“Blessed is the man that has not walked in the counsel (ἐν βουλῇ) of the ungodly…” (Ps 1: 1)
It’s tricky to discern what is “the counsel of the ungodly,” particularly when it is offered to us by friends. This often happens at times when we are especially vulnerable and disoriented by our own shortcomings, like a long-standing resentment against a problematic colleague, boss, or relative, or like a long-standing obsession or frustration with some person or thing. Our friends might step in, at such times, to “support” us with advice that is, actually, “ungodly.” I’ve observed that this happens not primarily because they, our friends, are “ungodly,” but because we, in certain states of un-godly delusion/disorientation that is deaf to God’s voice, and in our presentation of the “facts” to our friends, tend to cajole them into the type of “counsel” we want to hear. These days we also do this in our politics, seeking out the sorts of voices and information we want to hear.
Today let me re-focus on God’s word, as I read this beautiful psalm. And let me have honesty, that is to say, humility, whenever I seek out the “counsel” of others. “Blessed is the man that has not walked in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stood in the way of sinners, nor sat in the seat of the pestilent. But his will is rather in the law of the Lord, and in his law will he meditate day and night. And he shall be like the tree which is planted by the streams of the waters…”