TWO WALKING PATHS
Psalm One not only begins the Psalter (The Jewish Book of Praises), it lays down in six short verses a succinct overview of the entire Biblical message.
In this terse Psalm, the defining line between the two types of man is drawn. Which side of the line we stand on determines our standing with God.
Will we choose the path to eternal fellowship with Him, or will we choose the path to eternal separation from Him?
The characteristics and consequences of each choice are outlined.
THE TWO PATHS
Psalm One compares two paths: The path of righteousness and the path of unrighteousness. The path of unrighteousness is easy. The path of righteousness is difficult. This is why the true Biblical message (in its non-truncated delivery) is not an easy sell. We don't want our lives to be difficult.
After all, isn't this why we go to church? So our lives won't be difficult? I hope not. But I fear the reality may be otherwise.
THE LOCAL CHURCH: NOT A QUICK SIDEBAR!
The local church as the hope of the world is a theme our pastor consistently weaves into the fabric of our church community. I know this to be true! Such a bedrock truth cannot be shaken or unseated. Christ said as much.
"I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it." (Matthew 18:19).
Even so, the Christian life is often viewed as unsettling and avoided. But as unsettling as it "appears", this "difficult" life is necessary. Necessary for a life of blessing; a solid Biblical paradox.
The CHURCH is fertile ground for our spiritual development. She is the way to keep us grounded on the right path. The church is the embodiment of the people of God. The church is a place for community, for growth, for fellowship, for learning, and for apprenticeship to the master: the head of the church, Jesus Christ. This is the church!
If we avoid the church and choose to walk the different path, the end is clear.
There is no ambiguity. Wiggle room has been put to bed.
PSALM ONE: ONE
How Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! (NASB)
The initial verse of Psalm One classifies the blessed man as one who has found redemptive favor with the LORD. This man (or woman) has discovered the wellspring of life that comes from our creator God.
In his blessedness, he's learned to avoid individuals openly detrimental to his fellowship with God. Daily interaction in society is to be viewed as a means of witness. This illustration simply warns the believer to avoid people or situations whom they know could lead them down wrong paths.
A focused understanding of sin and it's consequences separates the blessed from the wicked.
Awareness of one's own sin and the desire to be right with God defines the blessed man.
PSALM ONE: TWO
But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night.
As an outflow of his love for God, the blessed man consistently feeds himself with the word of God. It is his spiritual food. The lens through which he sees all of life.
A dedication to the scriptures and subsequent revelation brings great joy to the blessed man. The words are not mere words. They are life-energizing and motivating toward an obedient lifestyle.
Embedding our minds with the word tranforms our daily thoughts and actions.
THE WISDOM PSALMS:
Psalm 1: The Introductory Wisdom Psalm.
Psalm 37: The wisdom of God directed toward man.
Psalm 119: The longest chapter in the Bible. Also the center.
PSALM ONE: THREE
He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
which yields it fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does he prospers. (NASB)
A beautiful illustration of the benefits of a Godly life. The blessings that follow a life of obedience remind the blessed man of his dependence on God. He takes great joy in blessing us!
God plants us in life. The blessings we receive are sustained with our obedience (the streams of water).
It is our responsibility to effectively steward our blessings. By doing so, God's ultimate plan of productivity for our lives is achieved. These are the leaves that do not wither and the prosperity that follows.
PSALM ONE: FOUR
The wicked are not so;
But they are like chaff which the wind drives away. (NASB)
Chaff is the remnant after the substantive grain has been harvested and used. It is left to be discarded.
The metaphor of chaff being blown by the wind not only describes the willingness of the ungodly to be blown around by sinful desires; but illustrates the final futility of sin. -- Blown away to nothingness.
PSALM ONE: FIVE
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgement,
Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous (NASB)
All men are sinners. So all men will come before Christ in judgement.
Those who stand in the judgement will be separated for an eternal fellowship with God. Those who fail the judgement (by not accepting the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ as LORD and Savior), are sent away.
PSALM ONE: SIX
For the LORD knows the way of the righteous,
But the way of the wicked will perish.
To know in Biblical terms is to maintain intimacy with another.
Since God operates outside our paramaters of time, He knows who will follow Him and who will not. For those who follow Him, He becomes involved in their lives and leads them to greater knowledge of Him and His blessings.
Those whom God does not know, He leaves alone!
The Book of Psalms is truly a masterpiece. It is timeless and alive!
My hope is that you take some time to reflect on the incredibly important life you lead. Ask yourself what path you are on? Then decide where to continue.
The Bible is clear. The words are God-breathed and true!
Blessings and peace!