Short Meditations in Psalms: 1.1 The Wicked
Psa 1:1 Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked
(With the ‘short meditations’ we simply focus on 1 verse a day)
In the Old Testament blessings are seen as decrees of good from God and so our starting place has to be that the person who does what this verse says, is going to receive God’s approval. Now when blessings appear in the Old Testament they are also accompanied or seen alongside curses, decrees of bad from God, so that the person who DOES listen to the wisdom of the wicked is going to get God’s disapproval and, indeed more than that, also His decree of bad. In other words if you listen to this person you, as well as them, are going to be in trouble.
But who is ‘the wicked’? Apart from youth slang we don’t tend to use the word ‘wicked’ much today. It comes up in children’s fairy stories though, when you encounter a “wicked witch”. Children will simply tell you that she is someone who is bad! She plots and schemes wrong things. Indeed when you talk about a wicked person you don’t refer to someone who sometimes gets it wrong. No, when you speak of wicked person you mean someone who is given over to wrong, who’s disposition or outlook is to do wrong and everything they think or do is essentially based in wrong. When we speak of a ‘criminal’ we don’t think of a person who has done one thing wrong but whose outlook in life is wrong. So it is with the wicked. They are people whose very foundation of life is based on wrong. Their thinking is wrong and their attitudes are wrong and so all their schemes and plans are wrong.
It is because it goes right back into their thinking, that the psalmist says don’t listen to their counsel. Their counsel – their wisdom, their advice, their ideas, will always be wrong and it will be to do wrong or will have wrong outcomes. Now note that the thing to avoid is their ‘counsel’ because their wisdom is no wisdom, but also note that they are only too ready to share their views. Such people tend to have a lofty view of themselves and so as soon as they find someone who will listen, they will share their wrong thinking.
Perhaps we should ask ourselves the question, who do I listen to? The reality is, of course, being people who live in a TV-age and an age of incredible communications that go on by the means of social sites such as Facebook and Twitter, we ‘listen’ to possibly hundreds of people a month. But ‘listen’ here means actively take in and agree with what they are saying. Christians are the minority in the West and so when we listen to others we are actually listening to those who starting place is very different from ours. The classic example of this has to be the morality portrayed on TV & films. Be careful, be aware, be discerning.