A Psalm for Sunday: Praying Psalms 1 & 2

To match Reuters Life! PHILIPPINES/DOOMSDAYOn May 21, 2011 my journal reads: “The world is supposed to end today, according to US preacher Howard Camping: but it’s a beautiful day!” There was a lot of media hype and ridicule around this announcement, which is to be expected. Ordinary people wonder how Christians can be so naive as to believe such nonsense. (I wonder why ordinary people would be so naive as to lump all Christians into one box. But that’s another story.)

At the time, I was meditating on Psalms 1 & 2 and discovered that many commentators link the two psalms together, believing that they form an introduction to the book as a whole, as well as a theological and devotional orientation for reading the Psalms. There are indeed a number of common elements which link the two psalms together. For example,
a) Psalm 1 begins with “How blessed” and Psalm 2 ends with it;
b) In both psalms “the way” of the wicked will “perish;”
c) In both psalms there is reference to “meditate” (in Psalm 2 the Hebrew word appears in verse 1 but is usually translated by a different English word, e.g. devise, plot, etc)
d) Both psalms speak of those who scoff or rebel against the way of the Lord.

Further, Psalm 1 is a wisdom psalm which speaks of devotion to the Law; Psalm 2 is a prophetic psalm which speaks of devotion to the Lord and to his Anointed. Thus, in these two psalms we have the Law, the Prophets and Wisdom, as well as devotion to God, his Law and his Son. Both psalms portray the blessing of those who choose to ground their lives in the Lord: they shall be “happy.” In both also, there is peril for those who cast off the Lord and his ways: not just peril, but destruction.

In these two psalms, then,  we see the way of the righteous in the fear of the Lord. The correct attitude of the reader is set forth: one who delights in God’s law, who worships with reverence, who seeks refuge in God and walks in his ways. This God is Lord of history, enthroned in heaven, majestic in power, and judge of all. This God will not be mocked, but also invites all to a life which is blessed and full of promise.

My prayer on May 21, 2011 was:

“Father, help me to be a person who delights in your word and your will, who trusts you and takes refuge in you. Keep me from the corrosive effects of secular scorn and modern doubt, international power-games and personal mischief. Lead me rather to your Son; Lead me rather in worship and study, meditation and mission; for your Name’s sake.”