In the Seat of Scoffers

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“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.”
–Psalm 1:1

When I hear this verse quoted, it’s usually as a warning about hanging out with the wrong people and putting ourselves in bad situations. However, I think that means that we miss the last line most of the time–“nor sits in the seat of scoffers.”

Now what does that mean exactly? Wesley’s commentary suggests that these scoffers “make a mock of sin, and scoff at goodness and good men.” That is, these people don’t just participate in sin, they make it a joke. They laugh at the good things and people around them. So often we attribute these characteristics to the worst people imaginable–but what if this line is about us?

What if we are the scoffer who laughs at the production of a play or the presentation of a work of art because we don’t understand it? What if we are the mocker who dismisses someone’s spiritual questions as hostile and foolish arguments? What if we are the scornful who can’t recognize a good thing if it’s sitting in front of us? Suddenly we aren’t the blessed man, and we need to pray like King David:

“Who can discern his errors?
Declare me innocent from hidden faults.
Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins;
let them not have dominion over me!”
–Psalm 19:12-13

We mistake our own pride for righteousness and mock the goodness God shows us in His Creation. How desperately we need forgiveness!

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