The Way of the Righteous and the End of the Ungodly
1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; 2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. 3 He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper. 4 The ungodly are not so, but are like the chaff which the wind drives away. 5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. 6 For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall perish.
Verse 3 is my absolute favorite. It is a perfect refreshment. What a promise!
But…who is the promise for? You see, I’ve believed in Christ for almost 30 years and right now, I sure don’t feel that it’s for me.
But I’ve challenged myself to persevere, so here’s the best I can do, and please forgive me if I get it wrong.
If a man trusts godly counsel, meaning he lives his life based on what godly men say and believe, and doesn’t form his innermost circle with ungodly men, but instead is happy and content with the meditations of Jesus (because at this point, “the law” is not our only means of pleasing God), he shall be greatly blessed.
How shall he be blessed? He will bear fruit because he lives his life fully intent on pleasing God, and because of this, everything he does for God will succeed and thrive.
Verses 4-6 are entirely self-explanatory, so let’s focus today on 1-3.
Do these verses say we should not love and even befriend unbelievers? No, I don’t think so. It means when we have major decisions to make and need counsel, it is not to these we should go. When were are stumbling, it is not to these we should seek to spend time with, because they will cause us to stumble even more.
I once sat down with two women – one a believer and the other not so much. I explained a situation I was having trouble with, and both of them encouraged me to not worry about it. Despite its totally unBiblical nature. Despite its harm to me and my family. Two friends. Two friends I loved. Both way off base.
Friends, it isn’t enough to “believe.” You have to walk it out. Every day, the very best you can. Not because you are following the law, in the sense that striving is how to please God, but in the sense that you take the law that applies today and you live by it.
What parts of the law do not apply today? As believers of Christ, we know that once the veil was torn asunder, the need for blood sacrifice was over. The only way to repentance and forgiveness became going to the Feet of the Father and pleading with Him to forgive us, and knowing that He has without having to slaughter to get it.
Sometimes, unbelievers and Christians are the same thing. We all know baby Christians – some of you are one, like me. Those who desperately needs the father’s milk. Those who desperately want to drop the past like the bad freaking habit it is. Those who can’t quite do it on our bad days. Those who take one giant leap into awesomeness and 10 steps back into sin.
I’m not talking about these people. Well, that’s not entirely true. IF these friends read the Word, and know what it says, and are sincerely trying to follow it, then while I would not rely on their counsel alone, I’m not saying they shouldn’t share their advice with me, or that it would be wrong. I just would need to make sure I seek advice from mature believers.
The bottom line, I think, is this – when we seek after the Lord with all our whole hearts, then He understands what is truly in them. He understands that our sin is something we despise, something we tear at as it pierces our flesh – we want it gone.
If, like me, you find yourself facing this, in this particular season of your life, don’t lose heart. That beautiful, crystal-clear river is YOURS for the taking too! You don’t have to wait. You have it now. Maybe if you believe it, I can believe it too.
If you hang on to Jesus, then one day this affliction of your soul, this time in your life when you feel empty and lonely for the intimacy of God, will seem to you like exactly what He wants it to be – a season of refining, of building patience, of being drawn to God with your mind when your heart isn’t in it. A season of learning that feelings aren’t what we base our decisions on, but choices.