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The God Squad: Short psalms for study: Psalm 1

Rabbi Marc Gellman, Tribune Content Agency on

1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.

5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

6 For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

 

The philosophy of Psalm 1 is the philosophy of all the psalms, and all the Bible and every faith—good has an edge over evil in the universe. This is not a belief that evil is illusory. It is a belief that goodness has an edge over evil. This is not a belief nothing bad will ever happen to you. It is a belief that you have a way to overcome its effects. This is not a belief that evil will be overcome immediately. It is a belief that evil will be overcome eventually.

Let us learn:

1: Our best defense against evil doers is to stay away from them. By extending the advice to not walking, standing or sitting with people doing bad things the psalmist is teaching us to stay away from them in every possible setting. Thinking that their ways will not rub off on us is naïve and wrong.

2: Simply avoiding evil is not enough. We must also engage in the practice of and the study of the good. To do good things we must know what they are and to know what they are we must study the ways of life that God has set before us.

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