Glimpses of grace seen in the everyday

Posts tagged ‘Psalm 1’

I Did It My Way

Frank Sinatra’s song “My Way” is the epitome of arrogance.  However, he is not the only one who boasts of refusing to kneel but doing life his own way. 

Take Adam, for example.  God said “Don’t.”  But he did—did it his way.  And the world came crashing down on him.  Paradise lost, pain begun.  A life of hard work, sorrow, bereavement, and death.

And then there’s King Saul.  God said “Wait,” but he did it his way and offered the sacrifice he wasn’t entitled to perform.  Again, God said “wipe out the wicked Amalekites and all their possessions.”   But Saul did it his way, (1 Samuel 15) figuring he knew better than God.  That cost him his kingdom.  From there on, he was a paranoid shell of a man until he committed suicide.

Judas made a pretense of following Jesus but did it his way, helping himself to the contents of the group’s purse that he carried.  And when the opportunity came, he chose to make a name for himself by betraying the Innocent Man and Son of God to death.  What did it get him?  A crushing weight of guilt that drove him to suicide.

What’s the alternative ?  Psalm 1 paints a stark contrast between doing life “my way” or God’s way:

Blessed is the person who does not
follow the advice of wicked people,
take the path of sinners,
or join the company of mockers.

2  Rather, he delights in the teachings of the LORD
and reflects on his teachings day and night.

3  He is like a tree planted beside streams—
a tree that produces fruit in season
and whose leaves do not wither.
He succeeds in everything he does.
 
4  Wicked people are not like that.
Instead, they are like husks that the wind blows away.
5 That is why wicked people will not be able to stand in the judgment
and sinners will not be able to stand where righteous people gather.
6 The LORD knows the way of righteous people,
but the way of wicked people will end.

How Far Can We Go?

Since when is it “cool” and “progressive” to commit and tolerate sin?  Why are those who live within God’s laws viewed as weird?  Why are those who push the limits farther and farther admired and worshipped as heroes? 

To go back to my first question, I think the Garden of Eden would be the answer.  Eve certainly was persuaded that disobeying God would be the cool thing to do.  After all, she must have been so bored with exploring all the delights of paradise that God had provided for her enjoyment, with petting tigers and playing with bears, that there was nothing left to do but the one thing that God had forbidden.  But think of the consequences–not only to her but to all humankind!

Who are some others who defied God and paid dearly for it?

–Noah’s contemporaries: totally evil, corrupt, violent, & depraved. (Gen 6:5-13)  Drowned in a worldwide flood!

–The residents of Sodom & Gomorrah:  “extremely evil,” & “wicked.” (Gen 18:20)  Cremated by a heavenly holocaust!

–The nations of Israel and Judah, first tolerating and then indulging in the disgusting acts of their neighbors such as religious prostitution and child sacrifice. (Does this sound like anything in our culture?)  Finally, after centuries of patient warning and pleading, God had it “up to here,” and cruel nations were allowed to destroy them.

Psalm 1 contrasts the lives and destinies of those who honor God and those who mock Him:

1 Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
or stand around with sinners,
or join in with mockers.
2  But they delight in the law of the LORD,
meditating on it day and night.
3  They are like trees planted along the riverbank,
bearing fruit each season.
Their leaves never wither,
and they prosper in all they do.
4  But not the wicked!
They are like worthless chaff, scattered by the wind.
5  They will be condemned at the time of judgment.
Sinners will have no place among the godly.
6  For the LORD watches over the path of the godly,
but the path of the wicked leads to destruction.  (NLT)

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