READ PSALM ONE
Yesterday we saw what the Ideal Israelite didn’t do.
Recap yesterday’s study in your own words. If you’re taking notes in a notebook, try to write two to three sentences summarizing what we looked at yesterday.
Now, the text tells us what the Ideal Israelite does: delights in the law of the Lord.
This person of faith is taking his joyful delight in life from the law of God. The law of God in view here is the Old Testament Scriptures – the Word of God preserved for the people of God. And the law of God wasn’t just a set of rules to be followed (though it certainly also encompassed that); it was a recitation of God’s character. Embedded in each command is a profound proclamation of who God is – His holiness and justice and generosity. Because of who God is, God calls His people to emulate Him by refraining from sin, defending the poor, using just scales in business and the justice system, and giving back to God a portion of what He has given us. The Law the Psalmist is meditating on isn’t just rules to make sure his own life stays in line – it’s a documented promise that God is unchanging in His character.
Is this how you’ve approached the Word of God in the past? If not, how have you approached God’s Word? How might God be challenging your view of His Word through Psalm one?
Because of what the law of God is – a recitation of God’s character – the Ideal Israelite meditates on it “day and night.” This phrase, “day and night,” is a Hebrew grammatical construction called an “inclusio.” Inclusios take two unlike things and posture them together in a sentence to show the expansiveness of what the author is trying to convey. Take, for example, this familiar inclusio: “God has removed our sins from us as far as the east is from the west.” What this sentence is not saying is that there is a location in the east where we stand and a location in the west where God has placed our sin. No, the author is using two unlike things – east and west – to show the expansiveness of God’s redemptive power.
With this in mind, how should we read Psalm 1:2?
The person of faith is not literally studying God’s Word in the morning and during the night, but dwelling on it all the time. The Psalmist wants us to know that this believer is thinking about God’s law and His coinciding character around the clock! When she lies down, God’s Word is in mind; when she’s going about her day, God’s Word is running through her head. All the time, the Ideal Israelite is thinking about, meditating on, and ruminating over God’s Word.
Is this your life circumstance? If not, how might this verse challenge you to place God’s Word in front of yourself more often so that you grow into a person who dwells on the Word all the time?
Starting next week we’ll be looking at the coming metaphor the Psalmist uses to describe the person of faith in view. But, for the conclusion of this week’s study, spend some time reflecting on the bar that this Psalm lays out for people of faith. It is quite high (we’ll look at the intent of this “high bar” next week), and we often do not measure up. As we trace the theme of supplication and submission throughout this book of poetry, we’re reminded that we need God. We need Him to make us into this kind of person of faith, and we need to submit ourselves to be molded by Him.
Pray & Reflect:
Supplication: Spend some time asking God to search your heart. Ask Him to reveal areas of your own life – particularly, your view of His Word – that He might want to transform.
Submission: Ask Him to give you a submissive spirit to His will, and for a heart that is ready to be changed by His Spirit.