Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Great Divide

Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. His delight is in the law of law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither.” (Psalm 1:1-3)

In Ps 119:105, “your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path”, the Psalmist declares plainly – without Scripture, we walk in darkness. Psalm 1 illustrates this effect of Scripture with a graphic contrast between the wicked and the righteous - the “tree planted by streams of water” versus the “chaff that the wind blows away”. One is unwavering and flourishing while the other is unsteady and fruitless. The root of the practical difference between these two is the contrast in their attitudes towards the “law of the Lord”. Our attitude to God is seen in how we live, act and perceive right from wrong in response to the objective truth of his Word. In Psalm 1, one man, whose life is pictured as an ever-fruitful tree - lush, lasting and a blessing to all, delights in Scripture and meditates on it “day and night.” The other, whose life is pictured as windblown chaff, i.e. momentary and good-for-nothing, does not. That is the only difference but it is all the difference in the world. It is a watershed in every person's life.

What is a watershed? Geographically, it describes an area or ridge of land that separates waters flowing to different rivers, basins, or seas and literally, it is an event or period marking a turning point in a situation (Google). The Continental Divide stretching from north to south of North America is a watershed. Rain and snow falling on one side of the Rocky Mountains eventually flows in the Pacific Ocean. Rain and snow on the other side flows into the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean. There is no way that water destined for one will end up in the other ocean. At its point of origin on the mountain peak, the Divide is hardly apparent, perhaps mere millimetres apart. Walking along it, one may even get the illusion there is no Divide. Yet, the destination of water and snow running down either slope ends up thousands of kilometres, even a continent apart.

There is a spiritual truth here that can be applied in our lives. The great divide between followers and non-followers of Christ is the attitude of belief or unbelief to the Word of God. The prefix ‘un-’ looks so insignificant. Yet this prefix defines the follower of Christ. It is the great divide between the fruitful Christian and the fruitless Christian. On one side, we find fruitfulness and delight in God’s Word. On the other, we find dryness and dreariness.

How stands our relationship with Christ? Are we like the Psalmist, “whose delight is in the law of God”? I believe the Psalmist is pointing the way to joy in our relationship with God. God’s Word remains in his mind and he cannot stop thinking about it. He thirsts for God so he keeps drinking and drinking. As a follower of Christ, we too should delight in God’s Word. To some it is dull and boring, but to us it is fulfilling and joyful. To remain in Christ, we delight to study it, hear the preaching of the Word and have faith in God's Word. Such an attitude results in a life of joy, trust, godly desires and blessing from God, not wavering even when sometimes, we lose our happiness along the way. That’s the way to live - staying rooted in Christ alone.

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