God Delights in Those Who Delight in Him
1 Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.
The author of this Psalm uses poetry to indicate that there a three-fold process to spiritual failure when we begin to engage in sin. These steps will eventually derail any Christian from their walk with God. But the Psalmist also gives us hope with a promise.
Walking the Walk
The first step in spiritual decline in walking with God is to begin to walk in step with the wicked. When sin begins to creep into our lives, we veer off the path of righteousness. The enemy is crafty – they know that if it is a sudden move, people will recognize it and turn from it. Most people don’t wake up in the morning in agreement with the thought, “You know, I think I’ll just go out and rob a bank and kill everyone there. It’ll be a load of laughs!” But when it is slow and gradual, most people won’t even realize it is happening. We begin to walk in step with the wicked. Rather than fighting the flow of the world, we begin to turn and walk with it.
This is not to say that we don’t engage with unrepentant sinners – Jesus came to seek and save the lost! However, we must be sure that when we do so, we don’t start doing the things that they do that we know are contrary to the Word of God. We engage in humble, compassionate righteousness. We don’t do what they do to be accepted by them. We show them God’s way – a better way.
After we walk with the world, it invites us to stop for a moment to smell the roses. This second, and even more dangerous step, gives us the opportunity to pause and reflect and enjoy the momentary pleasure (or false relief) that sin provides. We are no longer walking but stationary in what we are doing. We aren’t growing anymore, but rather have halted ourselves or have been halted by our circumstances. And that’s when it becomes even more dangerous.
After we have stood and participated, we are now in a sitting position. We have fully embraced sin, and no longer even desire to move. Sin has grabbed us and we have fallen for it hook, line, and sinker. We don’t desire to stand up anymore; we are firmly rooted in our position, and may not even care. The world, the flesh, and the devil have effectively ensnared us into despair or enslavement to desire, and we do not even think we can get up (or perhaps even want to get up).
The Psalmist tells us that to avoid all of this, we need to delight in the Word of the Living God. Delighting in the Word of God is:
- Reading the Word
- Praying over the Word
- Meditating over the Word (filling our mind with the Word of God, and thinking carefully about it with the deliberate intention of understanding its meaning and application in all aspects of our lives)
- Living the Word.
When we desire the Word of God more than life itself, the desire to walk, stand, or even sit with the ways of wickedness is overshadowed by the peace that transcends all understanding, and that guards our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus as we strive towards God.
When we delight in the Word of God, we become rooted like a tree. The roots grow deep into the Earth, and being so close to the source of Living Water, the tree flourishes regardless of the conditions around it. And as we flourish, we will bear fruit for God in Gods timing (in season). We are also called “oaks of righteousness.” The connotation here is that it is a sturdy, substantial tree that will not be easily moved or swayed from its convictions. And if God declares it to be so, it must be so; for God cannot lie.
As we become firmly rooted in the Word of God, the Psalmist indicates that we will prosper. The Word of God is not a prosperity gospel – God is not a cosmic vending machine where you put in a prayer and out pops a blessing. Rather, the prosperity is spiritual prosperity – experientially knowing the character of God. We participate in His holy, perfect character, and in doing so, God is able to use us and draw even closer to us. He will provide for our every need. We need not worry, for God is sovereign over everything that He has created. And that is promise that you can take to the bank :).
A Qualifying Question
So let’s ask ourselves a question: Are we walking, standing, sitting, or delighting?
A short prayer of preparation:
Father in Heaven, I thank You for Your Word. Thank You for revealing Yourself through it to me. Father, guide my heart and my mind as I read Your Word that it would transform my mind to be more in alignment with Yours. Help me to better understand and apply what You teach me in the Word so that I will be a doer of the Word and not just a hearer of it. Forgive me of all my sin, Lord God. Help me to turn from those things that so easily entangle me. Father, I do not want to walk, stand, or sit in wickedness; help me to turn from any wickedness that I cherish in my heart and help me to walk in Your ways. Guard my heart with Your peace as I suffer the consequences of sin so that I may continue to walk steadfast in righteousness, even and especially when it causes me great pain and loss. Change is always painful, but discipline will produce a harvest of righteousness. Help me to see the light at the end of the tunnel so that I will not faint along the way. This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.