July 16, 2021

Psalm 1:1a

Blessed is the one

    who walks not in the counsel of the wicked…

When we read the Bible it’s always good to ask, “Where am I in this passage or story? What represents me? And how might that apply in my life?” What’s interesting is that we get those answers wrong far more often than we think, even in the seemingly easy texts.

Take all the events and situations Jesus experiences in the gospels – which people do you automatically assume are the “bad guys”? For example, I never consider myself to be like those self-righteous Pharisees. But how many times has God needed to gently remove my own self-righteous blinders?

Then there are passages like Psalm 1:1. I love the phrase “the counsel of the wicked.” Honestly, how many of us actually think we’re in much danger of walking in that? Not me! I just bleep right past verses like that. “The counsel of the wicked” sounds like some cartoonish evil villains rubbing their hands together in a Hollywood production. I don’t know anyone like that, and I certainly wouldn’t take their advice if I did. So of course I don’t “walk in the counsel of the wicked”!

But let’s pause and consider for a moment. What kind of counsel do we encounter in our normal day-to-day lives? Friends and family, of course, but there’s much, much more: Advertising? Talk shows? Social media? Podcasts? Books? Articles? The fact is we are all drenched in “counsel” coming at us 24/7 from every direction, and plenty of it has nothing to do with God and His ways. For me to assume I’m perfectly sorting through it all, keeping only the good and casting away all the bad – that’s a dangerously arrogant place to be.

Let’s ask God today to open our eyes to the “counsel of the wicked” coming into each of our lives. What do you listen to these days? What ideas, issues or concerns are capturing your attention? And how is all that “counsel” motivating you, in good or not-so-good directions? May God give each one of us His grace today to see the paths before us as clearly as He does!

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