Sabbath Slow-Down: a Psalm reflection for Sunday, June 29 (’14): The Redemption of a Blessed Man
Read Psalm 1
This psalm is arranged in three parts: The faith of a blessed man (1-2), the results for that blessed man (3-4), and the redemption of this blessed man (5-6). For this Sabbath, the redemption of a blessed man.
Key verses today, 5-6:
“Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for Yahweh (LORD) knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.”
These concluding verses make a very simple point: the results of genuine faith is vindication. No matter hell or high water, at the end of the day, being a member in the righteous community brings the gift of redemption from the wicked and from the coming judgment. Any other concern you have, though legitimate, will pass. It will end one way or the other. But without the promise of Yahweh, you will not pass out of judgment. Your life here must be geared to a future there, and these verses are the ultimate closure on that deal. Closure is comfort.
All around us are the wicked. This point is evident in Psalm 2, a psalm whose very content invites us to step back and see what Ralph Davis reminds is the whole picture of the universe. Whereas Psalm 1 focuses on the small day-to-day difficulties of being a man or child of faith when surrounded (as we always are) by wicked and plotting people, Psalm 2 shows the broad and big battle between wicked and plotting institutions. Thus, as we conclude Psalm 1, the redemption of God’s righteous children leaves a sweet taste on our lips when we turn the page and see how the whole world is set against us and the Anointed King. Even there, though, we will prevail.
Yahweh knows you. He knows your faith. You are his, and he is yours. Why be so frightened at those who, in verses 1-2, are able to plot and harm your body and goods yet who cannot even sustain themselves at the end of the day? They are blown away like useless pieces of food (“chaff”). They can not even stand up to a breeze, much less the Creator and Sustainer of stars. So stand firm. Do not budge. Trust. Rely upon and cherish the high worth of your God. He knows you.
He will redeem you. He will be present at the day of judgment for you and against those who oppose you and him. It is entirely possible Paul had these concluding verses in mind coupled with Psalm 2, when he quoted Isaiah 45 in Romans and Philippians. The themes of psalms 1 and 2 certainly match Romans, Philippians, and behind both of them, Isaiah 45.
The point is clear with the New Testament connection: it isn’t just those alive in the exile who would be redeemed. It isn’t just the psalmists or the Kings of Israel, either. It is us. It is all of God’s children, from 3,000 years ago to 3,000 years from now. If you wait on God’s justice and redemption, you shall have it. If he is worth the wait to you, you’ll get more than you have waited for and more.
The Lord knows you; he’ll redeem you. Take heart.
Suggested Family Prayer:
“Heavenly Father, in Jesus’ name, grant that I and my family will be ever-faithful to love you and cherish you. May our salvation and redemption on that final terrible day of judgment be a reason for joyful singing this Sabbath. May all our fears and troubles fade for this day of rest, especially as we eagerly dream of the day you visit this earth and welcome home your righteous people to whom you have given the gift of faith. Amen.”