What Is There To Love About God (Part Six)

Psalm 1 provides another answer to the question, “What is there to love about God?” This psalm encapsulates a reassuring theme common to other psalms and much of the teaching of the Bible. What is that reassuring idea? Obeying God’s word brings us the best life has to offer. The opposite is also true, disobeying God’s word will ultimately bring ruin and loss.

God has created us as moral beings who can choose to obey or disobey His instructions or Law. His Law is a loving gift to teach us how to get the best out of life. Now, here’s the issue. God is good and His Law is good but we are sinners who want to go our way, to do our own thing. Our option is to trust God to save us from ourselves and commit to living by His teachings or to play god and see where that takes us.

Let me make one thing very clear, we are not saved or forgiven by attempting to follow God’s instructions. We are saved by putting our trust in the death and resurrection of Jesus to take our sins away. Our saving trust in God produces a desire to do His will because doing that is good for us. This psalm is about the blessings or benefits that come to us when obedience to His word is the priority of our lives. It also warns us of the uselessness and loss that come to those who choose the other way of life.

Is this the choice Jesus was talking about in Matthew 7:13-14?

“Enter by the narrow gate, for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many enter by it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life and few find it.” 

What is there to love about God? He has allowed us to live the best life possible here on earth! Now, let’s look at what Psalm 1 tells us about God’s way of doing this.

Psalm 1:1-6

“How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, stand in the path of sinners, or sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season, and its leaf does not wither. He prospers in whatever he does. 

The wicked are not so but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore, the wicked will not stand in the judgment, or sinners in the assembly of the righteous. 

The Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way  of the wicked will perish.”  

There is a particular idea in this psalm I want to call to your attention. The central message of the psalm is the stark contrast between the righteous person who lives according to the Law and the person who ignores or outright rejects it. Their lifestyles and their respective outcomes are vastly different. The righteous has the stability of a tree firmly planted by a water source while the “sinner’s” life comes to a destructive and worthless end, like “chaff” that the wind drives away. One lifestyle is greatly blessed while the other ends in complete ruin.

The key word or idea as to why this is so is “delight.” The sinner has his counsel, and his mind about how he will live. He has chosen a way contrary to God’s teachings, and when he becomes sold out to sin he becomes a critic, a person scornful of the things of God. The sinner finds sin delightful and if he persists long enough he may even take delight in pure evil.

The person who gets the overwhelming blessings of God makes a different choice in what delights him or her. “But his delight is in the law of the Law of the Lord of the Lord, and His Law  he meditates day and night.” 

I’ve been thinking lately about the things that “delight” me. We don’t use the word delight much nowadays but other words have a similar meaning; satisfaction or enjoy, for example.

Yesterday I had a deeply satisfying conversation with my twenty-three-year-old granddaughter. I have adored, loved, prayed for, watched her struggle with cystic fibrosis, play sports, and endure all kinds of challenges. She’s about to wrap up her senior year in college and take on the world. She has a deep faith in God and delights in that relationship. In that conversation, I found myself deeply satisfied and excited as I witnessed the work of God that has grown her into a young adult who has her head on straight and her heart in love with the Lord. That was a “delightful” experience, one that will linger for a long, long time.

What kinds of things delight you? The things that delight us tell the truth about who we are. What deeply satisfies you? Take a moment and think about the people, experiences, and memories that have brought you great satisfaction. What do you like to do that gives you a sense of purpose and fulfillment?

I hope the psalmist is writing about you as he describes the life of a person who has found great satisfaction in loving and obeying the Law of the Lord. What is he saying about those of us who “delight” in the Law of God?

“How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, stand in the path of sinners, or sit in the seat of scoffers!” First, we choose a lifestyle that is markedly different from those who proudly live outside the will of God. We do not walk in their way of life, we choose a different way to live. Our life is guided by biblical values and standards of conduct. We consider obedience to God’s Law a serious matter, we do not scoff or talk against it or those who seek to honor it.

Much to the contrary, we delight in it and think about God’s will and way throughout our day. Obeying God, and doing His will is our highest priority. What happens to us when we do this? He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season, and its leaf does not wither. He prospers in whatever he does. Stability, fruitfulness, and prosperity in the things that matter most are within our choice. The best of life comes to us when we obey our loving Heavenly Father.

As a final thought on this, read Jesus’ parable of the two builders in Matthew 7: 24-28.

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