Monday Encouragement

Encouragement from the Psalms

Book One: Psalm 1

but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night” (1:2)

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

It isn’t any wonder at all that we discover these words in the very first of the 150 Psalms. After all, this is a book of worship for those who are members of the covenant. But don’t be fooled by the designation ‘worship book’ for this inspired collection of corporate songs and prayers that are designed to be employed in formal worship. It is also a book of directions. That is, it contains precepts, commands, exhortations, and divine guidance for living as a worshipper of the one true God and Lord. To put this in twenty-first century terms, it is not just a book for Sundays. It is also for Monday through Saturday!

Certainly, “the law of the Lord” is to govern the corporate worship of the Church each Lord’s Day. “Law” here should be understood as a reference to all of Scripture, not just to the Old Testament Law. God’s inscripturated Word shows us how our Heavenly Father desires to be worshipped and adored by those whom He has saved by the righteousness and blood of His Son. But as we read in the second verse of the Psalm, the believer’s meditation upon God’s Word is to take place “day and night.” This is a way of saying that for us who know the Savior, worship never stops!

Have you ever considered meditation upon the Scriptures as an essential act of worship? I would bet that most of us would assume that worship is primarily composed of praying, singing, hearing the Word, and observing the Sacraments. And to be sure, these are necessary elements of our worship. But here in Psalm 1, the unnamed author shows us that the daily (and nightly!) act of deeply pondering the riches of the Holy Word is essential to the kind of worship that pleases our Holy God, both in its corporate and personal expressions.

Additionally, we see that the act of giving our minds to the discipline of studied reflection upon our Father’s Word is set in contrast to being influenced by the “counsel of the wicked” (v. 1). This clearly implies that “whatever shapes a man’s thinking shapes his life” (Derek Kidner, Psalms 1-72).

We might think of our minds as lumps of wax. Each day, forces all around us are persistently shaping our minds in a multitude of ways, many unperceived. That which goes into our minds inevitably has an effect upon the condition of our souls. And it is also true that many of these powerful, soul-shaping forces are actually invited into our minds as we voluntarily expose ourselves to them throughout the day. The “counsel of the wicked” is ubiquitous in our technologically-driven world.

And while the psalmist penned these words many centuries ago, their practical relevance to our current times is uncanny. Never before in the history of humanity have we been exposed to so many streams of information and “counsel,” and so much of it evil. If there was ever a time for the covenant people to give themselves most diligently to the act of meditation upon our Father’s Word, it is now.

Later on in our Monday studies we will examine Psalm 19. There we will read that God’s Law “is perfect, reviving the soul” (19:7). But in this initial Psalm we first encounter the fact that meditation upon the Word produces profoundly beneficial effects in our lives, a ‘revival,’ if you will.

We are filled with joy and happiness–“Blessed is the man” (v. 1).

We discover strength and stability–“like a tree” (v. 3).

We become spiritually prosperous–“that yields its fruit” (v. 3).

And we are enabled to enjoy more and more of God’s gracious favor–“the Lord knows the way of the righteous” (v. 6).

Finally, it is apparent that there is a choice that we must make, perhaps daily, perhaps even hour-by-hour. The “law of the Lord” and the “counsel of the wicked” are in perpetual opposition. It’s one or the other. Each of us must make a deliberate choice to find our soul’s true “delight” in God’s Word.

What that will look like in practical terms for each of us will involve different changes and alterations in our lives. It will not be easy to distance ourselves from the voices of the “scoffers” (v. 1). But it is essential that we do so if we are to enjoy the incomprehensibly rich benefits of having our minds controlled and shaped by the very breath of our Holy God.

My prayer for all of us today is that we will learn the necessity and incalculable value of meditating upon our Father’s Word. May His Word dwell richly within us! And may our hearts find their true joy and happiness as we do!

I love you all with all my heart,