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The Righteous and the Wicked

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Introduction to the Psalms

Psalms are a collection of songs, poems, and
the composition of the individual psalms covers a period of more than eight hundred years.
150 psalms, Five divisions, each concluding with a doxology, which reflect israel’s history:
4 types of Psalms...
• Personal praise
• Personal lament
• Corporate praise
• Corporate lament
Psalms express the emotions of God’s people as they live out his principles.

Introduction

Psalm 1 serves as introduction to the Psalms
May not have actually been a Psalm originally
Acts 13:33 quotes from Psalm 2 and calls it the first psalm
v 1-3 — The Way of the Righteous (The Way of the Happy)
v 4-6 — The Way of the Wicked (The Way of the Hopeless)
Thing that struck me - ONLY two ways
highlighted by first word describes the result of walking in righteousness and the last word describes the result of walking in wickedness (we’ll come back to this)
Only two ways:
ILLUST - West Palm Beach - turning left instead of right.
3 truths about the fact of only two ways:
Unpopular
In a culture that champions inclusivity,
Just because something in unpopular does not mean that we should not clearly state it — tempered with all of the love and grace that was shown to us.
Undeniable
Matt 13:47-48 (Net caught with every kind of fish but division of good / bad)
Matt 25:31-33 (gather all nations and separate sheep / goats)
John (light / dark)
Unhidden
It amazes me how frequently, how clearly, how simply God tells us how we can haver a good and happy life yet so many CHOOSE not to take it.
We don’t need to guess with God.
Psalm 1:1–6 (ESV)
1 Blessed is the man
“Blessed” - better translation = “Happy” (satisfied, fulfilled)
of 44 times used in OT - 26 are in Psalms
Greek equivalent word used in Matthew 5 - Beatitudes
1 [Happy] is the man who. . .
How would the world answer that question?
How would YOU answer this question?
How does God answer this question?
(PAUSE - I know we are supposed to ask this question - we’re in church, but I want us to ask this seriously. Wherever we see God’s principles lived out things are good - not always easy, but good)

Difference in Direction (1-2)

Three avoidances and a singular focus:
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
wandering in the midst of those planning to do wrong
Generally, people do not happen into the center of sin.
Sin is like a whirlpool — enter at the periphery and you will likely find yourself in the center
ILLUST - no one ever says, “I want to be a junkie when I grow up.” - Point?
The progression of sign begins at a point - compromise
nor stands in the way of sinners,
In the midst of those who are doing the wrong things.
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
- In Jewish culture you sat where you belonged.
Scoffers are those who not only participate in wickedness, they mock others who do do not.
“Counsel, way, and seat draw attention to the realms of thinking, behaving, and belonging.” - Derek Kidner
This is always the progression of sin.
Romans 12:2 (ESV)
2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, . . .
BUT
2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.
Interesting that this the counter to the way of the wicked - doesn’t say - be nicer, go to the temple more, give more sacrifices. He doesn’t give ten things. He doesn’t even give three things. He gives one thing. A focus on the Law.
Law (Torah) means ‘instruction’ - see the contrast between progression of the wicked starting with a different sense of direction - different instruction.
“Delight”
= pleasure, desire.
Is your delight in the Word of God? Is your desire to read it, know it?
“That’s silly, Jason.” Is it, really? Why?
IF the answer to a Blessed life was ‘do good and be kind’ God would have told us.
Instead, he has us start at the same place the way of the wicked starts — with the mind.
and on his law he meditates day and night.
As Christine and I were dating and even now, you do not need to remind me to think about her. There is a desire to do it.
Satan will do all that he can to limit our desire for the Word, Time for God’s Word, and Exposure to God’s Word.
It is the singular focus of the Happy person on the way of the righteous.
Not simply deep thinking - Not Eastern philosophy
Same word as “plot” in chapter 2 verse 1 — has the idea of ‘thinking for the purpose of bringing to action.’
= “muttering’
Better word may be “ruminate” - like a cow
You can’t meditate on something you don’t have in mind!

Difference in Production (3-4)

Tree
3 He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
Stable
like a tree that is planted - passive - God does the planting
I would tend to think the One who made the trees knows best how and where to plant them.
that yields its fruit in its season,
Fruitful
Does what it was meant to do - fulfilling
and its leaf does not wither.
Durable
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.”
This isn’t saying the weather is always ideal for the tree — it says the leaf doesn’t wither.
If a leaf stays green because summer never ends then the miracle is in the unchanging weather not the things naturally responding to the weather.
But, if the seasons change and a deciduous tree has leaves that remain green through the dead of winter or through a drought then the tree is remarkable not the seasons.
The solution we most often hear as to how to be happy is to remove, avoid, or deny those things in your life that make you unhappy.
Nice try, but not possible.
It is only when we have the hidden roots drilled deep that we can withstand the heat and wind around us.
PAUSE: How does this actually work?
In all that he does, he prospers.
Successful
Successful and prosperous not necessarily in the world’s eyes.
In all that he does = things for God.
Chaff
4 The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Futile (chaff)
Jeremiah 17:5–6 (ESV)
5 Thus says the Lord:
“Cursed is the man who trusts in man
and makes flesh his strength,
whose heart turns away from the Lord.
6 He is like a shrub in the desert,
and shall not see any good come.
He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness,
in an uninhabited salt land.
Fleeting (Wind drives)
A tree can withstand more than chaff.
ILLUST - We’ve been through three umbrellas. Even tried our best to hold it down. Not as sturdy as a tree.
The chaff has no redeeming value to the farmer. It produces nothing that helps the farmer or anyone else.
So it is with the wicked. They hold no lasting value for God or anyone else.
Believers - you may feel like you are being blown around like chaff, like the things you do are as futile as the usefulness of the chaff - but notice, you are planted. stay away from the progression of sin and take your roots down deep into God’s Word.
Here we are again with an obvious truth - will you apply it?

Difference in Destination (5-6)

5 Therefore. . .
the end result of the differences of direction and production is a difference in destination
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
Both condemnation and separation
6 for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
“Knows” is not informational knowledge it is intimate knowledge.
Knowledge that not only knows but cares.
but the way of the wicked will perish.

Conclusion

Notice, throughout the psalm the man opposite of the wicked is usually referenced as “He” referring back to the man who is happy / blessed.
But here he is stated as righteous. It would seem that we could equate the Blessed person with the Righteous.
Problem is, Paul writes:
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.”
And he is actually quoting a summary of Psalm 14 and 53
ILLUST - another time I took a wrong turn. Leaving theatre in Philadelphia late at night - almost out of gas - went through city looking for gas station. Finally found one. Without the fule I would have been stuck in a place I did not want to be. I was powerless. Got fuel, had the power to turn around and head in the right direction.
Jesus gave us his righteousness
2 Corinthians 5:21 (ESV)
21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Which way are you going? The way of the wicked or the way of the righteous?
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