Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the LORD knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.
It is easy for me to sit with the first Psalm and think on all the ways I do not deserve to be called righteous, to think about all the times that I have felt my leaves withering, feeling like chaff being blown away by the wind. All the times I neglect meditating and living by God's good direction (or law) that is the key to a green leaf and fruit filled life.
Then verse 6 offers me a lifeline, freedom from the constant inward feeling of failure and coming so short of perfection.
“For the Lord KNOWS the way of the righteous.”
This may not seem like a lifeline to you, but this word “knows” offers hope.
Intimacy, the Lord experiences my life, my suffering and pain, my joys and successes with me. This word is linked to Psalm 31:7-8,
“I will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love, because you have seen my affliction, you have KNOWN the distress of my soul, and you have not delivered me into the hands of my enemy; you have set my feet on a broad place.”
This broad place is mentioned in Job 36,
“He delivers the afflicted by their affliction, and opens their ear by adversity. He also allured you out of distress into a broad place where there was no cramping.”
Becoming a tree who always has fruit and whose leaves never wither is a product of my pain of my adversity, not the absence of it. He KNOWS the way of the righteous. This knowing means he is a partaker in my affliction and He uses my affliction to deliver me, to lead me out to a broad place (safe in Him) because of the pain, sometimes a result of the risks I have taken for my Lord and sometimes my own poor choices. He is the river, the refreshment, water of life, where even in my affliction and pain, He allows my leaves to stay green and my tree to bear fruit, to be called righteous. Because of life’s adversity, my ears can hear Him, can know Him as He knows me. He knows me and my ways. As my adversity drives me to find shelter in Him, the intimacy of knowing each other delighting in and being delighted in, only causes me to grow in hope and not focus on my shortcomings.
“The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; He KNOWS those who take refuge in Him.”