Why Not Try?
Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on God’s law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers. – Psalm 1:1-3 (NIV, adapted)
The Psalms certainly begin boldly, don’t they? Right here in the very first verse of the very first chapter, the God lovers are assured prosperity. And yet, in spite of the author’s assertion that it is the wicked who wither, I can think of any number of the wicked who are, in fact, seemingly quite happy with themselves. I bet you can too.
I mean, maybe the wicked do just naturally prosper. Or maybe the un-wicked could prosper, too. Maybe, as GK Chesterton scolded us nearly a century ago, it’s not that constant delight in God’s presence has “been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried.”
I don’t know about you, but I am easily distracted from delighting in God’s law for even 24 minutes let alone 24 hours. How do we absolutely positively know that we could not become that solid and steady tree, planted by the water? How can we be absolutely, positively certain that if we meditated on God’s law always, that we would not prosper? Might be worth a try.
Holy God, from the beginning we long to assert that, in you, we will prosper. Help us today to follow that longing by turning attention to you and your ways, day and night. Amen.
Rev. Jennifer Garrison (formerly Brownell) is a writer, spiritual director and pastor living in the Pacific Northwest. Her published work most recently appeared in the book The Words of Her Mouth: Psalms for the Struggle, available from The Pilgrim Press.