Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path that sinners tread, or sit in the seat of scoffers; but their delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law they meditate day and night. Psalm 1:1-2
It is my belief that each “yes” to God is a “no” to aimlessness, sin and death, and that as long as there is one “yes” left standing there is hope for creation. I have given a lot of thought lately to the state of the world, and I guess I join a long and illustrious rank of thinkers as I wonder to myself why it is that we can’t just live in peace and prosperity. When I read the scriptures I see that the questions we ask today are the same questions that the biblical authors posed, and they are the same questions that people of faith have pondered over the centuries. Encapsulated, the over-arching question would be, why can’t we just be content with our daily bread? Through allegory, the bible attempts to explain where sin came from, and why we do the things we do, but it is an appallingly simple explanation that is sometimes taken far too literally and given way too much power. In fact it has almost become a loophole for human behavior – blame everything on Eve and the serpent. Paul says in Romans 7:15, “I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate,” and for all of our progress and technological advances we still find ourselves impaled on the horns of this same dilemma.
If I had to summarize the bible in one sentence it would be this: “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and holding fast to him” (Deut. 30:19-20a). The rest of the bible explains the difference between life and death, blessings and curses, and the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ exemplifies it. The instructions are all there and it really doesn’t take much imagination to tweak them to fit the 21st century. But even the best of intentions fall short, and it would seem that in the final analysis we are broken creatures with only one hope, and that is our capacity to say “yes” to God.
Certainly not all “yesses” look alike, and certainly our brokenness sometimes leads us to believe that we are saying yes when in fact we are saying no; but I sincerely believe that every time we seek God’s guidance we are working our way toward wholeness, and whether we finally “arrive” somewhere or not it sure beats the alternative to give in to sin and death. Psalm 1 says Happy are those who delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. “Law” is not the best translation; “instruction” is better, and while meditating on it day and night might be a lofty ambition for most of us, the attempt still translates to “yes.” My “yes” is my hope for the future of my descendants. It is the best legacy that I can leave behind.