Psalm 1:1–2 (ESV)
1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 2but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.
Whoever chooses to live in accordance with the counsel of the Lord, and not according to the humanistic counsel of men, is the one who is truly happy. However, in order to live according to the counsel of God, you must first learn what His counsel is. If you never learn His truth and His ways, you will never be able to discern His ways apart from false ways, or His counsel apart from human counsel.
When my children were young, I began to require that they clean up their room before they started their day. However, what I quickly discovered was that my kids were not innately born with the knowledge of my definition for “clean”. Bummer, huh? I had to literally show them what a clean room looked like so that they could actually do what I had asked them to do. For those of you who run a business, you have probably learned this same lesson with your employees. You cannot tell your employees to be courteous to customers and assume they know what you mean. You must actually teach them what “courteous” means to you so that they will clearly know what you expect of them. Bummer again, eh? Why can’t everyone just know what we mean?
This same basic principle also applies to the Lord and us. We were created in the image of God but we are no longer in His image (Genesis 1-3). Therefore, what we think is right and loving to us may not, and usually is not, what is right and loving to God. Therefore, we are in need of being re-taught His truth because His truth and ways are no longer intrinsically a part of our nature.
I believe that Scripture memory is one of the main ways that God uses to teach us His truth by His Spirit. When we delight in the law of God and meditate on it day and night, His truth confronts and transforms our false ways of thinking and feeling. When His truth is in our minds and near to our hearts, there is less of a chance for us to veer away from it. His Word in our heart is like a rope attached to a tetherball. The ball may be beaten by the advice of the world and smacked around by our own thoughts of what is right and good, but His truth, the law of the Lord, is what keeps us circling around the center of His ways, His thoughts, Himself.
When we are intimately acquainted with His Word, His ways become clearer to us and we are better able to discern the difference between His counsel and the counsel of the “wicked”. As a result, we can choose His way more deliberately and begin to experience the happiness of soul that the Psalmist declares at the very beginning of Psalm 1.