When I’m blessed with separate opportunities where only one choice can be made, I find myself standing at the proverbial fork in the road peering at each path knowing only one can be traveled. No matter which route I pursue, Paul reminds me I must walk that road in a manner worthy of the calling with which I have been called (Ephesians 4:1).
At the trailhead of each pathway, I find myself clutching to baggage nicely packed, not just with the accumulation of life’s inventory, but with prudent concerns about livelihood and personal obligations (1 Timothy 5:8). Still, I’m adventurous enough to lighten the load so that, whatever happens on the journey, Christ will be exalted at trail’s end (Philippians 1:20).
Alas, choices must be made with the knowledge that He has given me the responsibility to overcome the dilemma for His glory.
Shall I pitch caution to the wind and consent to a fatalistic approach toward my decision-making criteria? Or, must I cry out for God’s sovereignty to reign supreme in the decisions I make?
King David, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, offers sound wisdom for those vexed at the trailhead for godly decision-making principles.
David was a simple shepherd boy chosen by God (1 Samuel 16:1, 12) to lead Israel through turbulent years. Since David is the only man in Scripture recognized by God as “a man after My heart who will do all My will” (Acts 13:22), it makes sense to mine the depths of his criteria for implementing God-honoring choices.
Psalm 1 is a classic fork in the road illustration. One path leads to prosperity from God’s perspective, and the other trail ends in destruction.
1. Consider what godly decision-makers avoid
A blessed man does not travel with the advice of the wicked who traffic with sinners and scoffers (Psalm. 1:1). David’s son, King Solomon, was the wisest man who ever lived (1 Kings 3:12). He understood a prudent approach to mockers saying, “Drive out the scoffer, and contention will go out, even strife and dishonor will cease” (Proverbs 22:10; 24:9).
2. Observe the actions godly decision-makers pursue
On the positive side of the equation, David says a blessed man is one who delights “in the law of the LORD” as evidenced by the fact that he meditates on God’s Word day and night (Psalm 1:2). A wise decision-maker is the polar opposite of wicked sinning scoffers who do not delight in consuming God’s Word so that honorable decisions can be pursued.
3. Recognize the characteristics of poor decision-makers
Those not thirsting for God’s counsel reject the authority of the Bible as they turn to the latest man-centered fads masquerading as psychological counseling techniques peddled by “scientists” and religious alike who scoff at the authority of God’s Word (2 Timothy 2:16–17).
4. Study the portrait of godly decision-makers
David likens a blessed man to “a tree firmly planted by streams of water which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers” (Psalm 1:3).
Having grown up in the Mojave Desert where the annual rainfall is about eight inches, combined with summer temperatures as high as 115 degrees and where winter temperatures can plummet to subzero, it’s no wonder trees are rare and the ones that do exist are scrappy because water is so scarce.
This is the kind of word picture King David paints so that God’s people graphically comprehend how critical it is to hydrate themselves with the Bible. Jeremiah illustrates the tree metaphor this way:
Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord
And whose trust is the Lord.
For he will be like a tree planted by the water,
That extends its roots by a stream
And will not fear when the heat comes;
But its leaves will be green,
And it will not be anxious in a year of drought
Nor cease to yield fruit.
The heart is more deceitful than all else
And is desperately sick;
Who can understand it?
I, the Lord, search the heart,
I test the mind,
Even to give to each man according to his ways,
According to the results of his deeds.
Both Jeremiah and David understand that God alone knows the depravity of man’s mind which can only be made whole by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8–9) and continual nourishment from His Word alone (John 8:31).
David says ungodly scornful sinners are not like firmly planted, well-hydrated trees. In reality, they are just like scrappy trees in the Mojave Desert or like dead wind-driven chaff in Psalm 1:4.
The blessed man has no business consulting scoffers incapable of understanding the hearts and minds of others. David says these “shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous” (Psalm 1:5).
The blessed man pursues the Lord who searches and tests his heart and mind with pinpoint accuracy (Hebrews 4:12–13) because he trusts in the Lord who “knows the way of the righteous, and that the way of the ungodly will perish” (Psalm 1:6).
David’s conclusion to Psalm 1 leaves me wondering if Jesus had Psalm 1:6 in mind when He told Nicodemus, “This is Judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil” (John 3:19).
When Christ-honoring decisions must be rendered at the proverbial fork in the road, take the two critical actions David offers up in Psalm 1:2:
- Delight in God’s Word
- Meditate on it day and night
The LORD knows the way of the righteous (Psalm 1:6) and His Word is a lamp to their feet and a light to their path (Psalm 119:105).