Posted on March 25, 2015
Praying Psalm 1: Among the “Godly”
I can remember a man in my home church who had what you might call a “prayer persona.” When he prayed over communion or at the end of a service, his voice went into a deep bass singsong like a really bad radio DJ. He suddenly took on King-James English, rolling his Rs and using “thees” and “thous” that would’ve made Shakespeare proud. Even then, it made us teens snicker. In most churches today, it would sound ludicrous. Most pray-ers today speak plainly, in the same language and tone of voice they’d use in any other setting. It’s a good change.
There are other changes in the 21st century church that are good. Methods can change as long as the message doesn’t.
But some changes have so blurred the definition of the church and of Christians, both are barely recognizable. One example is the use of the term “godly.” Rarely do you hear any believer refer to himself or to other believers as godly people who make godly choices or behave in godly ways. It’s not cool. It might make the ungodly uncomfortable (though we’d never refer to them by that term either).
The fact is, both are Bible terms used to discriminate (ah, there’s another politically incorrect term!) between those who embrace the ways of God and those who don’t. Psalm 1 is loaded with both of these terms—or their synonyms, depending on the scripture translation you read.
Psalm 1 makes a clear contrast between the destinies of the godless and the righteous, showing that God will prosper and bless those who are firmly rooted in Him but destroy those who reject Him.
Get your Bible and read Psalm 1—only six verses long. As you read, notice words used to describe the godly person and words used to describe the ungodly person. Then flip to the New Testament book of Jude. Read Jude 4b, 10-16 for insight into the ungodly, and verses 20-23 for a few words about the godly. Old Testament or New, the lines are clearly drawn—and are anything but politically correct!
Psalm 1 begins with a warning to the godly not to “walk… stand… sit” in the way of the ungodly, placing themselves in dangerous deepening relationships that can warp their morals and skew their priorities. Instead, blessing is promised to those who find their delight in God’s way, and who keep His word simmering in their minds at all times.
Seven benefits belong to the righteous, according to this psalm. The godly person is:
1. blessed. “Blessed is the man who….”, says verse one.
2. secure and provided for. Verse two likens him to “a tree planted by rivers of water….”
3. hardy. His “leaf does not wither…” (vs. 3).
4. prosperous. Verse three assures, “Whatever he does prospers.”
5. fruitful. He’s like a tree that “yields its fruit in season.” (vs. 3)
6. able to stand in the judgment—implied in verse five’s warning that “the wicked will not stand in the judgment.”
7. protected. Verse six says, “…the Lord watches over the way of the righteous.”
The ungodly, on the other hand, have nothing of eternal substance. They’ll be as easily puffed away as the chaff of grain on a breeze (verse 4). Even the godless man who’s known as a “good person” will see his works discarded by God just before he falls to judgment.
It’s not a popular message, or a politically correct one—but it’s a needed one. There are real consequences to the path we choose, consequences that impact our days now and our eternity later.
Is your chosen path clear? If asked to, could those who know you identify you as either godly or ungodly?
Psalm 1:2 pronounces blessing on the one who “meditates day and night” on the Word of God. That person creates a climate in which godly thoughts and actions come naturally. Here are a few ways you can surround yourself with the Word, for 24/7 submersion in scripture.
• Let no day go by without at least a few minutes reading scripture. Try keeping a Bible at your bedside so you can read a few verses before your feet hit the floor each morning and before you turn out the light each night.
• Focus on one aspect of God’s character or works each day—constantly feeding on His greatness and power.
• Choose a daily verse to memorize. Even if you don’t retain them all, you’ll be filling your mind with empowering words from the Bible.
• Listen to scripture songs—and sing along! (God loves the sound of your voice—I promise!)
• Display in your home artwork and items that contain Bible verses.
• Spend time with friends who love His Word. Attend Bible studies together or share new insights from personal study, and talk about what you’re learning.
• Ask God to make you hungry for Him and for His Word. He’ll be happy to oblige.
Satan will make it easy for you to float through each day with no time for godly things. Train yourself to view each day’s schedule asking, “What’s included in my plans for today that has eternal value?” That single question can help direct you toward godliness.
Father God, You offer so much to the one who chooses You—to the “godly” person. I may not be used to thinking of myself by that term. But I know how Your Word describes such a person, and it’s who I want to be. Help me to fill my days with things of eternal value, to saturate my mind with your Word, to so dwell in You that You are in my every breath. Thank You for Jesus, who made a way for me to be described by Your name—godly.
Thanks for reading today’s post. Watch for a special upcoming series of posts during the week before Easter—and for a new series coming soon. Praying God’s best for you this week!
© Diane McLoud 2015