I’ve started doing something on Facebook recently that I will now carry over to my blog: A daily Psalm meditation in conjunction with my daily psalm readings. I picked up a practice from N.T. Wright some time back of daily reading the psalms. I read 5 Psalms per day, and begin and end each day by reading and meditating on them. 5 psalms per day X 30 days per month = 150 psalms. Thus, each month (we flex a bit for February) we read through the entire Psalter. Why? I really appreciate Dr. Tim Mackie’s summary of the Psalms:
Psalms: The prayerbook of God’s people who are striving to be faithful to the Torah, and waiting for the Messianic Kingdom.Dr. Tim Mackie – The Bible Project
“But wait, didn’t the Messianic Kingdom come at Pentecost? After all Jesus has already established his church!” The answer to that is Yes, and No. The kingdom is here, and not yet. While it has been established, we eagerly await his return to destroy evil once and for all, and establish the new Jerusalem where all of God’s people will spend eternity with him (read the end of Revelation if this is new material for you.)
So in a way we are just like those original readers of the Psalter who are awaiting the Messiah to set everything straight, though we have the advantage of knowing our Messiah Jesus and his teachings as we wait for his ultimate return. In addition, the Psalms are what Jesus would have meditated on in his lifetime. These were the worship songs of his day. As a Jewish boy he would have memorized the entire psalter. The words of the Psalms saturated the mind, heart, and life of Jesus. Shouldn’t we seek to have them do the same for us?
Each day I’ll choose one psalm from my daily reading and reflect/meditate on it a bit. My hope is that after 5 months I will have written at least a little reflection on the entire Psalter. Today we will look at Psalm 1. I memorized this psalm in middle school for a competition, and it has never left my memory. Probably my favorite psalm.
In Psalm 1 we have the anonymous psalmist reminding us that it is meditation on the word of Yahweh that leads to life. In contrast, the psalmist looks at the wicked and says they are “like chaff.” If you are unfamiliar with that term, chaff is the little shell that encases a grain of wheat. In the process of harvesting the wheat, the chaff is removed from the grain through a process called “winnowing” where the wheat is thrown into the air which separates the grain from the chaff. The wind blows away the light chaff, but the grain falls back down to the ground and is used.
In other words, the wicked are compared to useless the useless byproduct of wheat that isn’t fit for consumption. They will be “blown away” and destroyed. But those who dwell on the Torah of Yahweh are like a never ending source of nourishment and peace. It’s almost as if the arrangers of the psalter are saying, “Spend time in this book and you will be a blessing to everyone as you yourself are blessed by God in doing so.”
Spend time in Scripture. Spend time in the Psalms. Spend time in the Gospels. Spend time getting the story and the very words of Jesus in your head and your heart. And you will be blessed, and be a blessing, in doing so. Grace and Peace.