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Signposts: Daily Devotions

Saturday, February 20

Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path that sinner 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

These are the opening words of the Psalter, a treasury of 150 songs, or psalms, that have offered wisdom and comfort to all sorts and conditions of people for thousands of years. This first verse of the first psalm sets the tone for all those that follow, the key idea being "happy are those whose delight is in the law of the Lord."

In our culture, it seems strange that one could take delight in a law. But in the Old Testament, law, or Torah, means instruction. To take delight in the law is to be open to instruction, to be willing to study, learn, and absorb the wisdom inherent in God’s Word. It means being open to new insights about ourselves, too, and Lent is a good time to ask just how open we are to study and reflect on God's Word, found in the Bible.

For more than a decade, I have "delighted" in meeting with small groups of women each week to study and interpret scripture. Although it is tempting to get off track and talk about other things, we don’t. We have learned that the time together is precious and valuable. Meeting together has helped me understand what the psalmist means about the joy, the pleasure, of meditating on the law of the Lord.

A good way to begin, or to deepen one’s meditation on God’s Word, is with the Psalter, which contains the full spectrum of human emotion: love and hate, trust and fear, joy and sorrow. Or try reading one of the gospels during Lent, and follow Jesus’ journey from baptism in the Jordan River to crucifixion and resurrection in Jerusalem. There is no better way to prepare oneself for Easter than to travel that road with Jesus.

Whatever text you choose, prepare to be wonderfully surprised. When we open ourselves to God’s blessed instruction, a whole world of common understanding comes alive, and we are immeasurably enriched.

Open our hearts and minds to your word, O Lord, that we may be nourished and sustained and may grow in wisdom and trust in you. Amen.

These Signposts originally appeared on explorefaith in 2007.