Psalm 1:1-6 (NKJV) 1 Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. 3 He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper. 4 The ungodly are not so, But are like the chaff which the wind drives away. 5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. 6 For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the ungodly shall perish.
In our time together this year, we have been looking at the solution to the dilemma concerning the grace of God and the need for right living. Grace is at the heart of salvation. We are saved by grace through faith so that no one can boast about earning salvation. We are all the same. We did not deserve the sacrifice of Jesus. We do not deserve the salvation his sacrificed purchased for us. We could not and cannot earn it.
The fact that salvation is a gift does not mean we are free to allow sin to live in us. Both the Old and New Testaments tell us that it is necessary for us to live according to God’s will and his ways. We are not under an outward law. We are under a law that is written on our hearts (Jerimiah 31:31-34.) It is just as necessary that we live according to the inward law as it was for Israel to live according to the outward law. They had to keep the written law to maintain their covenant relationship with God. We must keep the inward law to maintain our inward covenant with God.
In our case, salvation does not depend on keeping the inward law. I am not talking about whether we can lose our salvation. I am talking about normal Christians who struggle with the flesh and sometimes fail. That describes all of us. However, covenant is much more than that. Covenant is the basis of relationship and relationship is what Christianity is all about.
Keeping the covenant relationship right opens the way to many benefits. Not the least of which is the sense of God’s presence and the communication we need, and he desires. It also is what provides a connection to the power of God in our lives. Healing, prosperity, deliverance and protection are all ours by covenant. Sin hinders that relationship and puts a blockage between our need and God’s power.
Covenant is also what defines our relationship with God to those who observe us as we live in the world. Israel was defined by their covenant. So are we. One of the important aspects of covenant is the exchange of names. God became the God of Abraham when they made covenant. Abraham had been known as Abram before the covenant. The meaning of Abraham, father of a multitude, represented the promise God had given him. The “ha” sound that was added to Abram was the dominant sound in God’s name, Yahweh.
This name change is there in our covenant as well. Jesus is forever known as the Christ, the savior of the church. The church is now identified by the term “Christian” or little Christ. We are identified with him and he with us by an exchange of names. When we do not live in a way that reflects the “law” written on our hearts, we compromise our identification with him before the world.
The question is how do we keep this inner law. The New Testament is clear that we are not required to live according to the written law of Moses. It is also clear that we must live a life that reflects our inward relationship with God. We must keep the Law that was written on our hearts in salvation.
How do we keep and inward law? We must keep it from the inside out not the outside in. We must walk in the spirit, the inner man, and not in the flesh. This simply means we must do what will strengthen the inner man and diminish the control of the outer man, the flesh. If we do that, living according to the will and nature of God becomes natural. It is not a struggle.
In discussing this we have learned from Romans 8 that we must become spiritually minded as opposed to carnally minded. This means that our thinking must be changed so that the inner law can become the dominant factor in our decision making. We must change how we think so that it reflects how God thinks. Romans 12:2 calls this process the renewing of the mind. In Joshua 1:8, Joshua was about to begin his time as the leader of God’s people. The Lord said meditation in the Word was the key to prosperity and good success. It is the key for us as well.
When we renew our mind by the Word of God, our minds become a channel through which God’s voice, his ways and his will can flow through us naturally. When our minds are dominated by natural thinking, the inner relationship we have with God cannot get through our thinking to affect our living. Meditation is a key component to walking in the spirit and the Word is the most important tool we have which will effectively change our way of thinking.
Because of the salvation in Jesus Christ, we have a type of relationship that the writers of the Psalms could not when they walked on the earth. Even so, as we read them today the beauty and depth of the words touch our spirit. In the very first Psalm, we see the principle of meditation in the Word and how important it is. The key to walking in the blessing of the Lord is plainly stated. We must not follow the counsel of the ungodly, walk in the path of sinners nor sit in the seat of the scornful. How do we avoid these things? We meditate day and night in the law of the Lord.
To the Old Testament believer, the Law was the term given to the Word of God. This is not talking about meditating on all the “do’s and don’ts” written in the legal aspect of the law. It is talking about meditating on what God says about everything. Thinking about the Law was to think and learn about God’s nature and his ways. This exhortation was written in the Old Testament, but it applies to an even greater degree to the New Testament church.
We are born again in the spirit. We have the law of God written on our hearts. As I meditate on the Word, I am releasing the power of the inward covenant into my life. What are the results of doing this? The Psalmist tells us that we become like trees planted by the rivers of water. A tree that is planted by the source of water never lacks for life. That is what meditation on the Word of God will do for us as well.
This tree will bring forth fruit in its season. It will never have an unproductive season. We can be like that. Life has seasons. Some of them are good and some not so good. If we make meditation on the Word of God a consistent practice, we can bear fruit in every season of life. Different seasons produce different fruit, but all fruit is good.
He says our leaves will never wither. Everyone goes through dry times, but even when there is a natural drought, trees planted by the river itself do not wither and die. If we meditate on the Word of God, we will not wither in the dry seasons. That is why God told Joshua that this process will bring prosperity and good success.
The more I renew my mind, the more I walk in the spirit. That means I actually walk or live in what is already mine in Jesus. Meditation in the Word is a tool God has given to cause us to move from carnal mindedness, which is against God, to spiritual mindedness which is in tune with him.
In our next post we will begin to look at why this is such a necessary part of the equation that leads to our ability to walk in the spirit and naturally reflect the will and ways of God.