MESSAGE - 6-23-21 - Psalms 1:1-6 - BEING ROOTED
Overview of Lesson: The first Psalm forms an introduction to the entire book. It is commonly classified as a wisdom psalm, and wisdom-that is, God's wisdom-which we know is the ability to see people, events, and situations as God sees them (Prov. 1:7). Similar to proverbs, wisdom psalms depict many examples of human behavior that simply demonstrate that some actions are wise and some are foolish. In today's lesson, Psalm 1 can be divided into two parts: (1) the path of life [vv. 1-3] and (2) the path of death [vv. 4-6]. The two distinct lifestyles are contrasted in vv. 1 and 2, then in vv. 3 and 4 the nature of each lifestyle is compared in a botanical analogy, and finally, vv. 5 and 6 reveal the ultimate outcome of each lifestyle.
Read Ps. 1:1-3 - THE PATH OF LIFE
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.
v. 1a: "Blessed is the man" - Blessed translates to the Hebrew word esher, which conveys the idea of happiness or contentment. Esher come from the Hebrew root word ashar, which literally means to be "straight" or "right." Blessedness speaks of happiness and contentment in the life of a man or a women who is "straight" or "right" with God, so that a righteous man will be a blessed man. C.H. Spurgeon directs our attention to the fact that the writer doesn't say blessed is the king, or the scholar, or the rich, but "Blessed is the man." Therefore, this blessedness is obtainable by the poor, the forgotten, and the obscure, as well as those whose names figure in history and or in celebrity.
v. 1a1: "who walks" - Notice, not stand, not sits, but walks. The Hebrew word hālak, is used both in the sense of "to go' and to "behave." As a theological metaphor, it applies to the way a man lives his life, what guides him.
v. 1a2: "walks not in the counsel of the wicked" - First, it means that a righteous man knows how to discern, that is, detect counsel that is wicked. Many fall short on this point because they fail to even consider whether the counsel is either godly or wicked. They hear advice, listen to theories about their problems and may find themselves agreeing or disagreeing without considering the source. A righteous man also knows that wicked counsel can come from within himself, his own heart and mind. And finally, a righteous man knows where to find godly counsel: God's word.
v.1b: "nor stands in the way of sinners" - Sinners have a way or path where they stand, and the righteous man know he doesn't belong on that way. "Way" speaks of a path, a road, a direction, and the righteous man is not traveling in the same direction as sinners. In fact, the righteous man is not afraid to take the less traveled road because he knows it leads to blessings and ultimately, to eternal life.
v.1c: "nor sits in the seat of scoffers" - The scoffers who scoff (2 Pet. 3:3) love to sit and criticize, put-down the people of God, and the righteous man will never sit in that seat. We should never "sit" with people who criticize and insult Christians; instead, we should be "not ashamed of the Gospel" (Rom. 1:16), but should make it known "where we sit" to everyone around us.
v. 2a: "his delight is in the law of the LORD" - Throughout the Psalms, the phrase " Law of the Lord" is used to describe Gods entire Word, not just the Pentateuch, and can also be translated as the "Lord's Instruction." The righteous man is delighted, i.e., derives joy and happiness from the Word of God. Taking pleasure in God's Word is the opposite of selfish, self-centered things.
v. 2b: "on His law he meditates day and night" - The righteous man does not just hear it and forget it (like so many do) but truly ponders the Word of God and strives to match his own thinking and understanding with it. "Day and night" show that the righteous man is striving to think with God all the time. This is more than reading; it's meditation, inward thought and contemplation.
v. 3a: "like a tree planted by streams of water" - A tree by a water source, which never withers away and put down deep roots, is presented as an analogy to a righteous man whose source of spiritual nourishment is God's Word.
v. 3b: "that yields fruit in its season" - The righteous man bears much fruit, such as the fruits of the spirit (Gal. 5:22-23). The fruit comes naturally from this tree because it's deeply rooted in God's Word. Yet, note that the fruit has a "season," so that the righteous man is faithful and patience to remain obedient to God's Word until the season comes.
v. 3c: "leaf does not wither" - Withered leaves are often a sign of death. The "leaves" of a righteous man are green and vibrant, showing no signs of drying up.
v. 3d: "In all...he prospers" - The term "all" doesn't mean material prosperity or fame; it means that in the life of a righteous man, God brings forth something good out of everything he does, even when he's facing trials and troubles. Paul said, "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." Rom. 8:28.
Read Ps. 1:4-5 - THE WAY OF THE WICKED
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;
v. 4a: "wicked are not so" - Everything true of the righteous man-stable as a tree, continual life and nourishment, fruitful. Alive, and prosperous-is not true of the wicked man. Though we see wicked people with wealth and fame, these things have no eternal substance and will perish.
v. 4b: "like chaff that the wind drives away" - Chaff is the light shell around a kernel of grain that must be removed before it can be ground into something useful. Once removed, the chaff is intrinsically worthless, dead, and easily carried away. By analogy, the wicked are like the chaff, having no spiritual substance, they are dead and weightless (hold that thought).
v. 5a: "wicked will not stand in the judgment" - Because the wicked have no "weight," they will be swept away and burned. In Mt. 3:12, John the Baptist said of the coming Messiah, "His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will clear his threshing floor and gather His wheat into the barn, but the chaff will burn with the unquenchable fire."
v. 5b: "nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;" - "Sinners" in this context refer to those in a congregation who have not repented of their sin and accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior. They are like the man in the Parable of the Wedding Feast (Mt. 22:1-14) who came improperly clothed-not wearing the robe of Jesus' imputed righteousness-and was cast into the outer darkness. All are invited but not all are chosen, remember that one, v.14?
Read Psalm 1:6 - THE CONCLUSION
6 for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.
v.6a: "LORD knows the way of the righteous" - In the Hebrew, "knows" is expressed as a present participle, as in "is knowing." So God "is knowing" the way of the righteous, constantly watching over them on their way, in good times and bad. Therefore, the righteous can experience real peace by knowing that God is with them every minute of a day, wherever they may be and whatever they are doing.
v. 6b: "but the way of the wicked will perish" - The Hebrew word for perish, ābad, variously means to die, go to ruin, be carried off, fail, and basically means the disappearance of someone or something. 13 "Jesus described it this way: 13 " Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few." Mt. 7:13-14
1. The righteous man is blessed because he lives a life that is firmly rooted in the Word of God, and he can be said to be "rooted" in the Word of God because he truly meditates on it day and night and strives to match his own understanding and discernment of life with it. He strives to see the world as God sees it. This involves much, much more than just hearing and casually reading the Bible.
2. Because of his godly understanding and discernment of the world around him, the righteous man is able to distinguish between good advice (righteous/God approved) and bad advice (wicked/ contrary to God's Word). The righteous man is also careful to examine himself in a given situation to make sure his own motives are god honoring.
3. The righteous man bears much fruit because it comes naturally from a tree that's deeply rooted in God's Word. Yet, he also knows that the fruit has a "season," and understands that he must be faithful and patience to remain obedient to God's Word until the season comes.
4. "Prosperity" in the life of a righteous man doesn't necessarily bring material wealth or fame, but means that in his life, God will produce something good out of everything he does, even when he's facing trials and troubles. Paul said it this way: "And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." Rom. 8:28.
PRAYER: Father in heaven, we thank you for allowing us to gather together this evening to offer our prayers and petitions to You, and to learn from the truth of Your Word. This wonderful little wisdom Psalm that we covered tonight seems very simple on its face, but what it asks us to do, God-to be firmly rooted in Your Word-is in reality something that requires a lot of hard work every single day. So, Lord, I pray that you would instill in every one us this ongoing desire to know You more deeply through the study of Your perfect Word on a daily basis, so that we can more like the righteous man in this great Psalm, who strives to match his way of thinking with Yours. In the name of Jesus, I ask these things, AMEN.