Published October 22, 2009
Related Sunday School Lesson, Bible Studies for Life, Nov 8
A young man came to interview a bank president, asking, “Tell me, sir, how did you become so successful?”
He replied, “Two words.”
“And what are they, sir?”
“How do you make right choices?”
The president answered, “One word … experience.”
“And how do you get experience?”
“Two words,” he replied.
“And what are they, sir?”
We are constantly faced with choices. Some choices are insignificant, like choosing between chocolate or vanilla. Other choices are more serious and have critical consequences. Making the right choice in some areas can make a difference between life and death.
Choosing Jesus as Lord and Savior and living in a right relationship with God results in life. Rejecting Jesus and living apart from God results in death.
The first psalm is about making choices. It is among the best known of the psalms and is considered a “wisdom psalm” because it contains instructions for wise living. It teaches us that we can find joy and fulfillment in life if we follow the ways of God.
And it warns of eventual eternal ruin if we do not.
God’s way - Psalm 1:1-3
The psalm begins with the word “blessed.” It means “supremely happy” or “fulfilled.” The word is actually in the plural: “Oh, the blessedness of the man.” God does not dole out His blessings one at a time, He pours them out in the plural.
For us to experience God’s multiple blessings, we must be His children and follow His way. God’s way means we do not “walk in the counsel of the ungodly.” In other words, we should not listen to them and pattern our lives after their advice.
There are too many Christians getting counsel from ungodly people. Instead we need to associate with those who offer godly counsel. Instead of listening to the world, we need to listen to the Word.
God does not want His children to “stand in the path of sinners.” In other words, we should not participate in their sinful activities. Once we start listening to the ungodly, it’s easy for us to behave like the ungodly.
Verse 1 continues, “Nor sits in the seat of the scornful.” Notice the progression: walking, standing, and sitting. The more we keep company with the ungodly, the more sin increases its hold on our lives.
God’s delight and desire is for us to live according to His Word (verse 2). The word “delight” literally means “pleasure.” There should be nothing that should give us more pleasure than reading the Word of God. “And in His law he meditates day and night.” It is not enough just to hear the Bible, or read the Bible, or even memorize the Bible, we are to meditate on God’s Word.
God also wants us to be like a tree that’s firmly planted, that can’t be blown over by a storm of difficult circumstances and uprooted by the winds of the world (v. 3). He wants our roots to be planted deeply into His Word, so we will live a life of righteousness, holiness, and godliness. Living this way guarantees our lives will be like a tree always green, with its leaves always fresh, and its branches always fruitful.
God will reward the righteous. Verse 3 continues, “And whatever he does shall prosper.” This is not about material gain but spiritual growth. It means that we will experience God’s power, peace, and presence on a daily basis.
If we follow the advice of the psalmist, we will be placed in a position to be used by God and whatever God does through us will be prosperous and bring Him glory.
The other way - Psalm 1:4-5
Having described God’s way, the psalmist describes the world’s way by contrasting the ungodly man with the godly man and the lost man with the saved man. In contrast with the towering tree, with its roots nourished by a stream, the ungodly is like “the chaff which the wind drives away.”
Back in Bible days, threshing floors were located on hills that would catch the best breezes. Grain would be crushed and then pitched where the wind would blow the chaff away. The wheat, which was the heavier grain, would fall back to the threshing floor to be collected. The chaff would be scattered and burned.
Thus, in the judgment of the congregation of God’s people, the person who lives without God will have no standing before Him. He will be judged and eternally separated from God.
Two choices - Psalm 1:6
There are two men, two ways, and two destinies in this psalm. The ungodly man follows the way of the world and he shall perish. The godly man follows the way of the Word and he shall live.
He is described as being “righteous.” Notice that God “knows the way of the righteous.” God has intimate knowledge of His children, which suggests He has a personal relationship with them.
The way of the ungodly always leads to death. This is described in Matthew 7:13-14 as the broad and popular way where many can be found. This leads to a lost eternity. Too many people reject Jesus and choose this way and are forever separated from God.
But there is a narrow way – the way of the cross. Jesus provided a way for us to be forgiven of our sins and live forever when He paid sin’s penalty on the cross. Only Jesus is the “way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).
If you reject the way of the ungodly and choose Jesus, you will experience life abundant and eternal. Only then will you a “blessed man.”
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