The counsel of the wicked
(Arthur Pink, "The Blessed Man")
Conversion is the soul's surrender to God, and acceptance of God--as Guide through this world of sin.
"Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked." Psalm 1:1
Notice exactly how this is expressed--it is not "does not walk in the open wickedness" nor even "the manifest folly of the wicked," but "does not walk in the counsel of the wicked." How searching that is! How it narrows things down!
The ungodly are ever ready to "counsel" the believer, seeming to be very solicitous of his welfare. They will warn him against being too strict and extreme, advising him to be broad-minded and to "make the best of both worlds." But the policy of the "ungodly"--that is, of those who leave God out of their lives, who have no "fear of God"--is regulated by self-will and self-pleasing, and is dominated by what they call "common sense."
Alas, how many professing Christians regulate their lives by the advice and suggestions of ungodly friends and relatives--heeding such "counsel" in their business career, their social life, the furnishing and decorating of their homes, their dress and diet, and the choice of school or avocation for their children!
But not so with the "blessed man." He "does not walk in the counsel of the wicked." Rather is he afraid of it, no matter how plausible it sounds, or apparently good the intention of those who offer it. He shuns it, and says "Get behind me, Satan!"
Why? Because Divine grace has taught him that he has something infinitely better to direct his steps. God has given him a Divine revelation, dictated by unerring wisdom, suited to his every need and circumstance, designed as a "lamp unto his feet and a light unto his path." His desire and his determination is to walk by the wholesome counsel of God, and not by the corrupt counsel of the ungodly.
The "blessed man" does not walk according to the maxims of the world. "But his delight is in the Law of the Lord." "The carnal mind is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the Law of God" (Romans 8:7). The worldling seeks his "delight" in the entertainment furnished by those who scorn spiritual and eternal things. Not so the "blessed" man--his "delight" is in something infinitely superior to what this perishing world can supply, namely, in the Divine Scriptures. The unregenerate delight in pleasing self--but the joy of the Christian lies in pleasing God. His Word is the daily bread of the "blessed" man.
"And in His Law, he meditates day and night" (Psalm 1:2). Thereby does he evidence his "delight" therein--for where his treasure is, there is his heart also! Here, then, is the occupation of the blessed man. The voluptuary thinks only of satisfying his senses; the giddy youth is concerned only with sports and pleasures; the man of the world directs all his energies to the securing of wealth and honors; but the "blessed" man's determination is to please God, and in order to obtain a better knowledge of His will, he meditates day and night in His holy Word. Thereby is light obtained, its sweetness extracted, and the soul nourished!
"Your Words were found, and I ate them; and Your Word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of my heart!" (Jeremiah 15:16). Meditation stands to reading--as digestion does to eating. It is as God's Word is pondered by the mind, turned over and over in the thoughts, and mixed with faith--that we assimilate it. That which most occupies the mind and most constantly engages our thoughts--is what we most "delight" in.
"He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season." Fruit is an essential character of a gracious man, for there are no fruitless branches in the true Vine. "In season," for all fruits do not appear in the same month, neither are all the graces of the Spirit produced simultaneously.
Times of trial--call for faith.
Times of suffering--call for patience.
Times of disappointment--call for meekness.
Times of danger--call for courage.
Times of blessings--call for thanksgiving.
Times of prosperity--call for joy.
How far, dear reader, do you resemble this "blessed man"?