Daily Reflections August 4, 2017
Psalm one opens with the words, “blessed is the man.” These words should immediately grab the reader’s attention. The Psalmist is about to describe the person whom we should all desire to be, so we will want to pay close attention to the description that follows. The description begins with the negative in verse 1. We are told three things that the blessed person does not do.
1. The blessed person does not walk in the counsel of the wicked.
2. The blessed person does not stand in the way of sinners.
3. The blessed person does not sit in the seat of scoffers.
These three negatives all focus on the necessity of separating oneself from the wicked and sinful person. The Bible provides a clear distinction between the righteous and the wicked, and contrary to the desire of many it is impossible to keep one foot in both realms. The Apostle John reminds us of this fact when he writes in 1 John 1:6, “If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practise the truth.”
The second verse of Psalm 1 moves from the negative to the positive. We are now told what the blessed person does. The blessed person delights and meditates day and night on the law of the Lord. We do not often associate delight with law, but this is the proper attitude of the Christian. Once again in 1 John, chapter 5 verse 3 reads:
“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.”
Obedience to God is not an oppressive yoke of slavery, but for the truly saved individual it is the deepest desire of the heart. This becomes more and more true as the Scriptures are read and meditated on. When the goodness of God has been understood and experienced we all become like the Apostles Peter who replied to Jesus with the words, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68).
To strike his message home with even more force the psalmist moves into comparative imagery of both the blessed and wicked person in verses 3-4. The blessed person, we are told, is like a healthy and fruitful tree beside streams of water. In contrast to this, the wicked are like chaff blown away by the wind. The point of the psalmist is clear. We can live a life of fruitful abundance under the lordship of God, or we can stand in the way of sinners and be blown away into nothingness like the useless chaff. These two images could not be more opposite, but so it is between the blessed and the wicked. There is no middle ground. The choice, therefore, is clear. Choose this day to walk in the way of the Lord.
We cannot blame Jeremiah for being bewildered at why he was buying property in the middle of a siege by an enemy that would inevitably conquer the land. Most real estate agents would counsel to sell anything that was going to be immediately devalued, burned, and stolen. Yet God told Jeremiah to make an investment in the land. Jeremiah acted in obedience but understandably went to the Lord in prayer. He begins, as most scriptural prayers do, in exalting praise of God. He has meditated upon who God is and seen what God has done. God has been so good to Israel in delivering them, providing for them, and promising blessing upon blessing. And yet God is just in turning Judah over to the Chaldeans for their rebellion and sin. So why would he tell Jeremiah to purchase land that God was giving to someone else? God tells us some encouraging reasons.
God begins his answer in verse 27 by reminding Jeremiah that nothing is impossible for him. Although it may seem that the land would always remain with the enemy, God is the God of all flesh and therefore can conquer any human power or nation. He is sovereign over kingdoms and he orchestrates their rise and fall according to his divine will.
He continues his answer by giving a promise of future restoration. Nothing is impossible and he will do the impossible. God promises that the exiles from all the lands where they were driven to will be brought back home and enjoy the land in safety. The land that has been given will be theirs. Maybe not in a few days or a year or five years. But God will be faithful to his promise and his people, despite their unfaithfulness. More importantly, God would also restore the people. God’s intention is to have an everlasting covenant where they will be his people and he will be their God, they will have one heart and one way of life, and they will be led to reverence.
The field was a symbol of God’s promise. Jeremiah acted in obedience but would also now see that this was a continual reminder that God can do the impossible even in the face of overwhelming opposition and God will be faithful to his promises.
God commands us as Christians to do many things. Many times, like Jeremiah, these things seem frivolous considering the immediate opposition. The fruit that is requested of us will likely be spoiled and taken advantage of by the world. So we shake our heads and wonder why God has asked us to do these things at all. The same answer that was given to Jeremiah could also be given to us: God can overcome the impossible and God will be faithful to his people. God has been true to his promise to Jeremiah by inaugurating the new covenant in the redeeming work of Jesus. And this gives us much confidence that he will be true to his promise to us as well.
“Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— each one's work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward.” (2 Corinthians 3:12-14 ESV).
Yours in Christ,
Associate Pastor Evan Webster