Many years ago, I was a Youth Pastor at a small church in North Carolina near Duke University. One time we were on a bus going on a retreat, and I heard several of the students singing a song that was popular and current on the radio.. I won’t get into the specifics, but the lyrics were clearly sexual in nature, and when I asked them about it the kids were pretty embarrassed. They had picked up the words and message, without really thinking about it, because they heard the songs over and over. That is how meditation works. Each of us has memorized lyrics, slogans, movie and TV dialogue without intentionally trying to, due to repeated exposure. Because repetition has such power to influence our memory and thinking, we need to be careful what we regularly expose ourselves to. That is what the writer of Psalm 1 is getting at in our reading today.
“Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. 2 But they delight in the law of the LORD, meditating on it day and night. 3 They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.”
Psalm 1:1-3 (NLT)
We can’t escape being exposed to poor advice or ungodly thinking, but we can exercise care, by filtering what we hear and read, through the truth of the Bible. “Delighting in the law”, means valuing God’s Word as the most important instruction we have for living. Daily reading, learning and applying what the Bible teaches in all areas of our life is a guaranteed to make us wise, protected, resilient, and joyful.