A couple of nights ago, I was sitting down to read my Bible and finding every reason not to. Things had been rather hectic for the previous couple of weeks, and after wrapping my study of one book and passage specifically for a sermon, I’d fallen out of the practice of reading. So when I finally did turn to my Bible around an hour after I sat down, I started just aimlessly flipping through trying to decide what to read.
I can’t remember why, but after a false start in one book I moved to the book of Psalms. Opening to Psalm 1, I read the following passage.
“Blessed is the one
Who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
2but whose delight is in the LORD,
and who meditates on his law day and night.”
I set the book down. I think I may have laughed, too. How amazing to come across a passage that states that a person who meditates on the law of the LORD day and night is blessed after a lengthy spell of failing to do this. Coincidence? Maybe. Some message from God telling me to get back into reading the Bible? Well, in some ways that’s a message to pull from the passage, but it probably wasn’t a specific “God speaking to me through the passage I happened to pick” moment.
While I found the moment funny, I was struck more by the implications that come in the rest of the chapter:
“3That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither–
whatever they do prospers.
4Not so the wicked!
They are like chaff
that the wind blows away.
5Therefore the wicked will not stand in judgment,
nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
6For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.”
The imagery here is incredibly strong. The blessed one is rooted in the strong foundation of the law of the LORD, growing and flourishing upon the nutrients they receive from this source. Meanwhile, the wicked are this small, and windblown, unable to grow or flourish because they are unrooted. They will shrink away in judgment and will not stand with the righteous because they have not pursued the understanding of the law, and as such are incapable of knowing what it means to be counted among the righteous. It makes sense, then, that the way of the wicked leads to destruction when they are unfortified through their lack of delight and meditation on the law.
If I am completely honest, this imagery leaves me uncomfortable. Perhaps this feeling stems from my personal inconsistency in pursuing this continuing delight and meditation of the law of the LORD, the scriptures, as the authoritative foundation for life and flourishing as depicted in this Psalm. However, this concern reaches beyond my own personal issues. I also find myself drawn to concern in this same vein for the Church as a whole in our society. Are we meditating on scripture? Are we delighting in scripture? Are we correctly understanding and applying scripture? From my vantage point, the conclusion I come to is that, as a whole, we are not.
So, as a response to what I see as a shortcoming, and with a push I have felt through my meditation upon Psalm 1, I am beginning a project starting with this post. This project will be called In RE: INRI, with my ultimate goal boiling down to exploring how we are interpreting and applying scripture. I will admit that the project will probably not begin as orderly as I would like, especially for the amount of time I’ve spent thinking about starting something like this. However, the aforementioned push I have felt has made me feel I must start now, and we will find our way as we continue.
With that said, welcome to the In RE: INRI blog.