Our Delight

Psalm 1

What do you delight in? I would not be surprised if many of you said, “I delight in my family or my friends.” And because it’s Father’s Day, I would not be surprised if you said, “I delight in my role as a father.” Others of you might say, “I delight in my career or my job.” And all these things, they’re all good. They’re all gifts from God. But would we say that we delight in them all the time? Sometimes our families annoy us. Sometimes our friends upset us. Sometimes there are unpleasant aspects of our job. So I think it would be disingenuous to say that we delight in them all the time. I would also not be surprised if you said, “I delight in the word of God.” After all, you are a Christian. But would we say that we delight in the word and meditate upon it day and night? This is how Psalm 1 describes the blessed person. If I’m being honest with myself, I don’t always delight or meditate upon the word of God. And this is because I am a sinful human being. As a single person, I can come up with plenty of time and I can come up with plenty of excuses for why I don’t get into studying the word of God. So for those of you with families, I can only imagine that you can come up with even more excuses for why you don’t get into studying the word of God. And again, because it is Father’s Day, let us be reminded that God has given the responsibility to fathers to train up their children in the way of the Lord. It is their role to make sure that their children know and study the scriptures. And studying is really what the Psalm writer is talking about here in Psalm 1. The phrase translated as meditate upon has this sense of mulling something over in your head with groaning. In other words, it’s more involved than just reading the text. It’s wrestling with the text. It’s brooding on it with obsession. Furthermore, the Hebrew verb form has this sense of a continual action. This is to be a regular practice for the believer. And we should not be surprised by this because the word of God can often be hard to understand and there’s lots to know. Case in point, in verse three of Psalm 1, it says that whatever they do will prosper. Whatever they do will prosper. This is talking about the believer. Huh. But is that true? Because I feel like I’ve had many troubles and failures in my life. So how can everything that I do prosper? Prosper. Well, maybe I’m not a believer then. Maybe I’m not blessed. With only a surface-level studying of scripture, perhaps you could come to such a conclusion. Many have misinterpreted this passage and have caused harm to themselves and to others. There are certain preachers out there who preach a message of prosperity and wealth, but they ignore the rest of scripture. And so in order to understand a passage like this, we need to look at it through the microscope of the rest of scripture. And when we investigate it, we will see that God does not promise us earthly prosperity and wealth. In fact, He promises us much suffering and trial. The book of Acts says that we must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God. So then how are we to understand this passage? Well, it comes down to the right perspective, but the right perspective often does not come overnight. Instead, it requires continual study of the word. But as it is, our sinful flesh, the devil, and the evil world does not delight in us studying the word. For the word is the one thing that brings the dead to life. It is the one thing that creates faith where there was none. For some of us, we came to life at our baptism as babies. For others of us, it was when a friend or a pastor shared the good news of Jesus to us. Either way, God’s word is what creates and sustains faith. Just like a plant grows and becomes strong through water and sunlight, so does God’s word make us grow into that strong and vibrant tree whose leaf does not wither. And this strong and vibrant tree is what will stand or what will remain standing when the hard times come our way, and they will. For some of us, the hard times have already come. Maybe our child or our grandchild has many ailments and disabilities, and it’s a burden, to say the least. Maybe we have a good friend who has a malignant tumor. Maybe we live paycheck to paycheck. Maybe there’s a lot of strife and bickering within my family. Or maybe I have former friends who have rejected me because I believe in Jesus. Whatever the trials may be, how do we find our center? My friends, stability comes only from the word of God. When we are being fed through its life in bewed waters, only then will we understand that God is in control of all things, that God works all things out for our good. And in this way, everything that we do or everything that we produce prospers. And what is it that we produce? We produce fruit. Whether it’s love, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, or self-control. These are the fruits of the spirit as promised in Galatians. These are the products from God’s word that make us prosperous. Jesus says in John 14, “I do not give to you “as the world gives.” And it’s true, isn’t it? These fruits are not the things that the world looks for or gives. This is why we delight in His word. We delight in His word because it tells us the way of life, the way of salvation, that our sins have been forgiven through Jesus, and that because of Him, God calls you and me His children. And we have nothing to fear, not even death itself. That is why we delight in the word as the Psalm writer did. But do you wanna know what the crazy part is? The crazy part is the Psalm writer would not have had the full Bible like we do now. They would have had for sure the first five books of Moses to Joshua, Judges, and maybe Ruth. So about this much of the Bible. They didn’t even have the writings of the prophets which make the promises and the prophecies of the Messiah more clear. And even then, the writer rejoiced in God’s word. Psalm 1 is traditionally attributed to King David. But whether it was written by him or not, the Psalm writer practiced what he preached. Because verse three is a direct reference to Joshua chapter one verse eight where it says, this book of instruction must not depart from your mouth. You are to meditate on it day and night so that you may carefully observe everything written in it. For then you will prosper and succeed in whatever you do. Well, guess what, brothers and sisters? We have an even greater advantage than the Psalm writer did because we have the full and clear revelation that Jesus of Nazareth is indeed the Messiah. And we have life in his name. And this is what motivates us to dive into his word and to stay watered by it. And we are watered by it when we read, study, and think about the word at home, when we discuss it with our friends and family when we attend church or Bible study. This is why we delight in the word. And this delight to be in the word is what really allows for meditation day and night. See this phrase day and night does not refer to a literal studying of the word all day long. Rather, it is a continual leaning of the heart on God. It is a sense of serenity that you have regardless of what you’re doing or when. You may not even be consciously aware of it, but you’re trusting in God. And this can play out in different ways. It may play out as you saying silent prayers throughout the day, or it may play out as when you are reflecting the love of God. And in this sense, we are meditating upon the word of God day and night. God’s word is our true delight. It’s the only thing that gives us everlasting peace. It is what makes you and me into that strong and vibrant tree. My friends, you are that tree, the blessed one whose leaf does not wither. Amen.