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!
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so,
But they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
For the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
But the way of the wicked will perish. (Psalms 1:1-6)
Several years ago, I spent the days of my journey through the Holy Land reflecting on these verses of Psalm 1. Standing near an olive tree, I asked God to help me yield fruit for the sake of others. As I watched wind-blown tall grasses from the tour bus, I realized I too could be swayed by the culture back home.
The metaphors of Psalm 1 remind me how easily my humanity can get in the way of my spiritual life. I long to meditate on Scriptures day and night, but excuse myself from nighttime prayers because I am too tired. There are times when I stand or sit too long in discouragement rather than in the encouragement of the God’s word.
Ash Wednesday invites us to take an honest look at the metaphors of our lives, and then to choose to give up what most sways us. But more importantly, we humbly ask for the grace to be more firmly planted in the very dust of the ground we have come from and will return to one day (Genesis 3:19). Apart from God’s grace we will find ourselves perishing in our own human attempts.
Today is the beginning of our journey through Lent. May we be blessed daily by grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 13:14).