This week we begin with Question 42 of the New City Catechism, found in Part 3 (questions 36-52), which focuses on the Spirit, restoration, and growing in grace.
Question 42: How is the Word of God to be read and heard?
Answer: With diligence, preparation, and prayer; so that we may accept it with faith, store it in our hearts, and practice it in our lives.
Psalm 1 lays out for us two divergent paths of life: one that follows the leading of the Word of God (vv. 1-3), and the other that follows the voices of unbelief in this world (vv. 4-6). The man who delights in the law of the Lord gives no heed to the rhetoric of the wicked, sinners, and scoffers who defy God with their actions and seek to lead others into doing so. The righteous man meditates on the law of the Lord day and night (v. 3), acknowledging by doing so that he does not have the resources within himself to live well in this world.
We must give ourselves diligently to the Word of God by reading it daily, meditating on its truths by thinking them over from every angle and by asking questions of what we read. We must seek to apply what we read in Scripture to our own lives and use Scripture as a launchpad for our own prayers. And we must orient our lives corporately to the reading and preaching of God's Word as we gather weekly with the church. If it is true that man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord (Deut. 8:3), then we should build into our lives the habits that regularly expose us to the reading, hearing, and exposition of Scripture. Our very lives depend on it.
Suggested passage for personal or family reading: Psalm 1. Who are the two kinds of people mentioned in this psalm? What makes them different from each other? What does this psalm teach us about how to live our lives?