The truly happy person
doesn’t follow wicked advice,
doesn’t stand on the road of sinners,
and doesn’t sit with the disrespectful.
Instead of doing those things,
these persons love the Lord’s Instruction,
and they recite God’s Instruction day and night!
They are like a tree replanted by streams of water,
which bears fruit at just the right time
and whose leaves don’t fade.
Whatever they do succeeds.
That’s not true for the wicked!
They are like dust that the wind blows away.
And that’s why the wicked will have no standing in the court of justice—
neither will sinners
in the assembly of the righteous.
The Lord is intimately acquainted
with the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked is destroyed.
Psalm 1 describes a perfect world. Here, the righteous are rooted and strong, like trees along the banks of a river. They succeed in all they do, while the dreams and schemes of the wicked come to nothing.
We all know the world is far, far from perfect.
Though our experience may not always live up to all the promises of Psalm 1, there is a truth here that no one can contradict. “The truly happy person…love(s) the Lord’s Instruction.” There is joy in knowing that we are following the right way, even when it means traveling against the flow of traffic.
The path of those who do wrong tries to take a shortcut to success by misusing, mistreating, using or abusing people. The wicked may well arrive at their goal, but at what cost? Those who do these things to others have to carry the terrible burden of constantly looking over their shoulders, fully expecting someone will do the same to them. There’s no joy to be found on that road.
Each of us has a choice to make: which path will we follow toward success? The path of righteousness may be long, steep, and narrow, but in the end, there’s no other road to joy.
For Pondering & Prayer
The psalm describes a believer who meditates on God’s instruction “day and night.” What’s one step you might take to bring more God-thoughts into your life throughout the day (and night)?
When have you been guilty of trying to take “shortcuts” over, around or through people in order to achieve a goal? Was it worth it?