1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, 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 rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.
5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
6 For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.
On Meditating the Law of the Lord: Psalm 1
Originally written in Hebrew, Psalm 1 is a beautiful, short poem
that has come down to us from very ancient times. It is an
observation of life based on the poet's own experience. It states
that those who follow an ungodly path in life end up in destruction,
and those who follow a godly path will have a fruitful life.
Using certain metaphors, the poet draws a few pictures, with which
s/he communicates directly with the subconscious mind of the
reader/listener. Life is pictured as a journey here. One can either
walk following the counsel of the wicked, or be in the way that the
Lord knows. One who follows a godly life is further compared to a
tree planted by a stream of water, but one who follows an ungodly
life is compared to chaff, which the wind drives away.
Making an attempt to read in between lines, we can derive a few
implied ideas. Some people find delight in the law of the Lord, and
meditate it day and night; whereas some others find delight in the
counsel of the wicked people. The law of the Lord, to humans, is
like water to trees. Therefore, one who meditates the law of the
Lord day and night will be like a tree which has a constant supply
By "the law of the Lord" the poet is probably referring to the Holy
Scriptures of their religion. A holy book is actually a collection
of literary works from the past that reflects life truthfully, and
not the kind of literary works made solely for the purpose of
enjoyment. Such true and great literature later becomes the seed of
a succeeding civilization built up by a later generation, and might
be elevated to be the "Holy Scriptures" of that civilization. They
find meaning, inspiration, instruction and guidance in their Holy
Scriptures. Being the accumulated experiences of their forefathers,
the Holy Scriptures serve as storehouses of immense wisdom. No
wonder our poet here thinks that one who meditates the law of the
Lord day and night will have a fruitful life.
We humans learn primarily from experiences. If I am determined to
learn only from my own personal experiences, I will be a very slow
and unsuccessful learner. On the other hand, if I am willing to
learn from the experiences of others as well, I will learn much
faster. In the "Holy Scriptures" I see how our forefathers
experienced life. There I see the accumulated wisdom which I can
never acquire from my own personal experiences even if I live for a
thousand years. Therefore, if I am willing to meditate the Holy
Scriptures, I will be a super-fast learner.
There is no doubt that one finds the Holy Scriptures of one's own
community and culture much more comfortable than that of the
others. It is a part of one's culture just like one's native
language. If you are a Christian, you will feel more comfortable
with the Bible, and you will greatly benefit from meditating the
Bible day and night. At the same time, if you happen to see a
Koran, you should treat it with respect. It is true that you do not
understand it, and it is like a foreign language to you. But you
should remember that it serves as a light to millions of people
around the globe.
In fact you do not have to limit yourself to what is accepted as
Holy Scriptures in your community. Anything that uplifts you,
inspires you, encourages you, and motivates you becomes Holy
Scriptures for you. Similarly, reading something as a daily ritual
will not help at all. You need to find delight in reading it.