Oh, the joys!

“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.” (Psalm 1:1 )

When I was a small child, I squinted a lot because I needed glasses. I think some well-meaning teacher once told me if I kept on scrunching up my eyes in that way my eyes would be permanently crinkled. Not wanting crinkly eyes I tried to stop,but fell back into that habit. It was only when a routine eye screening picked up my need for glasses that the cause of the squinting was found. I tell you this story to flesh out the adage “if you keep doing that [making a strange face] your face is going to freeze that way!”

In the same way if a person follows the advice of the wicked people, hangs around with sinners, and/or mimics the habits of mockers, one can and will become like them. It was fortunate for me that I got glasses before my eyes became permanently stuck in a squint. I am also fortunate that my mother did not let me hang out with wicked, sinning and/or mocking people. Just think if my personality had gotten stuck being like that.

I could go on and laud the ways of the good, the pure, and the gentle of spirit. But I think you see and understand the advantage of being choosy and careful about who you emulate. Children, and adults, may make funny faces, befriend people of less savory natures, make poor choices of role models, and pick up bad habits. However, fleeting associations and temporary acquaintances of such people are not going to result in a change of character and nature. The verse from this beginning chapter of Psalm alludes to a prolonged association and emulation; when walking with someone, standing by them, and sitting with them their habits become yours.

I want to share with you the way this verse is rendered in the New Living Translation; “Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers.“ I am tickled by the way the verse is phrased, even more so than the way The Message states it. It puts a lighthearted amusing spin on the traditional “blessed-ness” of the verse.

May you gentle reader find joy in abundance in taking and keeping good counsel, keeping company with righteous people, and speaking kindly and encouragingly to others. Selah!