Wednesday of Pentecost 4 – Psalm 1

1 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.
The wicked are not so,
    but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
    nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
    but the way of the wicked will perish.

500 years ago, Luther was sitting in a tower in the Wartburg, furiously writing and translating. Many people thought he was dead. Some suspected he was alive. A few knew he was alive. Even fewer knew where he was. He spent about ten months there. Finally coming home to Wittenberg in the following Lent. He would later recount that frequently the Devil tormented him at the Wartburg. We don’t know if he really hurled an inkwell at the wall. What is not in doubt is that Luther regularly said his defense against the devil to was to claim his baptism.

The Psalmist today says that the blessed man meditates upon the Law of God both day and night (vs. 2).  I am not particularly motivated to think about laws myself, but that is alright because the Hebrew word used here is actually Torah, which is perhaps better translated as Teaching. The Torah has rules, to be sure, but it also has the stories of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It tells the thrilling story of the Exodus when Moses led the people out of Egypt. Even the rules are not so bad. A great number of them in fact detail the proper procedures for sacrifices, just how a person is to be forgiven.

When Luther found himself awake at night, his mind racing, and he heard that voice whisper in his ear that he was not worthy, he turned to what God had taught him. He was baptized, a child of God, wholly forgiven in Christ. His sins were not counted against him. He is an heir of heaven. He was meditating on Torah when he did that.

Blessed is the man who reflects or meditates on the Torah day and night. He is like a tree planted beside a stream. No drought afflicts him. He always has that water to sustain him. When the devil or your conscience whispers to you in the dead of night as you lie awake on your bed, remember the promise of God. In baptism you passed through the sea to stand before him forgiven and redeemed, rescued from sin, death, and devil. That cannot be snatched away. It is in God’s hands.

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