Psalm 1 – Blessings and Warnings for the New Year

Psalms is a fascinating book. Not only is it one of the most widely read books by Christians, but it is commonly quoted by non-Christians as well. Psalms are scattered throughout the lyrics of some of our favorite songs, and are routinely recited at weddings and funerals.  Jesus himself frequently weaves words from Psalms into his teaching and dialogue. Each Psalm is a divinely inspired response from people to God, expressing a wide range of emotions. So, let me invite you to journey with me through one of the chapters to help us set our course for 2015.

Let’s start at the very beginning: Psalm ONE.

[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;

[2] but 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.

[4] The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

[5] Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;

[6] for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish. (Psalm 1 ESV)

Focus on Psalm 1:1 for a moment.  The book hits the ground running with some profound words.  Blessing (to be highly favored by divine grace) is presented with three warnings:

  1. Who are you listening to? The Psalm writer says a person is blessed when he or she does not walk “in the counsel of the wicked.” Stop and think. What counsel are you listening to that affects how you spend your day, your time, your resources? Say, Pinterest? Maybe Facebook? If you are like me, I am constantly having to shut off the voices of American consumerism. To reach revenue targets, businesses spend millions in advertising trying to bring discontentment to you and me in order to create interest in …body image …business success …possessions …achievements – fill in the blank.  Are your goals for 2015 shaped by these voices? Maybe its other unhealthy chatter you need to stop listening to. In either case, the writer of this Psalm is warning us to be mindful of the source of counsel that shapes our walk.
  2. Who are you surrounding yourself with?  The second warning immediately follows the first. The psalmist says, one is blessed when we do not “stand in the way of sinners.” The action of standing in the way is not like a basketball strategy to form a wall to block a shot. Instead, it means that one is following a path (or lifestyle) of poor behavior.  A friend of mine in life group often reminds her son, “Boy, you hang around dogs, you’ll get fleas.” Yes, who and what you surround yourself with affects your thoughts, emotions, decisions. I’m not saying to keep yourself in a holy bubble – we are to be light in a dark world. The Psalm writer is expressing the fact that saturating yourself in a repeated lifestyle that looks to glorify someone or something other than God leads to misery, not blessedness.
  3. What are you doing that needs to stop?  Look at the third warning…”nor sits in the seat of scoffers.” People who are sitting stay a while; they’re committed to their company.  To sit with scoffers (those who outright stand against God) is the end result of first listening to ungodly counsel.  You join someone who – by their own volition – chooses not to believe in God or the Bible. In addition, they ridicule those who do follow God. The Bible warns us to be careful who we abide with. Proverbs 13:20 says, “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm” (ESV). Perhaps you are not sitting with scoffers, but maybe you are doing something to hinder your faith rather than to re-new it.

Take a minute to evaluate what are you listening to, who are you surrounding yourself with, and what are you doing that needs to change.

As you reflect, don’t think that I’m leaving you saddled with problems you weren’t thinking about a few minutes ago. Continue again to verse two. [Blessed is the man whose] “delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.”  Saturating your life with God’s Word brings refreshment, joy, strength, peace, and closeness with our Lord. Rather than the voices of the world shaping 2015, let’s meditate on God’s word together. How? Glad you asked.

Here are a few practical next steps for Chets Women:

  1. Participate in the If:Gathering – On March 6-7, watch powerful speakers and testimonies in the comfort of a family room setting with other Chets Women. We like to call it a stay-at-home retreat where you can grow closer to God with your LifeGroup ladies, friends, and/or ministry teams. This two-day event will lead and challenge us to grow and join God where He is moving in the lives of women all over the globe. Interested in hosting or want to learn more? Join us for a quick info meeting after church this Sunday on January 25th (room 219).
  2. Join a Bible Study – Studies kick off February 2nd and are offered on Monday nights, Tuesday mornings and Wednesday evenings (through Life U) – all with free childcare. Dive into a topic or a book of the bible with other women and be prepared to leave changed for the good. For a list of studies and to register, click here: http://hodges.chetscreek.com/women/bible-studies
  3. Join a weekly prayer gathering – Praying Fit, Praying Moms, and Prayer Team Gatherings are starting the first week of February. We are zeroing in and taking aim; praying to bring change in our families, marriages, workplaces, and ministry. If you have a passion for prayer and love to connect with others, we need you. Learn more: http://hodges.chetscreek.com/women/bible-studies
  4. Start a discipleship triad – Growing in your relationship with God takes commitment, but it also takes encouragement. When three women gather each week to dig into God’s word using discipleship tools, transformation takes place. To learn more visit http://chetscreek.com/women/transform/ or participate in the How to Start a Discipleship Triad class on Monday nights OR Tuesday mornings starting February 2nd and 3rd.

So, are you needing wise counsel or some spiritual friends to help you pay attention to God? Get involved in the many of the ways Chets Women “meditate on the law of the Lord.” We are praying for you…and we’ll save you a seat near the stream of living water.


{This post was written by Susan Freese. Susan is married to her college sweetheart, Brett, and they have two perpetually joyful little men. In 2006, she left her corporate career to answer the call to serve in the women’s ministry through Chets Creek Church. She also co-founded All In Ministries International to serve women across the world. Susan is passionate to see women know Christ and be changed by Him in a way that will change the world.}

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