Monday Morning Devotion (Stay Away from Sin)

(1) Blessed are those who don’t walk in the counsel of evildoers,
and don’t stand in the path of sinners,
And don’t live where mockers live.
(2) Instead they delight is in the instruction of YHWH,
and in his instruction they meditate day and night.
(3) Such people will be like trees, planted by streams of water,
that give their fruit in season,
whose leaves don’t wither,
and whose every action prospers.
(4)Evildoers are not like this,
but are like the chaff, that the wind drives away.
(5) Because of this evildoers will not rise up in judgment,
Nor sinners in the council of the righteous ones.
(6) Because YHWH knows the way of the righteous folks,
but the way of the wicked will perish. — Psalm 1

Yes, that’s Psalm 1 at the top again.

Friday, we talked about acknowledging God in everything, and this automatically makes every good thing in our lives part of meditating on God and his ways. Yes, God is there when you have fun as well as when you struggle with serious challenges. He’s there in your child’s baseball games and algebra tests. He’s there when you’re in church, and he’s there when you’re arguing with your banker about that loan you need.

Frankly, it’s easy to meditate on God and his ways once you’ve acknowledged his presence everywhere at all times.

But there’s a “don’t” in this Psalm as well. Don’t follow the counsel of evildoers, don’t stand in the path of sinners, don’t live where mockers live. Part of this is simply running away from temptation. We really have a hard time with this. We want to get as close as possible to sin. That’s a very dangerous plan, but it’s a very human one. We truly like to wish for things, even things we know we cannot and should not have.

But let me take this a step further. When you think about others do you think primarily about their good points and how you can encourage them, or about their bad points and how you can correct them? If your answer is “primarily about their good points” does that apply to your children? (Got some of you there, didn’t I?) When you pray, do you primarily rebuke evil or do you primarily praise and thank God and speak blessings? Would you prefer to go into the inner city and rebuke them for addictions and sinful behavior, or would you rather go love them and provide a good example of a life dedicated to Jesus?

Now I’m the last person to challenge rebuke. I think there’s an important place in the church for rebuke and correction. But rebuke and correction works best amongst friends, members of the same family. Even there it needs to occur only in the appropriate place.

When we put our focus on evil, even if only to rebuke and challenge it, we’re already taking a step away from where we’re supposed to be. We’re supposed to be planted by the living waters, taking up God’s life and bearing fruit. If that is happening, the need for other things will grow less and less.

Let’s determine in the coming week to put our focus on God and the good things he has done and will do.

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