What does the LORD know? Time and again scripture makes the point that the Creator is aware of all things, “for the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer” as 1 Peter 3:12 tells us, quoting from Psalm 34.

The first Psalm, which we read today, sees David affirming, “For the LORD knows the way of the righteous” (verse 6). In contrast “… the way of the wicked will perish”. They will perish because they do not know, and do not want to know in any detail, the ways of God. Remember there is no middle way, either we know or we don’t.

The Psalms are very stimulating to the spiritual mind. We often feel it is a pity that they are all read in the first three months of the year. We are to learn of God’s ways. Psalm 18 tells us, “This God – his way is perfect; the word of the LORD proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him” (verse 30). The way of the righteous is described wonderfully in the first two verses of Psalm 1. “Blessed is the man (margin, ‘godly person’) 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 the law (margin, instruction) of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night”.

David is marking the stepping-stones of progress in overcoming ungodly ways. First, he (or she) walks past such ways, and then there is no chance to stop and look at such ways, still less to sit down and share a seat with them.

The result is that those pursuing the way of righteousness are “like a tree planted by streams of water … in all that he (or she) does” (verse 3); they prosper – especially spiritually – and, “even though” they, like David, may have times when they “walk through the valley of the shadow of death. I will fear no evil, for you are with me …” (Psalm 23:4).

May we all read and meditate (note the word ‘meditate’ in Psalm 73:3,6,12) on God’s word throughout this new year, knowing that “the LORD knows the way of the righteous”.