“but their delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law they meditate day and night.” (Psalm 1:2 NIV)
The other day I caught a report concerning excess of nitrates in the water in one of the communities in which our family once lived. having gone through this before in that neighborhood, I said a quick prayer for all of our friends who live and work there. The excess is, for most, simply an inconvenience. You need to be careful, drink bottled water etc., until the nitrates have been flushed out of the water supply.
One sip of nitrate infused water wouldn’t cause much if nay harm. But a steady supply of it could slowly but surly cause some severe physical issues. The anger is that you don’t notice the effects right away. The toxins have to build up in your system.
Reading that reminded me of an incident I read about years ago where a woman systematically murdered two husbands by slowly poisoning them. She gave them such small doses that they never noticed. But over the time the toxins began to build up and eventually killed them. So ingenious was she that she might never have been caught if she hadn’t tried the same thing on a third husband. He became ill, grew suspicious and his Doctor ran a battery of tests looking for poisons in his body.
Hopefully we have he good sense to listen to health reports in our communities. And I most certainly hope that none of us ever has to face someone trying to poison us. It doesn’t mean though, that we are not at risk to long-term exposure to toxins that can be every bit as deadly to us.
One of the things we fail to participate, as Christians, is that our souls are as susceptible to toxins as are our bodies. Our souls can, when exposed to things that are toxic over a long period of time, eventually become poisoned.
There are all sorts of things that can poison our souls. Long term exposure to sin will certainly do that. If we feed our souls the wrong thing, if we feast on the wrong things in life, not only will our souls become malnourished, but in time they can be poisoned.
It can happen so slowly we may not even notice it. Last week we experienced loss of life and tragedy in our country. Enough has been written about those situations, and by better writers than I, so I will not address that there. But over the next few days I saw so much anger and hatred on many sides, spew out on social media. I found myself getting caught up in it. I found myself wanting to respond, often in the same vein as those who wrote. It was as if their anger spurred my own. Thankfully the Holy Spirit caught me short and I thought to myself, “This has become toxic to my soul.” The constant feeding on anger was beginning to poison my own spirit. So I had to draw away from it for a few days.
Please hear me. I am not saying the church should not engage in these issues. Of course we should. As the church we are the only ones who can point to the true answer in Jesus. But we cannot do it when our Spirits have become poisoned themselves. We can’t feed on toxicity all the time and assume we can avoid a build up of poison.
I found myself needing to draw away and spend more time in the presence of the Lord. I need to detox, if you will. I think that’s at the heart of what David is saying in this first Psalm. We are blessed when we meditate on the word of God day and night. David wasn’t advising us to go off and become monks somewhere cut off from life. No, he was asking us to take care about where we feed our souls. He was advocating a lifestyle where we take the time to feed on God’s word and be filled with his presence less the toxic nature of this world get the better of us.
Sometimes drawing away, feding on the presence of the Lord and His word before we react can be the best things we can do. It allows us to be more Christ like, be more loving and walk more humbly. It also allows us to become sensitive to the movement of the Holy Spriit.
So be careful; what feeds your spirit. Learn the delight of enjoying the presence of the Lord.
Rev. Dr. Brian Jones <><