Psalm 1 (NRSV)
1Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path that sinners tread, or sit in the seat of scoffers;
2but their delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law they meditate day and night.
3They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper.
4The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
5Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
6for the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.
Happy are those who do whatever they wish! That’s not how the book of Psalms begins. Instead, its opening invitation is "Happy are those who meditate on the law of the Lord!" That sounds less fun, doesn't it?
Yet, I wonder if the psalmist is really less a fun-hater than a giver of wisdom. Fun and games are great, but they are hardly the central purpose of life. God has given us commands in scripture to show us what is most important: the gifts of life and relationship. How shall we steward these great gifts? We are blessed with the wonderful opportunity to be in relationship with God and our neighbors. God's commands show us how to live with one another so our communities may prosper, not just for some, but for all. Happy indeed are those who are guided by God!
God, we are saved by your saving work alone. Your guidance is a great gift. Today, help us see how we can more faithfully live and love those you have entrusted into our care. Amen.