WEEK 1: LIFE & DEATH
Lent is a time of particular focus on life and death—the coming of life and the curse of sin, death, and evil in us, our relationships, and our world. The Psalms, as Eugene Peterson writes, “give us the equipment for our souls.” In other words, they teach and form us spiritually.
This week’s Scripture is Psalm 1: “The Way of the Living and the Dead.”
Here, we are given the picture of the internal and external power of our hearts to long and lust for either life (righteousness) or death (wickedness). The psalm poetically pictures abundant life: a tree grows by a stream of water with fruit and prosperity. It also depicts the way of death: one who perishes apart from the presence of God.
Psalm 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; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.
Q: Would you describe your current spiritual journey as “wandering in the desert” or “planted by a stream”? Why?
Q: What suffering, perishing, and effects of wickedness do you see in those around you? What withering do you see?
Q: How does the withering you see around you compare to the withering inside you?
Pray for God to reveal the true condition of your soul to you and to lead you through the desert of sin and idolatry to be planted in the life of Christ.
Pray that through this season of fasting you would have a special sensitivity to the suffering of your family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers who are withering and being driven away by the cares of the world.
Thank Christ for the courage of opening yourself up to His work of revealing your wounds and brokenness to you, and pray for confidence, joy, and patience in the process of this transformation.