"Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do" (Psalm 1:1-3, NLT).
The NASB uses three actions to translate these verses: walking, standing, and sitting. Don't walk with the wicked. Don't stand with sinners. Don't sit with mockers. The emphasis is on the progression of action--walking by--then standing around--finally sitting down and joining. Have you ever been walking by someone and overheard their conversation? Perhaps they were saying something so interesting or unusual that you slowed down and maybe even stopped so that you hear more of the story. Perhaps you even joined in by saying something like, "Excuse me, I couldn't help overhearing what you were saying about..." The very first Psalm is warning us to be careful about who we listen to--who we take advice from. The Psalmist is saying, don't make your decisions based on the word of sinners. Maybe we could define sinners in this specific context as cultural norms--the world's wisdom. My paraphrase would be, "If you want to be happy, don't live your life according to the world's conventional wisdom".
But rather, the Psalmist David says, "delight" in the Word of God--think about it all of the time!
Now here's the promise: #1--You'll bear fruit, #2--You will not wither, and #3--You will prosper! You will be just like a tree growing beside a river. We need to get our wisdom from the Bible. We need to make decisions based on the same values that the Scriptures declare. We need to hear from God in making every decision.
Tina and I struggled to reach a decision in terms of whether to continue on with Cornerstone or whether to get out of the boat and to join God in something new that we had never had the guts to attempt before. Each day for the past three months, we have been in the Word individually and at times as a couple, seeking to hear from God. The idea for Grace River began to slowly emerge over the past three months as I walked through the darkest and most painful days of my life. We believe without a doubt that Grace River is of God and we believe that He will cause it to bear fruit and prosper. I am asking God to allow the first fruit to be born this weekend--may we see someone give their life to Christ before the week is completed. May we see a new tree planted along the riverbank...