Yesterday I gave a brief introduction to the Psalms as well as to David’s life, who is the author of many of the Psalms. Today we’re going to delve right into Psalm 1 and look at some of the truth there. I am going to follow a somewhat inductive pattern of study and so you might find it helpful to pull out your Bible and pen if you’re using this for devotions.
The Progression of Sinful Compromise
Look at the first 3 verses of Psalm 1. . .”Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the way of sinners, nor sit in the seat of mockers. . .”
Now think for a minute about the verbs in this passage. . .walk, stand and sit. At first glance, I always just thought this was a poetic way of saying don’t keep bad company. We are blessed when we don’t mingle with the wrong crowd. I have since discovered that even in these three verses. . .there’s so much more meaning.
If you’ll allow me to oversimplify for a minute just to make the point, let’s imagine you’re in the grocery store. You see someone you know, but you have other things to do, a bigger goal if you will, and so you walk past with a simple greeting but pretty much keep going to do what you set out to do. Now, what happens when you see someone you are friends with? You stop and talk right? Even if for a few minutes, your grocery shopping trip is now delayed. What would happen if you sat down? We obviously don’t sit at the grocery store but the point is that the verbs in this passage are progressive.
The psalmist is not only saying that a man is blessed (or more accurately translated “happy, many, many times over” but he’s implying that there is a progression when we encounter sin.
When we walk on a known path of sin or place ourselves in temptation, we may well at first keep walking. A casual encounter and then we’re on our way. But the progression is subtle: first we’re walking and then we take a stand. Standing requires lingering. . .if you stand in one spot you’re there for a little while. While you’re standing, you may just as well sit–and before you know it, you’re in sin.
Sin works this way doesn’t it? When we first encounter sin, we may not recognize it as sin or we may just brush it off as ‘not that bad.’ Especially in our society where we all need to be ‘tolerant’ and taking a stand against what we know to be unbiblical renders us as bigots or legalists. But walking in the path of sinners always progresses towards standing and sitting unless we turn to a different path.
Sin is progressive and the psalmist is conveying that here. He understands that allowing ourselves to even ‘pass by’ sin, can often lead us to compromise.
Is there an area in your life where you have walked near sin and need to turn the corner to a different path?