Sunday, 12 November 2006

2 ways to live

Carson on Psalm 1 from the UCCF Graduate Network Conference - notes.

vv1-3 The Righteous described

v1 - negatively
Progression: walking, standing, sitting. Starts with walking in the counsel - worldview, godless perspective - of the wicked. We don't start by overtly denying Christ's deity; we listen to the world's perspective, then walk, act, & think accordingly. Then {standing in the way of} = doing things their way, indistinguishable from them. Then sitting in the seat of scoffers - now not only hang out with them but mock and consider condescendingly those with whom we once shared faith, at those who don't walk like us.

v2 - positively
Carson pointed out how Hebraic parallelism leads us to expect something like, 'But who walks in the counsel of the upright, stands in the way of the godly and sits in the seat of the thankful.' Yet the poet breaks with this: rather, they hit you in the face with only one antithesis: delight in and meditation on God's law. This isn't mechanistic: "Reading the Bible is good for you like eating fruit is good for you"! But it's transformational. "Whereas you are not what you think you are; what you think, you are." Or Proverbs, "What a person thinks in his heart, so is he." Cf Deut 17:18-20, Romans 12.1-2. The only alternative to picking up the world's "think" is another framework altogether.

v3 - metaphorically
Many streams in Israel were seasonal, but this tree has been planted by several streams so its leaf doesn't fade, it's fruitful. In fact when other plants keel over, he's still prospering: life and fruitfulness. And vv.2-3 strongly imply that the watering agent is the word. Cf Jer 17:5-8

vv4-5 The Wicked described
The negation here is really strong: "Not so the wicked; not so!" Utter negation of everything that is above: the wicked do walk in the counsel of teh wicked, going with the sinner, and scoffing. They don't delight in God's word. They cannot be likened to a fruitful tree. They're not lifeful, planted, fruitful; they're rootless, lifeless, useless, worthless. It's spelt out further in v5 - they won't stand in God's people.

v6 Final contrast made: the way of the righteous vs. the way of the wicked
The Lord knows the way of the righteous: he blesses it, watches over it. Whereas the very way of the wicked will perish. In eternity to come, no one will be talking of Hitler, Stalin, etc, but every glass of water given in God's name will be remembered. The way of the wicked will perish.

Carson then considered: only 2 ways to live? For a future post...

No comments: