Psalm 1 is one of the lectionary readings this week. I am only going to tackle the first few verses in my discussion. The entire Psalm is printed below from the New Oxford Annotated Bible:
Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path that sinners tread, or sit in the seat of scoffers; but their delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law they meditate day and night. They are like trees planted by the streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. In all they do, they prosper.
The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.
“Happy is the first word of this Psalm, and the word “happy” is found over twenty times in the Psalter. Today, we are consumed with personal happiness. Not that this goal is undesired, but we are constantly being bombarded. From classes being offered at universities on happiness to a plethora of self-help books promising the answer to attain happiness in life, we are a nation consumed with this goal.
The Psalm we’re looking at tells us something different about attaining happiness. It says that happiness does not come through our own personal desires and wishes, but rather through the will of God for us.
The Psalm talks about the “righteous” – this is a term used for God’s people. Are you part of the righteous? Do you “meditate day and night” on the “law of the Lord”? The term “law”, in this context, “means teaching or instruction; and in the broadest sense, it suggests God’s will” (J. Clinton McCann). In Psalm 1, happiness is shown to be a progressive process that requires constant meditation to determine what God wants us to do. Happiness is attained through this union with the Lord.
Lord, help us ever to grow in your Way so we may find true happiness, and be your righteous ones. Help us know the true happiness that comes from your ever-present love. Please assist us in becoming more able to know and follow your desires and will for our life. Thank you for your ever-present guidance. Amen.