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.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.
The Slippery Slope of Temptation
How far is too far when it comes to sin? To what extent do you flirt with the line of what you know is contrary to God’s will for you?
Psalm 1 paints an image of the slippery slope of temptation. It starts with “walking in the counsel of the wicked.” Something catches your eye and you follow along in curiosity. Perhaps you start associating with the wrong crowd. You’re not doing everything they’re doing, but you’re hanging out with them, going where they go. Soon, this wickedness gains more influence over your life. After walking in the counsel of the wicked for a while, you stop and “stand in the way of sinners.” As you stop and stand, you give this way your full attention. You learn more and perhaps you even begin to participate in what you see, just to try it out. Before you know it, you “sit in the seat of scoffers.” No longer standing, you sit down and get comfortable knowing you’ll be here awhile. You’re no longer on the outskirts but have a seat at the table of this sin.
This image of walking, standing, and sitting in the counsel of the wicked is in contrast with the man who delights in the law of the Lord. Instead of being swept away by temptation, this man is steady and strong like a tree planted by the water. He does not waver or move when temptation passes by. He is unmovable and secure, growing deep roots and strong branches.
The psalm says the wicked will be blown away like chaff in the wind, but the one rooted in Jesus will remain sure.
How about you? Where do you find yourself planted? Have you stood in temptation, walked away from delighting in God to get comfortable sitting with the wicked? Do you find joy in spending time in God’s word?
There is only One who could perfectly sit with the wicked and remain without sin. That’s Jesus. He was tempted in every way and yet through His ongoing connection to the Word, He remained like a strong tree by water.
Through the waters of Baptism, we are firmly planted in the tree of Christ—the cross. By the power of the Spirit, we, too, can grow strong roots in Jesus, our source of life. As we spend time reading and receiving God’s Word, our roots deepen and our branches grow. No longer worrying about how far we can entertain sin before we’re sitting in it, we are instead overwhelmed by the blessings that come when we’re firmly planted like a tree by the water.
Reflect on the questions presented in the devotion and answer them for yourself. Where do you find yourself planted?
Have you in temptation, walked away from delighting in God to get comfortable sitting with the wicked?
Do you find joy in spending time in God’s word?
Thank You, Jesus, for sitting with sinners like me and redeeming me from my sin. By Your Spirit and Word, strengthen the roots of my faith that I may remain strong in the face of temptation. Thank You for being my source for life. Amen.
Psalm 1:2 says we are blessed when we delight in the law of the Lord and meditate on His law day and night. Choose a day this week and schedule time to be in God’s Word both in the morning when you wake up and at night before you go to bed. May you receive the promised blessing that comes from time spent in God’s Word!