This post is number 2 in a series of short pieces about the Psalms. Photo by Alabaster Co on Unsplash

No to the bad gang; yes to the Lord

Click here to read: Psalm 1

Have you been to a music concert? One with singing? The first song needs to be special so the audience knows, straight away, why they’ve come. Psalm 1 is like that. It says, ‘here’s why you need to hear these 150 psalms!’

So why do we need to hear them? Let’s start with Israel, the people in the story. Why did they need to hear them? It was because they did not obey God but, instead, listened to the ideas of other nations and their fake gods. Anybody who didn’t like doing this would soon feel like he ought to try anyway because everyone else was doing it. He would become like a boy who gets in with a bad gang of friends who lead him to do what’s wrong and then laugh about it. And they carry on doing this, getting worse and worse.

Psalm 1 was a song to help people escape that danger. It starts with the word blessed – a word which means ‘happy life’. The Psalm then sings out that to have a happy life, you have to say “no” to the bad gang. What will help you do that? Thinking often, throughout each day, about God’s story and God’s commands, in the Bible. The psalms especially help with that because songs are easier to remember. You can sing along to them almost anywhere.

Notice that the psalm calls God the ‘LORD’. To the Israelites who used the Hebrew languages, this would have sounded a bit like ‘Yahvay’. The name has a meaning: God never changes. You can rely on God. You can always trust whatever he says. That’s why his words give blessing.

So what’s this happy life like? Psalm 1 firstly pictures it and then explains what it means. It says to think of it as a tree which grows strong and full of fruit, which any farmer would love to have. But that if you go with the bad gang, you end up like the bits of a farmer’s field which are no use to anyone and just get blown away or burned up.

That’s the picture. What does it mean in real life? Well, just as the farmer judges what is good on the farm and what is not, so the LORD judges every single one of us. He carefully looks at each person’s life and decides what to do with us on the basis of how we are living.

The bad gang produce nothing good, so the LORD takes everything from them and sends them away from him. They end up with nothing nice around them at all. Imagine that! Very, very unhappy.

But the people who listen to the LORD and obey him produce good. He gives to them an even better life and brings them closer to him. They end up with only what’s nice around them. Imagine that! Very, very happy.

Then the song ends. It’s so short. But that’s because it has to get everyone’s attention really quickly. So it simply says “There are two ways to live. Which one do you want?” It says the same to you. Later, the Bible call Jesus ‘Lord’. He is actually the one spoke about in Psalm 1. In his life and words you are offered the two ways to live. Listen to him and be blessed.

The Psalms – Number 1
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