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The Psalms

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Prayer:
For the past several months I’ve been contemplating where we would head after Easter.
It wasn’t really clear to me where we were going to head until this past Monday.
Up until this point in time, as AFBC, we’ve only gone through an OLD TESTAMENT survey for a particular sermon series regarding the OT...
…and so I wanted to try and get back into the OT.
The Psalms is one of the most popular (probably the most popular) books in the Bible...
What the Psalms is - It’s really a hymnbook of the people of God at worship...
And what it does is:
it takes the basic themes of OT theology and it turns them into song.
And so some of the themes we’ll see as we go thru this series include:
Monotheism: The One true God. And that every human being must know and LOVE this God.
Creation and the Fall: Even though man was created in the image of God, all people since the fall are saturated in sin and separation FROM God that only God’s grace can heal.
Election and Covenant: That the One true God chose a people for Himself…and BOUND Himself to them through His covenant promise.
Covenant Membership: That in His covenant, God offers His people grace, forgiveness of sins, an opportunity to glorify Him among the people’s of all nations, and a part to play in bringing His sheep into His fold.
Eschatology: That all of this is headed toward a GLORIOUS future...
Now regarding Authorship, I think it’s a common thought that David wrote the Psalms...
That’s partly true...
It seems that David wrote at least half of them.
Other authors include:
the sons of Korah (11 Psalms)
Asaph (12 Psalms)
Solomon (possibly 2 psalms)
Moses (1)
There are other Psalms which do not state the author...
Just so you know, we’re not going to go through each and every Psalm…doing so would take us about 3 years to get through the entire Book...
Instead we’ll jump through the Book, pulling out certain ones as we go.
And so today we’re going to start with the first psalm...
This first psalm is a short one, only 6 verses, but there’s a lot of truth within it.
Let’s go ahead and read through it, and then circle back to dive in.
Psalm 1 ESV
1 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; 2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. 3 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. 4 The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. 5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; 6 for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.
After reading through this Psalm…what’s really highlighted is the reality that there are really only 2 types of people who walk this earth.
There are 2 different kinds of people - who exist.
the Righteous
the Wicked
Now, i think, EVERYONE, whether you are a church goer or NOT, when you hear the word “WICKED” you think - THAT’S NOT ME!
Right? I mean, that’s a pretty STRONG WORD, and that’s not me!
I’m not WICKED!
Well - to that statement, I hope we all would know where to direct someone in the Bible...
take them to Romans 3:10-12
Romans 3:10–12 ESV
10 as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; 11 no one understands; no one seeks for God. 12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”
We’ve read Genesis 6:5
Genesis 6:5 ESV
5 The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
And so we see that according to GOD - this is reality for us...
And in this Psalm today, we find 2 paths - the way of the Righteous....and the way of the Wicked.
Looking back at verse 1 we see this:
Psalm 1:1 ESV
1 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;
It starts with this phrase - BLESSED is the man...
Happy is the man
It’s like going to a Restaurant, sitting down, and finding out that God is the cook.
The waiter comes and asks - What do you want?
And you say - I want to be HAPPY
And he DOESN’T give you a weird look - INSTEAD he says - Perfect…here you go...
…and he hands you a menu
AND you think - Ok, this is what i need to be TRULY HAPPY
NOW - do we fully grasp the meaning of this word “BLESSED”??
Let’s look elsewhere in Scripture to see:
Psalm 32:1–2 ESV
1 Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. 2 Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
So Blessedness is the state of heart whose - SINS are forgiven - whose sin is COVERED!
BLESSED is the one whom the LORD counts NO iniquity
if we truly understood this - we’d be unable to speak...
This is the kind of BLESSEDNESS we’re talking about...
Psalm 34:8 ESV
8 Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
Blessed is he who takes REFUGE in the Lord
In this GOOD God - we are ETERNALLY secure!
BLESSED is the man who OWNS this! Who has tasted this...
Psalm 65:4 ESV
4 Blessed is the one you choose and bring near, to dwell in your courts! We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house, the holiness of your temple!
BLESSED is the one You CHOOSE and bring NEAR...
BLESSED is the one who DWELLS with the Lord...
We SHALL BE SATISFIED
This BLESSEDNESS is a satisfaction in the presence of God!
Psalm 89:15 ESV
15 Blessed are the people who know the festal shout, who walk, O Lord, in the light of your face,
Blessed are those who WALK in the LIGHT of the face of the Lord...
There’s a BRIGHTNESS - a deep rooted JOYFUL contentment for those in the Lord...
Who doesn’t WANT to be happy?
Have you been looking for happiness the past several years?
Maybe a loved one broke your heart...
Maybe you LOST a loved one...
The God we serve KNOWS where happiness lies…and he helps us here...
Now, what does this verse say?
The first thing it says is - Hey, YOU want to be happy, then don’t DO THESE THINGS...
Psalm 1:1 ESV
1 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;
“Happy 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.”
There seems to be this progression of compliance here...
from WALKING in the counsel of the wicked (hearing advice (words))
to STANDING in the way (path) of sinners (you stop are now pointing in the direction of evil)
to SITTING in the seat of scoffers (have a seat at the table of those who BRAG about their sin)
And so this really does cover ALL the bases...
You may NOT NOW sit in the seat of scoffers....but this seems to be saying - If you WALK in the counsel in the wicked...
…you WILL one day be SITTING in the SEAT of scoffers...
And this VERY MUCH points to the reality that WHO you choose to spend time with in your life...
the people that you hang out with...
..CAN MOST CERTAINLY affect your walk with the Lord…and as we’ll see from the text…YOUR HAPPINESS!
We’ve seen this - have we not?
We’ve seen our kids, our teens, start hanging out with the wrong crowd, the wrong person...
....and it begins to change our kids...
…they begin to become LIKE those they hang out with!
BUT does this happen ONLY to our kids?
NO -
We see time and time again - the most faithful men in scripture - FALL to sin...
I saw an article this week titled this:
SLIDE:
If They Fell, So Can You: How Sin Seduced the Strongest, Wisest, and Godliest

If They Fell, So Can You

Regarding Samson, sin overpowered the strongest man, and it can take you out too...
Solomon had matchless wisdom, yet was outsmarted by sin’s schemes...
David was a man after God’s own heart, yet David’s heart was lured by the beauty of sin...
The strongest, wisest, and Godliest men, all overtaken by sin...
And so CLEARLY we too can be overtaken...
whether you’re a dad, a mom, a Sunday school teacher, or a pastor...
We’re all vulnerable!
BUT as we’ll see from the text, this isn’t about behavior management!
This text isn’t merely saying - JUST HANG OUT WITH CHRISTIANS!
This isn’t merely saying - DON’T WALK in the counsel of the wicked…or STAND in the way of sinners....or SIT in the seat of scoffers
these 3 words (WALK, STAND, SIT) are pointing to groups of people...
and the text isn’t telling us to just FIND BETTER PEOPLE!
How do we know this?
v2
Psalm 1:1–2 ESV
1 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; 2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.
What i want you to notice is the first 3 words of VERSE 2...
what is this saying...
It’s saying: The KIND of walking, standing, and sitting being done in verse 1, is a “DELIGHTING IN” those things...
Based on verse 2 - we see that we could actually REMOVE the words (WALKS, STANDS, SITS), and replace each word with the word - DELIGHTS
What it’s saying is this -
Blessed is the man who DELIGHTS not in the counsel of the wicked, nor DELIGHTS in the way of sinners, nor DELIGHTS in the seat of scoffers, but his delight is in....
Remember - this is OT
And a lot of times we think well - the OT was all about WORKS, and the NT is about LOVE...
NO
Christianity is DEEPER than - DOING…it’s about - FEELING -
What does your heart DELIGHT in?
We know there are PLENTY of people who attend church on Sunday mornings, and yet who’s hearts are - IN LOVE with the world!
And yet we see here that those who TRULY WORSHIP God…
…are those who...
Psalm 1:2 ESV
2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.
In Life - we either DRAW from the law of God and His counsel...
OR we draw from the wisdom of the world!
One path leads to HAPPINESS and the other path leads to MISERY
And TRUE worshippers of God - delight themselves in the WAYS of God...
What does this LOOK like?
Psalm 1:3 ESV
3 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.
A tree, on it’s own....will die!
It needs SOMETHING outside of itself - to LIVE...
it RELIES on the water to LIVE...
Not only that - but it’s because of the water that the TREE BEARS FRUIT...
The tree is sustained by the water...
The psalmist is telling us - this is a PICTURE of the true worshipper of God...
The TRUE WORSHIPPER of God is SUSTAINED by something OUTSIDE of himself!
sustained by the TRUTH of God! The Law of God!
The TRUE Worshipper CONTINUALLY draws LIFE from God’s Word...
PLANTS himself by God’s WORD...
Always looking for ways to DRAW from the Word...
I always harp on Bible Study here...
You know why? - Because it’s outside of the CLICHE of Sunday Mornings...
A TRUE Worshipper of God is ALWAYS drawing life…from the Word
meditating on God’s word DAY AND NIGHT! (v2)
And BECAUSE that’s the case…FRUIT HAPPENS!
TRUE Worshippers of God - YIELD fruit!
Do trees EAT their own fruit?
NO - the fruit of the vine is the for the sake of - OTHERS!
As Christians, we PLANT ourselves by the water of the WORD - so that we might bear fruit - FOR THE BENEFIT of OTHERS!
Don’t EVER forget - THIS is YOUR CHURCH! (we talked about it last night at the dinner)
To the degree that you are concerned for the community surrounding us...
…to that degree you will get involved here* (concerned / not concerned)
As Christians, we PLANT ourselves by the water of the WORD - so that we might bear fruit - FOR THE BENEFIT of OTHERS!
Not only does the water help the tree bear fruit, but it also helps sustain the tree in times of TROUBLE...
Let’s look at Jeremiah 17 to see a similar picture...
Jeremiah 17:7–8 ESV
7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. 8 He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
No fear when the HEAT comes!
Not anxious in the year of the drought!
How many times do we get anxious in a DAY?
Anxious with work
the kids
health
money / church
Do you see what God’s WORD will do for us?
We talked about it LAST WEEK!
It keeps our FEAR directed at God!
It helps to keep us from worrying about those things..
work
kids
health
money
ALL of these things will FADE...
And HIS WORD sustains that thought in our hearts and minds!
And we’re STRENGTHENED!
STRENGTHENED.....and Overjoyed!!!
When our FEAR is IN THE LORD - our JOY is strengthened!
But that’s not the case with the Wicked! Those who are guilty before God. Those who have not bowed the knee to Jesus Christ
Psalm 1:4 ESV
4 The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
SLIDE: Chaff
In the farming process, Wheat needs to be threshed in order to remove the husks and straw from the edible kernels...
The husks and the straw is known as the CHAFF
And so when a farmer tosses THRESHED wheat into the air, the WIND will carry away the chaff...
…leaving what’s USEFUL - the edible kernels...
And so what the psalmist is saying is - Those who reject God...
Those who reject God’s covenant - are like the chaff...
Compared to the Tree planted by streams of water - they DON’T produce fruit...
They don’t BENEFIT ANYONE!
Those who reject God are CARRIED away by the winds of:
tragedy
loss
greed
pride
They are UNSTABLE in life…content in hopelessness!
And a LOT of times, that looks like a PEACEFUL existence...
*Do you know anyone like this?
Someone that you know that has not accepted Christ…and yet they live as though they have PEACE...
Not a care in the world about what’s coming after the grave...
This person has been carried away by the winds of pride....Pride in self...
they don’t believe they need God.
And this says exactly the opposite!
Psalm 1:5 ESV
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
We see the word that begins this verse, and we can conclude that the first 4 verses were really painting a picture of 2 paths in life...
And how each path leads to its own END.
And the contrast here shows that God will make the CONTRAST last forever!
The way of the Righteous is lined with favor, and blessing...
and the way of the Wicked leads to a final fall.
Now I don’t know if you heard or not, but apparently this past week, the pope explained that in his view, there is no hell...
that for those who reject God, they end up disappearing...
and that there is no eternal punishment...
NOW - the Vatican ended up denying he made those statements, but none-the-less, there are many out there that believe there is no eternal punishment for the lost.
The Bible on the other hand, makes it clear that there is.
Matthew 25:29–31 ESV
29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.
Revelation 20:12–14 ESV
12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. 13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. 14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.
And so, we see here that hell is real...
Eternal punishment is real...
It has to be real…why?
Because if eternal glory and holiness are real...
then eternal punishment must be real…why? - SIN
It is real....and it’s the final destination for those who reject the God of Scripture...
Psalm 1:6 ESV
6 for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.
Now, what does this message do for Christians?
Hopefully it reminds us to keep our eyes on Eternity...
that eternal happiness awaits us...
NOT ONLY THAT, but that you can have that happiness now…that peace now...
in THIS life...
IF - we plant ourselves by the Streams of LIVING WATER...
IF we take in the water of the Word!
AND
That if we decide to tinker with sin…it will destroy us!
We’ll find ourselves walking in it’s counsel...
THEN - standing in it’s path...
AND THEN - sitting and boasting in it!
Be on guard Christian!
We serve a God of pure JOY…the fullness of JOY is in His right hand...
Pursue HIM, and we’ll taste it!
Let’s pray...
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