When I was a teenager, I wanted badly to be in a relationship, to have someone to share every thought and moment with, someone who would understand and love me. So I began dating a boy who seemed to tick all the boxes—kind, smart, thoughtful. But he wasn’t a Christian.
I knew that the Bible warned against partnering with unbelievers (2 Corinthians 6:14). However, I went down a path of deceit to continue being with him. Eventually, I stopped reading my Bible because I didn’t want to face God’s truth. Over time, my heart hardened as I actively tuned out God’s voice and silenced any prompting from Him.
When the truth came out, my family was deeply hurt that I had lied and disobeyed their loving instruction to wait for the right time and person. I saw how painful it was for my parents to see me rejecting God’s ways, and to have to second-guess every word I said until I regained their trust.
It was unfortunate that it took such terrible consequences for me to repent, but it was ultimately God’s mercy, showing me how far I had strayed from Him.
Psalm 1 opens with a contrast of the two paths set before us: the way of the righteous, who delight in God’s commands; and the way of the wicked, who spurn God’s law.
Unlike the wicked who ignore God’s teachings, the righteous delight in meditating on the law of the Lord (v. 2). They read and apply God’s Word in their life, treasuring the understanding it gives them to make wise choices. The psalmist likens them to a flourishing tree that bears fruit in season (v. 3).
Just as the tree’s well-watered roots yield evergreen leaves, tending to our spiritual health—by staying rooted in God’s Word—rewards us with lasting joy and peace. When I returned to His Word again, God opened my eyes to who He is and what He wants for me—how He’s brought me into a personal relationship with Himself and is working in me to bear the fruit of the Spirit that brings life (Galatians 5:22-23).
By contrast, when I chose to ignore God and put my relationship above all else, I became restless and unhappy. My disobedience and the ensuing guilt only served to cut me off from God’s Word and from other believers, which led to a decline in my spiritual health and a dry and fruitless season in my life.
Verse 3 talks about how the righteous prosper and are “blessed”—meaning “happy” in the original Hebrew—not because of material abundance or accomplishments, but because they’re under God’s care and protection for walking in His path.
When I wilfully turned from God, I was fearful about not being under His favour. Though God had not abandoned me, I knew I couldn’t go to Him with my worries since I was not willing to listen to Him in the first place.
The psalm ends by reaffirming that “the Lord watches over the way of the righteous” (v. 6). It was God who helped me recognise the unhealthy state of my spiritual life and encouraged me to trust in His sovereignty and love—if He sent His only Son to die for my sins, surely He loves me and has a good plan for my life.
Though it was painful to end the relationship, God comforted me as I again placed my hope and trust in Him. Years later, He led me to meet my loving, God-fearing, soon-to-be husband, and showed me the goodness of a relationship that’s centred on Him.
Today, let us persevere in following God and His ways, and choose to let His Word shape our hearts. As we do so, He will increasingly align our desires with His and enable us to live happy, fruitful lives that will reap the harvest of eternal life (Galatians 6:8-9).
—Huey Nin Woon
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