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How Deep Are Your Roots

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How Deep Are Your Roots?

Psalm 1:1-6

Introduction

        Do you know what makes a tumbleweed so susceptible to the wind?  Tumbleweeds only put down one root, and that root is very shallow.  So, tumbleweeds are easily uprooted when the wind blows.  Soon the tumbleweed is blowing wherever the wind pushes it, without any sense of direction or stability.

        Contrast a tumbleweed with a tree, like a sequoia, that puts down lots of roots, and the roots go deep.  Even in the midst of strong winds, sequoias stand firm, because their root structure is strong and deep.

        Is your spiritual life more like a tumbleweed or a sequoia?

If you only have one or two roots in your spiritual life and these roots don’t go very deep, you stand the risk of constantly being uprooted when the breeze of business and routine start to blow and the winds of suffering and tragedy take hold.

But if you have deep spiritual roots, you’ll find yourself standing firm no matter what comes into your life.  Even though life doesn’t hurt any less for you, and even though you still struggle with the same questions and issues everyone asks, your faith keeps you strong.

You face uncertainty with courage, suffering with hope, and tragedy with confidence because your roots go deep.

There are choices we have to make in life and without a secure foundation; we will be tossed around by the circumstances around us.

I once read a story about a little girl who lived in the late 1800’s.  At the age of six, a doctor was treating her inflamed eyes and accidentally blinded her.  When she was eight years old, she wrote these words:

        “Oh what a happy child I am, although I cannot see.

I am resolved that in this world, contented I will be.

How many blessings I enjoy that other people don’t.

To weep and sigh because I’m blind, I can’t and I

won’t.”

 

That same young girl grew up to become a saint of the American Church.  Fanny Crosby was her name.  I cannot image the difficulties that she must have faced in the time she grew up in, or the advice that she might have received, but her roots were firmly planted in the truths of God.  As a result, we have songs such as “Tell Me the Story of Jesus,” “Blessed Assurance, Jesus Is Mine,” and “He Hideth My Soul.”

 

If we make the choice to busy ourselves with the advice of the world, we may miss the blessing that God has in store for us.

A couple of months ago, I was busy trying to get ready for a class in Ft. Worth.  Sarah Beth had been wanting to go outside for some time and I finally gave in.

As we stepped outside, she spotted some flowers that were growing in our corner flower garden.  She asked me if it was O. K. to cut Jackie some “viruses.”   I decided to let her cut them her own way.  As we brought them in, I began to notice that they were not all the same length.  Some had very long stems and some had no stems at all, but we put them in a vase anyway.  She was excited and couldn’t wait to show her what she had done.

If I hadn’t stopped that day, I would have missed a blessing.  I also learned an important lesson.  No matter how imperfect our choices are, God loves us deeply just the way we are.

In our passage tonight, we see two types of people, the choices they make, and the results of their choices.

Read Psalm 1:1-6

1Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;

2but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law, he meditates day and night.

3He 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.

4The wicked are not so, but are life chaff that the wind drives away.

5Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;

6for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish. (English Standard Version)

Psalm 1 serves as the introduction to the remainder of the Psalms.  It seems to ask the reader, “Do you want the abundant things of God?”

I.  What do the roots of the Righteous look like:

 

A.  Reveal Strength of Character

1.  Careful Avoidance of Sinful influence (v. 1)

        The righteous are introduced as the “blessed” or “happy” or “joyful.”  It’s the same word that Jesus uses in the Beatitudes.  The idea is that the righteous person has an overabundance of blessing and happiness.  You could translate the opening “O how exceedingly happy is the man.”

The happy condition is not something that is given automatically by God, but is a direct result of the person’s activity.  The psalmist moves from this positive thing directly into some negative statements.

This is the strongest way that he could have stated the importance of our relationship to God.

        We ought to appreciate negative commands for two reasons:

        1.  They keep us from going astray.

        2.  They protect us from harm and misery.

I never understood this until I became a parent.  My children probably think there names are “NO-NO” and “STOP.”

God wants us to avoid the problems associated with sin and its influences.

1 Thess. 5:21-22  “Examine everything carefully, hold fast to what is good, abstain from every form of evil.” (NASB)

 

But the person who is happy must also engage in a positive activity.

2.  Total Absorption in God’s Word.  (v.2)

 

Therefore, “In His law he meditates day and night.”

 

v    The word meditate has come to mean many things today.  Most people think of some short fat bald little man sitting cross-legged on the floor contemplating the lint in his navel.

v    The word meditate means to utter or speak.  This particular word is only used 24 time in the OT.  Most powerfully in the Psalms and Joshua 1:8.  Joshua is preparing the nation of Israel for battle.  Meditate is an action word.  It is something done with the tongue in the heat of battle when you need courage to face Satan and his traps and deceit.

v    Day and Night is just another way of saying “all the time.”  There is not a time when the happy person does not live by God’s Word.  They are so familiar with it that their actions and words are guided by it.

 

What are the benefits of following God’s Word?

 

B.  Become a Blessing to Others

        1.  Through Stability “Tree firmly planted”

v    The word planted literally means transplanted.  A person whose life is rooted in God’s Word receives constant nourishment.

v    This verse may not seem much to you and me because we live where there are lots of trees and lakes and rivers, but think about living in a dry place like the Israel.  Where even parts of the Jordan River dry up at times.

v    God can make us a refuge for the person who is suffering in the wind.

2. Through Fruitfulness “Yields fruit in its season”

v    Depicts a life, which yields something worthwhile and provides blessing and nourishment to others.

3.  Through Endurance “Leaf does not wither”

v    Adverse conditions do not affect the fruitfulness of this person.

v    Notice: Literally -- Whatever he does he causes to prosper.  He prospers because he follows God’s directions and warnings.

 

 

 

Contrast this life with the life of the wicked or ungodly.

II.  The roots of the Ungodly

 

A.  Reveal A Lack of Character

        1. Immersed in Sin.

v    Bad situations don’t happen all at once.  They result from a series of bad choices.

v    Notice the path of these people:

o       Wicked: comes from a root word meaning to be restless.  They are on their way to destruction, but they are not there yet.

o       Isaiah 57:20-21 “But the wicked are like the tossing sea, for it cannot be quiet, and its waters toss up refuse and mud.  There is no peace.  Says my God for the wicked.”

o       We live in a time where boredom, depression, and other forms of unhappiness are rampant

o       Counsels = Bad Advice

o       Part of the problem in our choices stems from who you look to for advice:  TV, The Internet, non-Christians.

v    John Maxwell says, “Advise is like snow, the softer it falls, the longer it dwells, and the deeper you sink into it.”

o       But notice the path of bad choices moves from just listening to bad advice to standing in the paths of sinners.

o       Standing means that someone has actually stopped to give the advice some consideration.

o       The path or way indicates that there is a choice in the matter.  We have a choice as to whether we will sin or not, whether we will reject Jesus or not.  The word that is used for sinners indicates the outward, external things we do.  At this stage, the person knows what they should do, but they just don’t do it.  What does James 4:17 call that?

2.  The path continues on to the second point where they are

        Absorbed in the things of the world.

 

o       Scorners are those people who have a radical attitude problem.  They despise those that try and do right and are resentful of God in general.

o       People like this act like this because they think they can justify their actions.

o       Seats: the only people who have seats in this time are people with authority and power.

o       To have a seat means these people have made their lifestyle and sin the ultimate authority in their life.

What are the consequences of this “restless” lifestyle?

 

B.  Become a Hindrance to Others

 

        1.  Powerless “like chaff”

               

1.    Chaff illustrates a bleak existence

2.    There is no real substance to their life.

a.    Either they will be blown away and not found, or be burned up like Jesus says in Mt. 3:12

2.  Fruitless

3.  Weakness “… will not stand…”

 

o       They will have no place to turn where the righteous are assembled, because they will have to confront their sin, and sin cannot stand truth

 

III.  The Final Outcome

God knows the ways of the righteous.  This conveys the idea of an intimate walk with God.

The roots of the righteous lead to death.  The word Perish here means to wander.  His path becomes less defined until it loses itself and he perishes all together.

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