If it happens in the not-so-distant future that you are arrested simply for teaching someone about Jesus, how are you going to respond? How you respond will be based on what has shaped your image of the good life.
Psalms 1 and 2 express two different images of life under God—as a flourishing tree, or as an oppressive bondage. Which image controls you will determine your path and your ultimate destiny.
The wicked imagination of God’s rule that we discussed last week has been enacted throughout history. Think about the serpent’s counsel to Eve: Did God really command that you not eat of the tree? That’s burdensome! He just knows you will become like him. Burst that bond apart and eat the fruit.
Or think about the Tower of Babel. God had commanded Noah and his sons to “be fruitful and multiply, increase greatly on the earth and multiply in it.” But their descendants migrated together east, and they said, That’s burdensome! Cast away that cord from us. “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” What God meant as a blessing for them, they saw as restraining.
Or think about the Israelites. God gave them the law of Moses, and he said, “And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth.”
And the Hebrews said, that’s burdensome! If we want peace in the land, we need to intermarry with the Canaanites, contrary to God’s law. And if we want our crops to grow, we need to worship Baal, the god of the storm. And if we want to have children, we need to worship Ashtaroth, the god of fertility. Let us burst those bonds apart and cast away the cords from us. They wanted the good life, but their wrong image of life under the rule of God—their imagining a vain thing—led them to cast off what they saw as restrictive bonds and cords, when actually the commands God gave them were the path toward true flourishing.