>Happy New Year! May it please God.
Psalm 1 seems a particularly appropriate Psalm to begin a new year.
Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the
nor stands in the way of sinners,
not sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the
and on his law he meditates day and
Blessing comes to the person who makes conscious and committed efforts to avoid ill-advised actions, sinful philosophies, and scornful attitudes. Blessing derives from more than merely avoiding bad behaviors; meditating on God’s law brings blessing and delight.
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 the chaff that the wind drives
The blessed believer is like a deeply-rooted, fruitful tree. Its roots drink of the life-giving streams that flow beside it. At the proper time, it brings forth sound fruit. It is covered with green leaves free from pest or blight. The picture of the tree bursting into foliage and bearing its fruit through changing seasons conveys the righteous acts of the believer through the progression of time.
To say that such a man prospers in all that he does does not mean that every believer will be a successful businessman or a wealthy farmer. His adherence to biblical principles will mean that he will not gain by cheating others and that he will be neither a miser nor a spendthrift, but God—in his infinite wisdom—may chose to allow a believer to struggle for much of life under financial adversity. Even so, the believer’s future is secure in Christ. His work may not always appear to prosper in this world, but all that is done for Christ counts as success in his kingdom.
In contrast to the sturdy tree, firmly rooted beside streams, unbelievers are like bits of grain husks that disappear in the blowing wind.
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
but the way of the wicked will
Even though believers may not appear as successful as unbelievers in this world, the unbelievers will not be able to stand before the judgment seat of Christ or in the great and final gathering of the righteous. They will finally and eternally perish.
But because of Christ’s finished work, believers can stand before his final judgment and join the righteous throng in eternal bliss.
And at the beginning of this new year, believers can worship joyfully with other believers in the secure conviction that God knows what has happened to them through the past year and what will happen to them in the new one. He will bring them safely through another year until he brings them to their eternal home.