How blessed is the man who…
- Gets up early in the morning?
- Has the fattest wallet?
- Gets the best exam results?
- Finds the perfect partner?
Perhaps surprisingly, according to Psalm 1, the first criteria for receiving God’s blessing, lies not in what we DO, but rather in what we DON’T DO.
How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers!Psalm 1 :1
Counsel of the Wicked?
At this point you could be forgiven for switching off and thinking: “Well, this definitely doesn’t apply to me. I would NEVER go to the wicked for advice! In fact, I don’t even know anyone truly wicked!”
Some translations, however, use the phrase: ‘the counsel of the ungodly.’
Put it like that, and suddenly things start to get a bit closer to home. You don’t have to go very far (or be awake very long) before you come into contact with a fairly large serving of ungodly counsel…
The alarm goes off in the morning. Often, the first thing we do is reach for our mobile phones. Spend five minutes scrolling through Social Media. What messages are you being drip-fed? Go to work, or college or school. Turn on the radio. What are people talking about? What stories are trending? Turn on the TV, watch an advert or a film. What are the underlying messages? What about that particular magazine or newspaper you love to read, or the music you love to listen to?
Even if we go out of our way to avoid anything avertly ungodly, the truth is that, just by living in the world, countless subtle messages and ways of thinking are presented to us on a daily basis. Not all of them are Godly.
- Money + Possessions = happiness
- Good looks + success = significance
- My Rights + my choices = True Freedom
Do any of these false equations sound familiar?
We can’t very well go through this life with our fingers in our ears and a paper bag over our head. Neither are we commissioned to stay locked in our homes listening to nothing but worship music and Christian podcasts. See no evil…hear no evil…
It’s really helpful to note that the scripture says: Blessed is the man who DOES NOT WALK in the counsel of the wicked.
Walk is a verb. It’s a doing word. The dictionary describes it this way: “progress by lifting and setting each foot down in turn.”
The good news is, even though we will HEAR all sorts of ungodly counsel, the important thing is not to WALK in it. We must not take one step!
We can’t always help what we hear. Ungodly counsel is all around us. Problems seem to arise once we begin to embrace and act on these worldly mindsets. In fact, the sober outcome seems to be, that once you start walking in the counsel of the ungodly, it won’t be long until you are standing with sinners, and eventually sitting with scoffers!
So…how then do we learn to discern the difference between Godly and ungodly counsel?
Well, thankfully, the answer seems to lie in verse 2. Verse 2 focusses on what we SHOULD do – or rather – what our heart attitude should be.
We will be studying this verse in the next post.