“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the Law of the LORD, and on His Law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” (Psalm 1:1-3 ESV)
When children play “follow the leader,” they must follow in the leader’s footsteps and imitate the leader’s actions, maybe hopping on one foot, skipping, or clapping. Children of all ages (including adults) often play a more sophisticated version of the game. Children may follow parents into careers, and adults and children alike may try to shape their lives in imitation of admired individuals.
Good role models can provide inspiration and guidance, but the psalmist issues a warning, telling us that there are certain people that we must not follow—the wicked, the sinners, and the scoffers. Such role models will lead us away from the Lord and His ways. Still, we often fall to temptation. We join scoffers in mocking those who disagree with us. We listen to the tempting counsel of the wicked and may find ourselves sitting down in fellowship with those who would lead us into sin. Instead of following those leaders, we are to delight in the Lord’s teachings and walk in the paths of righteousness that His commandments set before us. We follow our leader and Savior Jesus, who delighted in the Law of the Lord and rejoiced to do His Father’s will.
It was the Father’s will that Jesus, His obedient, innocent Son, would lay down His life to win forgiveness for the wicked, the sinners, and scoffers—for all of us. Jesus was betrayed and delivered into the hands of sinners. Scoffers mocked His claim to be the Christ. They challenged Him to save Himself as He hung on the cross. Yet even in His suffering, Jesus meditated on the teachings of the Word as He cried out in words from a Psalm, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Psalm 22:1a ESV)
Our innocent Lord took onto Himself our sins of walking in the way of sinners, of scoffing, and following the counsel of the wicked. He suffered the penalty of death that we deserved. “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness” (1 Peter 2:24 ESV). Through Jesus’ redeeming death, our sins are forgiven. We have been raised to new life in Jesus to walk in His ways and delight in His Word.
Jesus our blessed Savior called Himself “the true Vine” (John 15:1a ESV) and He has become for us a tree of life. As He promised, the Spirit of God flows out of our hearts like streams of living water (see John 7:38-39). By God’s grace we produce the fruit of the Spirit as we “keep in step with the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25b ESV), prospering in lives of love and service toward others. We are blessed!
Prayer: Jesus, through Your death and resurrection I am blessed. Help me to be a blessing to others. In Your Name. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler.
Reprinted with permission from Lutheran Hour Ministries
1. Who was a major role model for you, and what was their biggest impact?
2. How does one delight in the Law of the Lord?
3. How does the way we live provide a model to others, whether we know them or not?