Illustration: Driving into the daylight. My favorite time of the day. The hour or so before dawn. Then the mere seconds when heaven’s lamp paints earth with honeycomb. Then about thirty minutes of suggestive silence as the first rim of the golden disc displays its glory. Then the minutes of near stillness and the gradual intimations of beginning again.
Driving with the radio off, I hear the ca-clump, ca-clump, ca-clump of the interstate macadam under my wheels. The long gray ribbon of road continues southeast until it ends in GA’s marsh, for which one of our nation’s prettiest cities is named. Morning crows and turkey buzzards fly parallel to the road scanning for carrion. Fog floats motionless above the ditches full from the week’s afternoon thunderstorms. The live oaks, the palmetto bottoms, the tall pines.
Scripture: There is a danger is being so familiar with parts of Scripture. We might think we’re beyond it. We are not. Listen to Psalm 1 again:
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.
He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind
Therefore the wicked will not stand
in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of
for the LORD knows the way of the
but the way of the wicked will
Teaching: This is the classic paradigm of two ways, two paths, two options, and two vastly different outcomes. It’s the contrast between walking with the wicked or walking in wisdom and righteousness. Wickedness wins its temporary skirmishes, yes. But it “will not stand in the judgment” (v.5). That is, reckoning is coming. Judgment is real because God is real. God is holy and God knows.
Most of the world rejects this, of course. The rulers of the world “take counsel together, against the LORD and against his Anointed” (Psalm 2:2). Nothing new there. That is the way of rebellious sinners. And so you witness kingdoms in conflict. Darkness vs. Light; Evil vs. Good; Wickedness vs. Holiness; Cursing vs. Blessing; the Serpent vs. the Savior.
The choice: But the great offer of the gospel is this: a new heart, a new beginning, a new dawn. But it involves death—the death of the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, and the death of our hubris, our pride. And most people refuse both.
Yet David concludes Psalm 1 with this reminder: “for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish” (v.6).
Remember Jesus’ words in the Gospel of John? “And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil” (John 3:19).
Encouragement: As I drove through Pembroke for the umpteenth time, I passed the live oaks that grow naturally in this part of our state. And the imagery from Psalm 1 burned into my soul: the blessing of God is ultimately seen in and experienced by those who are rooted in the truth, who yield fruit, who are planted by streams of water, and whose leaves do not wither.