You’ve heard of the famous “fork in the road”?
Besides bringing to mind a much-quoted Robert Frost poem (in which he never refers to a fork), the idea of choosing a road to follow is an ancient biblical metaphor.
Proverbs 14:12 declares, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.”
In D’varim (Deuteronomy) 30:15, Moshe makes the choice clear to the Hebrews: “See, I set before you today life and prosperity, (or) death and destruction.” The choice is ours, and the consequences of our choice are made quite clear in the verses that follow.
Y’shua also mentions this choice in Matthew 7:13-14, in which he says, “…narrow is the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
In the same vein, the first psalm, Psalm 1, lays a solid foundation for the entire collection of psalms by echoing this choice between righteousness and wickedness.
“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;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.”
For many years, this “opening” psalm has been what I consider to be my “life verse.” That means I consider it to be what represents the deepest core of my faith walk. The central part of the psalm contains that beautiful poetic imagery about being “like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither.” Those words are comforting and encouraging; a triumphant promise of goodness.
Yet overall, this psalm presents once again that choice that echoes what YHVH told the Hebrews when they were in the wilderness. Boiled down to its barest essence, Psalm 1 says, “Love God and live. Don’t love God and die.”
Why do we convince ourselves the decision is difficult?
It is just that simple.