My maternal grandfather’s favourite Psalm was Psalm 1. In it the author gives some very practical life principles which have guided generations of both Jews and Christians.
This morning, in a remote part of the north west highlands of Scotland, I shared a little on this subject with a small group of friends who meet regularly in their village to worship together. However, as I read Psalm 1 again publicly this morning, I was struck afresh by the danger posed by the scorners chair. Of course my rendering of the words in the title comes from part of the metrical version of the Psalm which I, and many of my contemporaries, sang as children –
That man hath perfect blessedness,
who walketh not astray
In counsel of ungodly men,
nor stands in sinners’ way,
Nor sitteth in the scorner’s chair:
But placeth his delight
Upon God’s law, and meditates
on his law day and night.
Although verse 1 was my subject this morning – it was verse 2 which struck me forcefully as I read it.
I have a passionate aversion to mockery. I hate seeing people being mocked – particularly so when those doing the mocking claim to be Christian.
I remember some time ago now coming across an online debate by a group of very well know and highly respected “reformed” theologians regarding the Charismatic movement. I was appalled and incensed at their mockery of fellow believers who held a different view from theirs. And this is not at all rare in my experience. I have also seen Christian leaders mocking the worship and songs of a new generation – as if only their form of worship is the one God has any time for. Perhaps they are unaware of Psalm 1 and its warning against sitting in the scorners chair.
It is both instructive and alarming to note that placings oneself in the seat of the scorner is linked with such behaviour as taking the advice and council of the ungodly and walking in the path of sinners. It is considered a “wicked way” which will, in the worlds of the metrical version of the Psalm, ultimately, be overthrown.
I believe that the scorners chair has no place among true Christians. I believe that when it is carried in to the body of the church only division and disunity will result. And so I plead – give no place to the scorners chair in your life or in your church.