Blessed is the man who does not walk  in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands close on 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. (Psalm 1, 1 + 2)

 

Dear readers,

 

The “Psalms“ in the Bible are part of a wonderful prayer book. Actually, it consists of 150 hymns of praise. The melodies were lost (they would certainly not be to our taste today!), but the precious words have remained. David wrote many psalms. British Baptist preacher Spurgeon called the psalms a "treasure trove of David". I would like to visit this spiritual treasure chamber with you in the coming months. I am convinced: we will be richly endowed!

 

Psalm 1 begins with the word "happiness". It can also be translated as "blessed". It is quite similar to the first note in a song. It is important to hit this first note correctly. The Psalms put us in the mood to praise God. With the word "blessed" (Mt. 5, 3) the Beatitudes of the Sermon on the Mount attune us. They attune us to listen to Jesus Christ. Blessed is the person who listens to the Lord Jesus Christ and does what he says.

 

To whom do we listen today? We live in a constant stream of information. Every day we are flooded with news from all over the world. A disaster in the farthest corner of the earth comes as a push message on the smartphone. What politicians and business leaders say has an impact on our lives.

 

The first verse warns against opinion makers and motivators who despise God. The "counsel of the wicked" certainly does not refer to qualified advice from experts. Here we are dealing with important, good advice and not with manipulation. However, it gets dangerous when people are manipulated. This is the case when I will be tempted to do something illegally. If I am to be seduced into acting against God's order of life.

 

The apostle Paul saw times like these described above coming towards us. He warns his co-worker Timothy (2 Tim. 3, 1 - 5): “You should know and take heart: We must expect terrible times in the last days. People will become  self - seeking, obsessed with money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God — having a form of godliness but denying its power. Stay away from this kind of people“.

 

The prayer says: happy is he who reflects on God's law day and night. To me these are the words of the Lord Jesus. I want to think about these words again and again. The words of Jesus give me joy, day and night.

 

What are your thoughts when you have brushed your teeth and crawl under the blanket? What are your thoughts when you fall asleep? What goes through your mind when you wake up in the middle of the night? What are your thoughts when you get up in the morning? Worries? Fears? Or is there time for a song of praise like Paul and Silas did in prison? Acts 16, 23 - 25: “After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the guard was commanded to look after them very close. When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks. About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.”

 

Even while they were suffering, Paul and Silas were able to praise the Lord. The psalmist is happy because he knows God. Because he knows that he is loved by God. This happiness is not dependent on life´s circumstances. The Psalms also speak of fear and need, illness and death. Nevertheless: Happy is the man whom God has planted like a tree in his garden of faith. He provides him with everything he needs to live. Happy is the man whom God looks after. His life is precious.

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© 2020 Hans-Peter Nann, Frankfurt am Main