“Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.” vss. 5-6
This psalmist lived in a black and white world, rigidly divided between the righteous and the wicked. It’s a way of thinking familiar to us. We love to make distinctions and, while we pay lip service to the notion that all are sinners, in reality that’s not how we think. In our minds there are good and bad people and we have pretty strong convictions about who belongs in each category. It’s natural then that we resonate with the portions of scripture that support that view…and there are plenty to choose from. That was the general position of the religion that Jesus grew up with and he was doubtless familiar with this psalm…which makes the way he lived his life all the more remarkable! He habitually drew the ire of the righteous folks by hanging out with sinners and even eating with them. There’s a lesson in his example for us. Too often we go to scripture to find verses that back up our particular prejudice or world view and forget that we don’t have to believe something just because it’s in the bible. We can study difficult verses like these from Psalm 1 and understand that they reflect a common human belief…and then go on to embrace the Way of Jesus in dealing with the matter of good and bad people.
Thought for the Day: Who are the wicked in our world?