Do you have faith like steak? Take a look at the first three verses of the Book of Psalms.
1 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,
2 but whose delight is in the law of the LORD,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
3 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.
I have walked with these verses running through my head for weeks. I have them written down on an index card by my desk. I have committed them to memory. I have, when prompted, recited them aloud or under my breath during the day. I have sought to apply them to as many aspects of my life as possible.
I have found this process to be a lot like marinating a steak. The greater the exposure the stronger the flavor. The best steaks are those that have marinated for many hours, even days. I know an amazing cook who marinates and slow cooks his meat over many days and the flavor is unbelievable. Overtime the flavor has time to penetrate the deepest parts of the meat. I am hungry just thinking about it!
After marinating in the words of the Psalmist, the flavor of the text has really been brought to the surface. Here is a taste of what I have learned.
First, the psalmist says what not to do. Don’t you wish there were more people in your life who would say, “hey, here are the landminds to avoid. I will save you the trouble of having to learn it all by yourself.” Wouldn’t it be great if we had more people in our lives who would say, “I will show you the ropes.” This is what’s happening here.
Notice: walk, stand and sit. The psalmist is showing a progression toward the way of sin in our life. “Do not walk in step with the wicked” suggests a movement toward worldliness. This may mean taking on similar rhythms or behaviors that lead to sin. Next, he says, “Do not stand in the way sinners take.” See the shift? It is from moving toward a sinful way of life, to being fixed in that way. Rhythms become habits. And behaviors become priorities. Then, “or sit in the company of mockers.” Finally, the person takes up residence in this path of sin that openly mocks or scorns God. The Psalmist challenges us to consider where our lives are moving and to be alert to the easy road progression away from God.
What rhythms may you be adopting that reflect the strategies of the wicked? Do you find yourself lingering more than you ought in arenas that will tempt you toward sin? Who have you allowed to be your advisors? Are they speaking words of truth into your life?
Ok. To the positive side of the text. There is a “but.” This is what God wants you to do. This is what God wants you to be. This is what God wants you to devote yourself to.
Here it is. Be someone:
“whose delight is in the law of the Lord” and “who meditates on his law day and night.”
Two things about God’s word. Delight in it and meditate on it. What do you take delight in? Well, we delight in what we choose to delight in. What do you choose to bring you joy? God says, “choose to take joy in God’s ways because they are so good.” And then he says “meditate” — marinate. Live with his word.
Ok. We skipped over one word completely. “Blessed.” If you avoid the slippery slope progression. If you delight in God’s word and you meditate on it throughout your day then you are “blessed.”
Blessed means–whole in God. Complete. I don’t know about you, but that is my longing. To be completely who God made me to be without need for fear or worry.
He closes verse three with a picture of the “blessed life.” It is the picture of what God wants for your life. A life that flourishes.
“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.”
If you are like me you picture a large green tree next too a lush grassy river bank. That would be the right picture if the people of Israel were from the midwest. But they were from the desert. Think oasis. Surrounded by desert. Though the climate is harsh and difficult, though some seasons the water is scarce, God will help you to bear fruit at just the right time and will not let you wither or burn out.
What a cool God we have! It is this God who calls you to serve him. It is this God who will walk alongside of you as you live for his kingdom.
There is so much more in these three verses, but now its time for you to do some marinating of your own. It is one thing for someone to tell you how good a steak tastes and completely another to taste it for yourself. So, take these three verses with you this week and soak in them. Let them flavor your comings and goings.
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