The Progressive Nature of Sin

In life there are many cases where events do not happen suddenly but instead over a steady progression of time. This ebbing change may lead to cultural, political, or some other form of upheaval, which is a great shift taking several very small steps. This is also true of many who engage willfully in sinful practices. It is not common for someone to dive into the deepest depths of depravity, but to instead follow a path which, by attrition, ends oneself in the exact same place.

Psalm 1

A Change of Direction

The Psalmist had such a progression in his mind when he penned the words of Psalm 1. The psalm begins with a metaphor of a man on a particular “walk” through life which is interrupted by the first event of change:

How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked…

begins verse 1 (NASU), describing a change of direction. The walk of man follows a particular path, and it seems the cursed man (by his own decision) refuses the path of wisdom, but instead chooses to follow after the counsel (recommendation, teaching, worldview, etc.) of the wicked. From this change of direction, a new, worthless direction is set.

A Digression

The Psalmist continues in verse 1 to describe a more permanent digression from righteousness:

…Nor stand in the path of sinners…

describes two important thoughts. First, the action has changed from “walk” to “stand” describing a cessation of movement. The man does not seem to have any particular goal or impetus to continue in the path of life. This can be quite a true representation, describing one whose focus has changed to self-pleasure and sees no need to continue his life journey.

Second, the man is now firmly in the “path” (or “way”) of sinners, having left completely the direction of righteousness. This was not the original goal, but the direct result of following the “counsel of the wicked”.

The End Result

The Psalmist finishes verse 1 by describing the end result of such a digression:

Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!

describes two important thoughts as well. First, the action has been replaced with inaction, taking a comfortable resting pose when one should be walking the path of life. There is no greater waste than to choose to sit rather than choose to walk the path set forth by God. Second, this man has joined the “scoffers”, describing those who make fun of and attack those who are still choosing to walk the path of life. They are not merely a detriment to their own life choices, but seek to cause destruction in others.

A Subtle Danger

This progression does not happen immediately, but when sin is embraced a similar progression is certain. For many who have chosen to walk away from the righteous path, great surprise comes one later day when they realize where they are now “sitting”. Do not be fooled by wicked counsel.

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