Tuesday, March 5, 2024

The Key to Happiness: A Study of Psalm 1 (Part 2)

 By: Rebekah Hargraves

Photo Courtesy Of: Fuu J

"Instead, his delight is in the Lord’s instruction,
and he meditates on it day and night."

~Psalm 1:2

Last week we kicked off a series on Psalm 1, looking at what verse 1 had to say about the happiness which comes from not "walk[ing] in the advice of the wicked or stand[ing] in the pathway with sinners or sit[ting] in the company of mockers."  I shared about how the Lord had convicted me recently of my social media obsession and how constantly taking in the varying voices of social media was leading to an unhappiness which was clearly the result of "walking in the advice of the wicked" and "sitting in the company of mockers" (this isn't at all to say that social media is all bad - refer back to last week's devotional for more on that).

This week, we are now taking a look at verse 2, where the psalmist switches gears from the negative to the positive, showing us not where happiness doesn't come from, but instead showing us from where it does come. 

Read in context, Psalm 1:1-2 together say, "How happy is the one who does not walk in the advice of the wicked or stand in the pathway with sinners or sit in the company of mockers! Instead, his delight is in the Lord’s instruction, and he meditates on it day and night." (emphasis added)

Now, before we really dive into what I want to share today, let me begin by saying this here at the onset: I am not at all interested in legalistically saying that this passage means you shouldn't spend any time on social media whatsoever and that you should instead spend your every last waking free moment with your nose buried deep in the Word. But what I am saying is that we cannot put everyone else's voice ahead of God's and then wonder why we are miserable. 

Our priorities are often, plain and simple, out of whack.

What I came to realize in my own life was that I was spending hours every single day taking in what this, that, and the other person had to say on any given topic and was left seemingly without time to be in the Word. I was taking in the opinions of man and was left starved for the wisdom of God. 

In the past week or so since coming to a place of submission and surrender to what the Lord was calling me to, I have been truly blown away by how differently I have felt. I have gone from feeling rushed, hurried, and harried to get through every last Instastory I wanted to watch to feeling an inner sense of peace and rest as I now have so much more time for fellowship with God. I have gone from feeling overstimulated with an inner buzz and a frazzledness of mind to feeling calm and more serene than I have remembered feeling in a very long time.

But there is a key here that I want to be sure we do not miss - if you, like me, are feeling a call to cut way down on your social media usage (or your Netflix binging or your blog scrolling or your podcast listening or whatever it is for you!), do not just stop there with obedience to that call. That is a crucially important step in the right direction. But do not remain there. Do not just cut out the drone of the voices of man. Go a step further (in our case, into verse 2!), and fill at least a portion of that freed-up time with the Word of God. 

The reason I find it crucial that we remember verses 1 and 2 together and intentionally replace the "advice of the wicked" with delighting "in the Lord's instruction" is because of a certain little parable of Jesus' that is sobering and important to remember.

In Matthew 12:43-45 we read, "When an unclean spirit comes out of a person, it roams through waterless places looking for rest but doesn’t find any. Then it says, ‘I’ll go back to my house that I came from.’ Returning, it finds the house vacant, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and settle down there. As a result, that person’s last condition is worse than the first. That’s how it will also be with this evil generation.”

It is neither wise nor enough to simply cut down on the amount of time we spend heeding the advice of the wicked or keeping company with mockers. We have to actually then take it a step further and replace that practice with the practice of instead delighting in God's wisdom and His Word. If you cut down on your Netflix time, do not fail to replace it with something beneficial - such as time in prayer or time spent reading the Word. Because if you don't, temptation will come back full force, and your time will be lost to scrolling social media instead or binge-listening the latest true crime podcast. 

It isn't that these other forms of entertainment or information do not sometimes have their place or their value. But it is that if all we are ever doing is heeding the words of the unwise to the neglecting of listening to God's wisdom, we will be unhappy indeed.

Reflection Questions: 

1) What stands out to you about Psalm 1:1-2?

2) How do you need to seek to apply the wisdom of this passage from Psalm 1 to your own life?

3) What changes is the Holy Spirit inspiring you to make?

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