Happy New Year! This year, we’re going to stay focused in the book of the Psalms. I have not attempted to do expositional work on each psalm. There are excellent books by seasoned scholars for that. My aim has been to provide daily devotionals purposed to challenge, convict, comfort, encourage, and inspire.
The Psalms are real and raw. The writers hold nothing back. There are times of great praise and thanksgiving when the writers seem unable to contain their worship. There are also times of questioning when the pain is unbearable. Through the Psalms our fears, anxieties, and disappointments are countered by God’s strength, peace, and encouragement. In each song, prayer, and lament the psalmist is pouring his heart out to God. The invitation is for us to do the same.
Come with me on a journey through the Psalms. The Father will walk with his children each step of the way; the Shepherd leads us through the varying terrain. God alone stays close to the joyful, sometimes weary, always expectant traveler. The best part of the journey is just ahead and the destination is heaven itself!
Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers. Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.
Someone has said that every person should live a life that demands an explanation. A person whose heart has been transformed by Jesus should demonstrate a refreshing difference that causes people to ask, “What’s up with that?” The book of Psalms begins with contrasting the two paths that a person can take—the path that demands an explanation or the common and crowded path that needs no clarification.
The person on the path that demands an explanation reads and studies the Bible. They don’t forget God’s Word after reading a few verses. In fact, they think about it—meditate over it—throughout the day. They hang out with the right people as well. They don’t take the counsel of those headed in the wrong direction. This results in a grounded life with deep roots that produces good fruit and God’s blessings. God’s eyes are always on them.
Those on the crowded path live lives with no eternal value. They are like chaff, the worthless husks of grain blown away by the wind in the process of winnowing. People on the crowded path may seem to prosper. They may even do good things. But in the end God will separate those who know Him from those who don’t. Those who walk on the path that leads away from God will finally discover that the common, crowded path leads to eternal destruction.
Father, as we begin this journey through the Psalms, show us clearly what path we are on. Help us determine in the depths of our hearts if we have trusted in Jesus alone as the only way to You. Help us exhibit evidence of the new life that You have given. Help us begin this year with the assurance that we belong to You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.