Psalm 1 — An Invitation to Read the Psalms — Reading the Psalms

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1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor standeth in the way of sinners,
Nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful
2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD;
And in his law doth he meditate day and night
3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the streams of water,
That bringeth forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also doth not wither;
And whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
4 The wicked are not so;
But are like the chaff which the wind driveth away
5 Therefore the wicked shall not stand in the judgement,
Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous
6 For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous:
But the way of the wicked shall perish.

Here we are reading the first psalm again. Why do you think this is the first and opening psalm?What strikes you about it? What do you find interesting?

I think this psalm is an excellent opening to the whole collection of 150 psalms. It translates well into English, sounding and moving very much like a regular poem today – not sounding centuries old. It drives forward with its repetitive ideas: “walketh not … nor standeth … nor sitteth …” The psalm ends with a similar movement “the wicked shall not stand …”

It also brings forth an easily relatable idea in easily understood symbols. One ought to plant oneself in God’s wise words, just like a tree by the waters. To move our heart and mind closer and closer to iniquity and selfish practices leads our tree to be weak, dry and driven like chaff before the wind.

Standing before God is the ultimate end of us all, and to stand with the strength of a firm tree is greatly desired. Thus, this psalm invites us to read through the rest of the psalms to get a firm footing, deeply grounded roots and a lifetime’s supply of living water. To ignore this simple psalm – and the book as a whole – is to be blown away in the end.

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