slow fade, this progression towards the seat of scoffers, is calling out to all of us. It wants to have its way in our lives. It wants to turn us from God and from His unique blessing in our lives. It calls us, in fact, with the voice of Satan.
Thankfully, God is calling out to all of us, as well. He wants to have HIS way in our lives. He wants us to turn from the ways of the world and towards His unique blessing in our lives.
The only question, then, is which voice will we choose to listen to?