I’m currently looking at Proverbs, which is the focus of the current issue of Every Day with Jesus, see my other blog.
At the same time I’ve been looking at the Psalms – for me, an inspiring collection of writings. A lot of my source material, has as its genesis, the books by Charles H. Spurgeon, ‘The Treasury of David’.
Here are my early thoughts; which I will edit over time – starting with Psalm 1.
Psalms as poetic praises to God, sometimes in the form of prayers. They are a collection of similar writings by different authors (many by David) and were compiled over centuries. At some stage, they were divided into five books: Psalms 1 to 41 (characterised by the frequent use of the word ‘Yahweh’); Psalms 42-72 (frequent use of the word ‘Elohim’); Psalms 73-89; Psalms 90-106 and Psalms 107-150.
There is some evidence that there were early reviews of the Psalms with possible deletion of very similar Psalms; prior to the collection of Psalms in either the Hebrew or Septuagint texts. It’s widely accepted that Psalms 1 and 2 form an introduction; likewise Psalms 146 to 150 present a conclusion.
Psalm 1 along with Psalm 2 sets the framework for many of the Psalms. The principles contained in these verses are important and are worth committing to memory. The person whose joy is found in following Jesus; and, who constantly thinks about their salvation will develop a growing sense of joy, and enjoy a foretaste of the eternal peace they will experience with God in heaven. A second point is that those who don’t seek a relationship with God – actually don’t stay stationary but move further away from God over time. It appears that our natural inclination is to constantly move away from the light into a deeper shade of darkness. Over time, our acceptance of sin as being the natural way of life, becomes an acknowledged fact to our hardened mind.
Listen to the progress of sinful pride in Psalm 1. First, we are part of a crowd who are ungodly – we enjoy the company of those who avoid God. Second stage: we start to agree with, and do the same things as, those who avoid following God’s commandments. The third stage is when we start to set the standards and our life style becomes an emblem of success for those who follow in our evil footsteps. We become a trend-setter, a teacher of those who want to avoid God’s influence. Now, we have reached the pinnacle of rebellion – we trumpet our knowledge of the ‘real world’ and we triumphantly scorn God’s children as followers of mindless myths.
In summary, it’s a natural progression from walking in the company of the thoughtless, who forget God – to someone who soon accept the habits of the wicked as something natural and normal – everyone, is doing ‘it’. Finally, they become wise in using the human frailty of others to further their own goals – to become successful survivors in a tough world. Scorn and criticism are the spices of their lives – they actively encourage others to join their ranks – seeking safety in numbers. They entertain the thought that the more people who copy their choices will somehow add weight to their conviction that they are right. It’s a copy of the blueprint that Satan has been following for centuries.
PSALM 1 (NIV).
“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does 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 will perish.”
I’ve tried to echo my feelings in reading this Psalm, in similar poetic language.
I was dreaming while awake of when the earth was found,
it was good, and the perfume of flowers and ripe fruit, filled sight and sound.
At this time the wicked showed me a body of lust
and promised I could have her until the world became dust.
My Lord showed me His wounded hands of love.
He told me of tomorrow, and of past rainbows and doves.
I felt the water of His words flow through my body, ending my thirst
like the sound of wind travelling though nerves giving news of life, ending the curse.
Help me dear Lord, my love of my life; please guide, every day, my feet to the safety of solid rock
so that I may withstand the gale that blows away the empty, shallow sounds of those who mock.