Psalm 1: 1 Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path that sinners tread, or sit in the seat of scoffers; 2 but their delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law they meditate day and night. 3 They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper.
First of all, Happy New Year! I can’t think of a better way to start 2016 than by reading God’s word, reflecting on it, and praying together. Thanks for joining me here!
If you too follow the Moravian Daily Texts bible reading plan then you know that today we start all over with Genesis 1 (first book of the Old Testament), Matthew 1 (first book of the New Testament) and Psalm 1 (the first book of the wisdom literature that includes Proverbs and Ecclesiastes).
Today the assigned passage that speaks to me most is Psalm 1, as you can see from our passage above. This passage tells us of a very important truth, which makes sense really. We are told that those who follow God’s law:
3 …are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper.
Do you want to be fruitful in your life? Your family? Your business? Your finances? Me too. However, as Christians we can tend to want to ignore God’s law. Why? Because we know that our relationship with God is not driven by how well we follow God’s rules/laws. That was the case in the Old Testament (before Jesus). Yet Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection changed all that. God knows that our sinful nature will always torpedo our efforts to perfectly follow the law. Jesus, who was without sin, died on the cross as a way of taking the punishment for our sin upon himself. In essence, we did the crime, but Jesus did the time – on our behalf. That’s called grace. The apostle Paul said it this way in the book of Ephesians:
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— 9 not the result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
So theologically it is correct to say that we are not brought close to God by our works/actions/deeds, but by the grace and mercy of God. Therefore, some people take it a step further to suggest that we no longer need to observe God’s laws/rules/ways since that is no longer the key to our salvation. Right? WRONG!
Just because the law is no longer key to our salvation doesn’t mean it holds no value. The truth is that God (the designer, creator, and sustainer of all human life) has some insight into the ways humans should live. Duh! And though we are children of grace, doing life according to God’s will/ways is a really smart thing to do.
This is a challenge for me – and for you – as we look forward to 2016. I believe this will be a focus for 2016, seeking to do life God’s way, particularly as revealed through the life of Jesus our Lord. As we go I’ll do my best to highlight the way the world teaches us to live and the way God’s word teaches us to live. It should be a great ride. Thanks for joining me!
Heavenly Father, we thank you for bringing us into a new year. Today we acknowledge that you are the author of life. And by “life” we mean “real life” not the false life that our world often promises. The ways of the world are fleeting at best. Your ways are eternal. Give us grace to do life your way. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.