Delight in God’s Presence in the New Year

Psalm 1 Delight in God's presence

Psalm 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,
but whose delight is in the law of the LORD,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
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.
Not so the wicked!
They are like chaff
that the wind blows away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.

Psalm 1:1-6

What gives you delight? You know, that sense of unparalleled joy, that amazing degree of enjoyment and pleasure, even to the point of rapture. That’s how the dictionary defines delight. But how do you define delight? Is it playing with your children or grandchildren, reading a good book, walking on the beach at sunset or working on scrapbook pages? Maybe you delight in running through rain-washed streets in the early morning or hiking in the mountains on a sunny autumn day. Maybe your delight is playing games or listening to music.

The psalmist defines delight as immersing oneself in the law of the Lord. He sings of the person who finds joy in listening to God’s voice in Scripture, who discovers with pleasure “the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God” (Romans 11:33).

This “law of the LORD” refers to all of Scripture. In it God reveals to us his will, his absolute truths, his love for us, and his divine nature. The more we know of the whole scope of God’s Word, the more resources we will have to guide us in our daily decisions.

Meditating on and understanding God’s Word are the first steps toward applying it to your everyday life. “Meditates” means spending time reading, thinking, marking, and reviewing what we have read. It means asking how we must change and grow so we will live as God wants.

And what is the result of this constant delight in God’s Word? One becomes like a tree planted by a river. You’ve seen them—tall, vital trees, well-watered because they are rooted deep in the stream. This tree is resplendent with foliage in rich shades of green. It’s a tree that can withstand biting frost, harsh winds and blazing sun.

The more we delight in God’s presence, the more fruitful we will be. Conversely, the more we allow those who ridicule God and faith to affect our thoughts and attitudes, the more we will be cut off from our source of nourishment. We must engage and welcome unbelievers if we are to witness to them, but we must not adopt their sinful behavior and scornful sarcasm. If you want despair, spend time with cynics and critics; if you want God’s joy, spend time with those who love God, his Word, and his people.

A person who delights in God’s Word will prosper and have integrity, will speak truthfully and exhibit stability and strength. This is the person who will reflect the face of God like a river reflects the sun in dappled waves. This one is truly blessed.

The phrase “whatever they do prospers” does not mean that God’s people have immunity from failure or difficulties. Nor does it guarantee health, wealth, or happiness. What the Bible means by prosperity is this: When we apply God’s wisdom, the fruit – the results or by-products – we bear will be good and will receive God’s approval. Just as a tree soaks up water and bears luscious fruit, we are to soak up God’s Word and produce actions and attitudes that honor him. To achieve anything worthwhile, we must have God’s Word in our hearts.

What joy to know that God is watching the paths we walk each day. We may feel like he keeps his eye on us to criticize us for what we do wrong along the way, but this is not true. God sees us with loving eyes, protecting us, caring for us, and keeping us from stumbling on the journey (Psalm 121:3-5). Look for signs of his care for you today, and bask in the thought that he is guiding and helping you on your daily journey.

Let your imagination soar with the grandeur, majesty, wisdom and unsurpassed love of God. You will see him as a rock, a fortress, a strong tower, a nurturing mother and so much more. He rides on the wind and shows himself in the starry heavens. Delight yourself in singing along with the psalmist and plant your roots deep in the nourishing living water of God’s Word.

Content drawn from the NIV Woman’s Study Bible. and the NIV Life Application Study Bible, Third Edition.

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