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Psalm 1: A meditation

Psalm 1 (KJV)

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 of water.

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.

See Also:

God is Our Refuge --- Psalm 46 - A Meditation

A Sacrifice of Thanksgiving: A Meditation on Psalm 50

The dishonesty of denying God's existence: A Meditation on Psalm 53

God Our Protector (Based on Psalm 91)

A Meditation of Psalm 103

A Meditation of Psalm 104

A Meditation of Psalms 105 and 106

Thanksgiving Psalm: Psalm 135

Hymn of a Grateful Heart: Psalm 137

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