Genesis 1, Ezra 1, Psalm 1

Welcome to the first installment of OT18. Read each chapter each day and you’ll read through the Old Testament this year.

Today the schedule calls for us to read Genesis 1, Ezra 1, and Psalm 1. This devotional is mostly about Psalm 1, so read that if you can’t read all three chapters.

God created us to be social creatures. It is natural for us to seek acceptance from others, to try to find a group where we fit in and belong. One way to belong is to do what others are doing. Find a group that seems like they might accept you, do what they do and sooner or later, they will accept you as “one of us.”

People have differing personalities so the desire for acceptance is stronger in some of us than others. But we all want to fit in somewhere. Our happiness is largely determined by the quality of our relationships, so we look for friends in order to be happy.

That desire to fit in can be a positive force for good in our lives, but it can also be destructive. I said above that, “our happiness is largely determined by the quality of our relationships,” but Psalm 1 says that a happy person (that’s what “blessed” means in this context) is one “who does not walk in step with the wicked.”

This statement runs counter to our instincts. If people accept us and offer us friendship, we naturally want to “walk in step” with them. Psalm 1:1 warns us, however, that the happiness we find in acceptance will not last if we find our acceptance with wicked people. Wickedness is always destructive. Ultimately, God will judge the wicked but even before that judgment, the Bible teaches us that wickedness leads us into destructive ways. The feeling of acceptance and safety we find among wicked friends will lead us to do wicked things to “keep in step” with them. Those wicked actions are like seeds buried in the ground; eventually, they will bear fruit in our lives and the fruit of wickedness will always be painful and destructive.

The contrast to those who seek acceptance from the wicked is found in verse 2. The happy person, the “blessed one” (Ps 1:1a) is the person “whose delight is in the law of the Lord.” Because God is eternal and perfect, his word points us to eternal principles that will always be right. They may bring short-term pain but, if we love God and his word, if you are one who “meditates on his law day and night,” you will find stability and fruitfulness in your life (v. 3). Meanwhile, the wicked seeds sown by the wicked will cause them to be blown away (v. 4), rejected in God’s judgment (v. 5). Ultimately, their ways will lead “to destruction.”

I’m glad you’ve subscribed to these devotionals and I hope they are a blessing in your life. My goals for them are (a) to help you be in the Word each day by making it as easy as possible and (b) to help you look at your life through the microscope of God’s word, think about what you see there, and make changes accordingly.

The first thing I want you to consider is, who do you spend your time with? Do you spend your time in God’s word and with his people? Or are you trying to keep in step with wicked people–ungodly friends as school, ungodly co-workers or family members, celebrities, actors, and journalists who care nothing about God? The beginning of a new year is a great opportunity to re-assess your life. Maybe it is time to look at where your time is spend and make some changes for God’s glory and for your own flourishing (v. 3).

I’d love it if we could discuss these readings everyday. If you have a thought or a question about one of the passages we’ve read–even one I didn’t write about–would you consider putting into the comments? Or, repost the day’s reading to your Facebook wall and ask your question or make your comment there. Others may join in and we could actually have a real discussion together about God’s word everyday.

I won’t nag you about this in these devotionals; it’s just a suggestion for you to think about. Thanks for reading and happy new year!

3 thoughts on “Genesis 1, Ezra 1, Psalm 1

  1. Thank you, Pastor, for making these devotionals each day and sharing your thoughts and insights on these passages with us. Looking forward to this year of OT reading, learning, and blessings from God’s Word. Happy New Year.

  2. Hi Brian and Happy New Year!
    I would like to share a few thoughts regarding Psalm 1 if you don’t mind. Like many Psalms, including the very next one Psalm 2, I read this as being more prophetic in nature. The first three verses are talking about Christ. He is the man who does not walk according to the counsel of the wicked but delights in God’s law. He is like a tree planted by streams of water yielding His fruit whose leaf will never wither. A tree very much like the tree we’ll read about in Genesis 2 called the Tree of Life. Christ prospers in all that He does and accomplishes everything He sets Himself to do.
    The last three verses are about us. We are the wicked. We are like chaff blown in the wind. As the prophet says in Isaiah 64:6 "We all fade like a leaf and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away." We will not be able to stand in the day of judgment nor be counted as righteous. However, the Lord knows "the way of the righteous" and that way is Christ. He told His disciples "I am the way" as there is no access to righteousness apart from Him. The way of the wicked, or the way of the flesh, will perish as Paul writes in Romans 6:23 "The wages of sin is death."
    It’s pretty cool to see the gospel presented in the very first Psalm don’t you think? Well, that’s my take on it anyhow. Thanks for doing this!

  3. Thank you, Sara!
    And, Chuck–so great to hear from you. Glad you’re reading along with us and please always feel free to comment.
    I have heard people from time to time suggest that some of the Psalms, besides the ones quoted in the NT, are prophetic of Christ. In fact, I heard one guy say that he thinks ALL of them are, which made me wonder how that worked with Psalm 51!
    Just as Christ is the "end" (fulfillment) of the Law, so I believe that, theologically speaking, he perfectly embodies righteousness as commanded or depicted anywhere in Scripture. In that sense, I can understand and agree with what you wrote. Without a NT text, however, I am cautious about saying that anything is prophetic. Or, at least, that David understood it to be prophetic and wrote with that intent.

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