Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017 Pastor Dan Woody
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;
but his delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
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.
The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the LORD knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.
(Psalm 1 ESV)
This morning in our time together we are going to be looking first at some of the introductory elements of Psalm one. This will help us understand, a bit better, the reason why it is there and what purpose it serves. Then we will simply go verse by verse through the Psalm and unpack what is in there to learn together.
If you missed the introduction to our study of the Psalms, click here: Why Study the Psalms? To Ignite Worship ~ An Introduction
Author and Genre of Psalm 1
We will spend time as we go through each week talking about the different genres of Psalms as there are quite a few. They all explore different themes from Wisdom, to lamentation… to confession of sin… to praise for Jehovah.
Psalm 1, which we are covering today, is what is known as a Wisdom psalm. There are actually very few of those, so it is good that we are covering it here. The fact that there is no superscription leaves us guessing as to the author of the poem, but most scholars believe that very likely Solomon composed this Psalm. We know that he was keenly interested in the subject of Wisdom as we have seen in the Proverbs and in Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon. He was the composer for much of all that was said about wisdom in the Old Testament, so this is a pretty good guess as to who the author really is. Solomon is thought to have most likely been the one to have compiled the entire book of Psalms for use by the church. It would make sense that if he was the compiler of the Psalms, the caretaker for them, that he would also write the introduction to the book as well.
So although Psalm 1 is anonymous and although it is not all that necessary to know who wrote it, the idea that Solomon wrote it would make the rest of the history of the book hang together that much better. And Solomon, the wisest man that ever lived, had plenty to say about the path to wisdom.
[learn_more caption=”Did You Know?” state=”open”] That the three principle forms of Psalms are: Praise psalms — characterized by starting with an imperative such as “praise the Lord,” “sing unto the Lord,” etc., Lament psalms — characterized by starting with a vocative such as “O Lord,” followed by a complaint or petition, and Wisdom psalms — similar to categories of wisdom literature (i.e., how to live happy, successful, godly lives).[/learn_more]
What the Bible Means by the word ‘Blessed’
Psalm 1 begins with the word Blessed. And the word blessed immediately calls to mind another place in scripture where that word was used a lot. Christ used the word ‘blessed’ many times in the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount when He spoke the beatitudes…Blessed are the poor in Spirit, blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness etc. This use today of the word ‘blessed’ and Christ’s use of it there mean essentially the same thing.
[box] The words literally say here: Blessings are To the man. This is more than just being happy and more than just mere satisfaction–Blessings are TO the man. This is about a joy and a deep contentment that comes from the Lord himself when we avoid certain things and when we delight in certain other things. These are God-given blessings.[/box]
This is God–given joy and contentment. It is a state of blessedness that describes spiritual well being, having the approval of God… and thus a happier existence–a happier destiny. So it is much richer–much deeper than just saying this person will be happy. This person will be blessed of God.
Blessed doesn’t refer to ‘Consumerism’.
One of the things which is very characteristic of me this time of year is that I become quite a bit of a couch potato. You may notice this happening with certain individuals at your house as well. And this is related 100% and unapologetically to the fact that there are so many football games on TV. I love watching football! Perhaps someone at your house does too, but I sort of veg quite a bit between the end of December and the middle of February consuming every single second of Football that I can.
At the end of this time, football goes away and I immediately, in turn, become grumpy and hard to manage. It is probably for the best that it goes away or I would be a couch potato for the entire year.
But one of the things which is very characteristic of this time of year on TV along with the football games, especially leading up to Christmas, is the car commercials. You have probably all seen them. A December to remember would involve putting an 80 thousand dollar car in your driveway with the accompanying car payment. Of course, in the commercial, Santa just brings it to them. I can whole-heartedly agree that it would be a December to remember! I would not soon forget that decision if I was dumb enough to make it. Thankfully I have not been that dumb up to this point.
But these commercials would have you believe that the path to happiness, to the true joy and contentment of the season, lies not in family nor in contentment nor in godly living, but rather it lies out there in the driveway with a bow wrapped around it… or maybe in that infernal Lincoln that Matthew McConaughy keeps pushing with his perfect teeth and lots of hair.
The TV will also go on to wish for you to have a blessed and prosperous New Year. The combination of these two messages might have you believing that the path to this blessed and prosperous New Year is to become a consumer of all of the things that they are pushing you to buy on the TV. But we know, as the child of God, that this is not the path at all…. is it?
The Blessed Man is Christ-Centered
“The first word in Psalm 1:1, blessed, celebrates a life that takes real pleasure in living according to God’s will, and so is highly desirable. In contrast to contemporary notions of happiness that tend to be self centered, Psalm 1 introduces a concept that will be prevalent through the rest of the Psalms: a thoroughly theocentric understanding of happiness, in which genuine happiness emerges from focused attention on God and his teaching. True happiness according to Psalm 1 comes from choosing the way of Yahweh.” Patrick D. Miller
This word Theocentric, if it doesn’t make sense to you, means ‘centered on God’. This can’t be bought or sold. It is not packaged and it is not in a car, a food, an amount of money, or another person–it only comes from being a faithful follower of Christ. The blessedness described in Psalm one comes from within and it is put in us only by God and being in relationship with Him.
[learn_more caption=”What Does it Mean to be Theocentric?”] To be theocentric means to live in a way that puts God at the center of life or makes Him the main focus of life. To be theocentric is to be “God-centered.” A theocentric life is lived in the understanding that all things flow “from Him, and through Him and to Him” (Romans 11:36). [/learn_more]
The Blessed Man Doesn’t Accept Ungodly Counsel
Notice in verse one of this Psalm that things are first stated in the negative. This blessed person does not walk in the counsel of the wicked…. this person does not stand in the way of sinners…this person does not sit in the seat of scoffers. There is a sort of ratcheting up of the activity of this person in the negative sense. He does not do these things. And the things he ‘DOES NOT’ do get progressively more worldly as they go. The activity goes from a person who sort of hangs around the wrong types of people to beginning to listen to the counsel of the wicked.
They say to themselves, “That sounds like pretty good advice.” But what they may not notice, at least initially, is that the advice they are getting is found nowhere in scripture. So it is advice which is lacking in godly wisdom–listening to ungodly counsel. And then the action becomes more associated with the ungodly. You stand with them. You take their counsel and then you begin to defend the way they do things.
[box] “I know the Bible says that Abortion is sin and murder and wrong. But can’t we at least give these people a hearing? Maybe we are not hearing what they are truly saying.They say they can be a Christian and still believe these things…. can’t we all just get along? I know that the Bible has condemned the sin of homosexuality but they have a point when they say that Jesus never talked about it right? I mean if Jesus never brought it up… why are we making such a big deal out of it?” A person who stands in the way of sinners will take a stand with their unjust and ungodly causes.[/box]
The Blessed Man Avoids the Slippery Slope of Worldly Fellowship
Finally, a person who will be blessed does not sit in the seat of the scoffers or scornful.
This is another proof offered for Solomon having authored this. The word ‘scoffers’ or ‘scornful’ is only used once in the Psalms–here in this verse. The same word is used by no one else but Solomon throughout the rest of the Old Testament. He is the only one who ever writes this word.
This person has now gone from just listening at a distance…. to standing over by those who are giving the bad counsel and defending their cause. And now he is full blown…. sitting down with them…. and scoffing at those who disagree with the ungodly.
This person has gone from loose association all the way to fellowship with the wrong types of people.This is how sin gets us Church. This is the creeping crawling nature of the things in life that get their hooks in us without us ever realizing that they have. A person doesn’t just decide to give up on their marriage one day… it is a gentle slipping and sliding down into the situation that almost goes by unnoticed. They don’t fall into habitual sin all at once– it is gradual and subtle and may even seem harmless.
James 1 says:
Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
(James 1:15 ESV)
We are better off just never starting in the first place. We don’t begin to walk in their counsel… and then we won’t stand in their ways… and then we won’t have a seat in the seat of scoffers or the scornful.
One thing leads to another.
Concludes with: Psalm 1: The Godly Man vs. The Ungodly (Pt.3)
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://koinoniachurch.info/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Pastor-Dan.jpeg[/author_image] [author_info]Pastor Dan Woody is a founding elder for Koinonia. He has been serving churches as a pastor for the past 13 years. He and his wife Peggy are the parents of two sons, Chris and Jonathan. Pastor Dan is currently studying for his Mdiv with The North American Reformed Seminary. His interests include music, and most outdoor sports like golf, hiking, tennis and fishing.[/author_info] [/author]