“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the Law of the LORD, and on His Law he meditates day and night.” (Psalm 1:1-2, ESV)
There is no question that the blessed one, the happy one, the one of God delights and meditates on God and His Law, day and night. And I am willing to bet you have felt this tug at least once in your Christian life: to meditate, pray, dwell on God’s Word, for in it you are promised life. But the entirety of God’s Word – His history, promise and hope – the whole story directs your meditation. And yet, this is where many of us redirect our focus.
Quite often, we may begin in the proper place: experiencing the Law of God, the way in which the righteous should live. We are enlightened to the beauty and perfection of His glorious ways. We long for inclusion and search eagerly to be called His holy and blessed ones. But during this meditation we may discover our unfinished prayers, our shameful failings, our less than perfect ways. We start to realize how much our decisions have been selfish, how we have strayed from the path, and what it means to be in need of a Savior.
Here is where our meditation takes a fatal turn. Instead of plunging down deep into our hopeless abyss, instead of exposing the truth of our mindboggling death and the true source of life, we might find a sneaky escape from it all. A side door when the dark is too depressing. A quick solution we imagine having control over right now. We focus on a practical answer which will help us delight in the Law of the Lord. We foolishly believe keeping the Law of God has the power to save.
Blessed is the man, after all, who does the right thing. Blessed is the man who can love the Lord with his heart, soul, and mind. Blessed is the man who can do what is required by God. This is all true. But do not make the mistake to think this Word of God is focusing us on what we should do.
For by works of the Law no human being will be justified in His sight, since through the Law comes knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the Law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it – the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.” (Romans 3:20-22, ESV)
So, while our meditations may convict us of the truth, it is not enough to leave us with only the knowledge of our sin. We know God’s Word and Will and Law are holy, and we love and desire it. But we cannot do it. Even if we could meditate day and night, our own righteousness is incomplete no matter how many devoted mornings we try. Our meditation is searching for the righteousness of God but focusing on keeping the Law does not have the power to save us! Our hands do not have the ability to solve the problem of sin.
“Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:24-25, ESV)
Thanks be to God our focus is on the blessed One, the happy One, the One of God, Jesus. He meditated on God’s perfect Holy Word, day and night. It is Jesus who devoted His life, His death, His glory to God Almighty. It is not enough to devote your own life and will to God Almighty. It is God’s beloved Son, Jesus, who walks not in the council of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers. It is the righteous Savior of the world who delights and accomplishes and fulfills every last bit of God’s Law. Left up to focus on your own devotion, it is never done.
The Word of God, who is Christ alone, is the focus of our meditation. He is the very breath which allows us to even speak of such things. His word of life is the most precious treasure we have, especially in comparison to all other words that exist. God’s Word, made flesh in Jesus, swallows everything we could say about ourselves and this world. His history and promise and hope are the only Word that endures. Do not waste your time meditating on something more you must do, something deeper you must pray, something incomplete for you to finish. It is already done.