May 1 | Troi Buchanan
Psalm 1 sets the stage for all of the Psalms. The pursuit of wisdom and the expression of the human experience, that’s what we’re in for over the next few months. As I read this passage over and over, I hear my
mother saying to me when I was a child, “show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.”
1 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;
My mom’s words still ring true to this day. There was a time in my life when I walked in the counsel of the wicked. The friends that I held close I loved dearly, but there came a day that my eyes opened and I realized
that the path they were walking would only lead to self destruction. And I realized that it was possible for me to genuinely love them and care for them, but also remove them from a place in influence in my life.
2 His delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.
3 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.
I’m reading from ESV, and my translation says the “law” of the Lord. I don’t know about you, but I hear the word law and my skin crawls just a little bit. What does that even mean? Are we talking about the ten commandments, levitical laws, old covenant, new covenant, noahic covenant, abrahamic covenant, etc.?
Whenever I get hung up on a word in the Bible, I try to get “underneath” the word, read other translations, and try to get to the heart of what the writer was trying to say. Here’s how it reads in the VOICE;
2 For you, the Eternal’s Word is your happiness. It is your focus—from dusk to dawn. 3 You are like a tree, planted by flowing, cool streams of water that never run dry. Your fruit ripens in its time; your leaves never fade or curl in the summer sun. No matter what you do, you prosper.
Whoa. I can chew on that. Jesus – the Eternal Word, is my happiness. Not only my happiness, but my life source. In Jesus, no matter what I do, I can prosper.
Okay, here’s me being honest. This is a hard read for me. My cultural context is so different than the writer of the Psalms. For me, the idea of God exacting revenge and wrath on anybody is scary and unpleasant. But she (or he) is living in a context where the empire is hunting down and killing believers of Yahweh in droves simply because they pose a threat to the order of things. So I was ready to completely close myself off to this passage…but then there’s this great line.
4 The Power of heaven laughs at their silliness.
For some reason I took so much comfort in those words. We live in a world where nuclear war seems more possible every single day. And we live in a world where many people are discriminated against, ostracized, and even killed because of their faith. And yet, when you compare the Empire of this world to the Kingdom of God, the only appropriate response is to laugh. The Empire can muster up all the evil and power that it can, but our hope is unshaken.
7 I am telling all of you the truth. I have heard the Eternal’s decree. He said clearly to me, “You are My son. Today I have become your Father. 8 The nations shall be yours for the asking, and the entire earth will belong to you.
Fear not, because our hope is not in the Empire of this world, but in the Kingdom of God inside of us.