We have an abundance of thoughts arising from the chapters listed for our reading. For inspiration we cannot go past the first Psalm which starts, “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; but his delight is in …”. These words show us the progression of action by those who do not “delight … in the law of the Lord”.

They start by failing to ignore “the counsel of the wicked”, which confronts us in so many ways. After failing to walk past the wicked and ignore their counsel, they stand and look, and then end up sitting down with them. Many are following this progression. Now look at the second verse. What is the “delight” of the one who walks past? “His delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.” The Hebrew word for ‘law’ is ‘Torah’ and it occurs a lot in scripture. It is the precepts for living and applies to far more than the letter of the laws God gave through Moses. Psalm 119 starts, “Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD! Blessed are those who keep his testimonies, who seek him with their whole heart”. Our Lord Jesus is the best example.

Back in the first Psalm the third verse shows that the one who “meditates day and night” on God’s words, “is like a tree that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers”. Let us be like this kind of tree. We especially note that such trees are “planted by streams of water”. God’s words are “streams of water” and God’s son “cried out, If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water” (John 7:37,38). Are you and I thirsty? Our world has become a spiritual desert, but God’s word gives us the wonderful experience of being “planted by streams of water” – let us not fail to drink from that water every day – and it will then begin to flow out of our heart for the benefit of others. May we feel this happening in 2023.