Short Meditations in Psalms: 1.1b Walking
Psa 1:1 Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked
In these injunctions not to do something in the first verses of this Psalm, there is an activity that varies. In this first case it is a call not to walk with this person. Walking tends to indicate a time of fellowship and sharing. When you go out for a walk with a friend, you are going out on a time that you know will not be silent. Part of the joy of walking is just being able to share with one another without interruption. When you walk with someone you usually know that person and accept them. Walking with them is the first stage of accepting them. The injunction here is not even to get into a place where such people are acceptable to you – at least in terms of their thinking. Once you accept the outlook of other people, you are open to their views and before you know where you are, you are accepting and taking on board their views, taking them into your own life. If you do that with a wicked person, you are in trouble.
Now the psalmist will move on to talk about ‘sinners’, where the emphasis is on people who do wrong, but in this first line it is against people who THINK wrong. Wrong is at their very heart; they are committed to it. They are not people who simply do wrong things without thought; they are given over to it in their heart and in their thinking. This is why we shouldn’t walk with them or listen to their counsel.
Now we might have a question – didn’t Jesus mix with sinners? Well yes, he did, because he took every opportunity to share his Father’s love with whoever would receive it, but I also note that he didn’t try and do that with those whose hearts were set against him. The ‘sinners’ he met with, gladly talked with him because they were sinners more by birth rather than by commitment. Where there is someone utterly committed to wrong, there is little hope that they will receive us (and yet we never know!). Where there is someone who just does things thoughtlessly, there is hope for them, because they are more likely to be open to listen. Be Jesus to all people, but beware those who have settled mentally in their wrong and who are committed to it.
Even when we mix with those who have not surrendered to God as Jesus might have done, be careful to realise that the base for their life is very different than yours and so be careful that you don’t take on board ungodly counsel from them, for they may lead you astray in your thinking. You will need to be prepared to say, well, I don’t actually go along with that because I know it is contrary to God’s design and the evidence is that it brings harm if not destruction. Be ready.