Psalm 1

mp3 audio: 2010-09-12 Psalm 1 – Hight

Psalm 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. (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; (6) for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

[Introduction]

Our everyday lives are very full. We have the routine of our jobs and our study along with facing regular decisions about money and budgets. We have the cooking, cleaning, and work around the house to do. Our children get sick or ask us questions about the birds and trees, monopolising our mental capacity at times. And we sometimes find ourselves faced with weighty decisions, about how to make reparations when we have spoken unwisely to friends and family.
Amongst all of these practical concerns, which continually compete for our attention, it would be understandable if we had a hard time focusing our attention on some of the big questions of life. Ironically, we might become so busy in our lives that we forget to consider the foundational principles (or doctrines) that actually allow us to make the best decisions for our lives. Instead we respond to situations with an excess of instinct and thoughtless reaction.
Now, that’s a bit of a brain full already, so let me rephrase the problem a little differently. Life is busy, we need instruction on how to live holy lives, but it is easy to get so busy in life that we don’t learn this instruction on how to live. This can happen on a day to day basis, when too often we prioritise tasks over personal study of the scriptures, or don’t make space for them in our day. And it can also happen over a longer period of time when we neglect to deal with issues properly because of the mental challenge of thinking them through. What happens when we encounter a tricky decision at this stage, is that we use our fallible instincts and are more likely to react emotionally and without thinking. I know that when I’ve had a full and tiring week at work, I’m more likely to blurt out something foolish, especially if I am in a new situation where I lack knowledge or experience. Often, the only way to protect myself from foolishness is to have an in-built set of principles or doctrines upon which I can make a rapid decision. The first decision is often to take a deep breath and think, but that is another story. Our decisions must be made based upon the word of God. That’s where we find out how to live the life of a Christian.
I’ll put it to you as a question: How can we really live the life that is most pleasing to God if we do not learn and apply the ideas that He has given to guide us? Here’s a more sobering look at the same concept: If our life’s decisions are not informed by God, how can we really say that we are living for Him? How can we say that we are really one of His people who follow His ways?

So, onto the first psalm.
This psalm, the introduction to the other psalms in this book;
A psalm of wisdom, it gives us pause during our busy lives;
It brings us to the doorstep of THE guiding principle of life and happiness;
More than mere happiness in fact;
Bless-ed-ness
And that principle is this:
You can only be happy, now and for eternity, if your life is guided by God’s Word.

I’ll say it again for emphasis:
You can only be happy; I can only be happy, really and truly happy, now and for eternity, if my life is guided by God’s Word.

We will now look at this psalm, and find out how every action of our life builds a picture of hope or a picture of despair. We will see the source of the life that leads to blessedness, and we will see what awaits those who walk an ungodly path.

As an overview of it…
…in this psalm we can see two types of life; particularly noticeable is the strong difference between the people who live these two lives. We have:
First of all, the bless-ed man in verse 1 and the righteous man in verse 6, who by implication is also a saved man. Both are the same person or type of person, who has all of the positive aspects of this psalm relating to him.
Second is the less obvious one who lacks the state of bless-ed-ness and will perish. He is the wicked man, the sinner, and the scoffer. All three, mentioned in the first verse, are different descriptions of one and the same type of person.

This psalm encourages us to examine ourselves to see which of the two types of lives we lead and to ponder our own eternal destination. This is a frequent theme in scripture, particularly within wisdom literature in the bible. You can see much of this in the book of proverbs, for example.

This psalm contains 3 natural sections:
Verses 1 and 2 introduce the bless-ed man and show that he receives his instruction from God and not man
Verses 3 and 4 describe the deeds of the bless-ed man by comparing him to a tree and contrasting him to chaff
Verses 5 and 6 describe the eternal relationship of both kinds of people to God

Let us now take a look at three questions that can be derived from each of the three sections of this psalm. First of all:

[Main]

(in Verses 1 and 2) Who controls you?

Who controls you?

(1) Bless-ed 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.

First of all, what does it mean, this word bless-ed?
It is actually a little difficult to pin down what it means to be a bless-ed person. Much easier it is to describe what it means to be blessed, and in today’s world of plummeting literacy and watered down language there is no distinction between the two. I will use the two ways of saying ‘blessed’ and ‘bless-ed’ to distinguish the concepts. Whether you typically pronounce them the same or different does not matter, but it is helpful today to do so. I myself didn’t realise that there was much of a difference in concepts until I took a good look at this psalm.

So what is the difference between bless-ed and blessed? Well, you can be blessed with a new car, but that is pretty much where this concept stops. If you are blessed, it means that someone has given you something, with the BIG giver behind the gift being God Himself, and not merely the person or circumstance that has brought the gift to you. To be blessed is a little different from just receiving a gift though. To be blessed is to have something holy mixed in to the exchange, and where the distinction becomes blurred, and even disappears, is when we realise that all that a man receives is ultimately from God anyway, so that every good thing he receives is a blessing. Now, looking at bless-ed, we can see an entirely richer concept. This concept includes the deep-seated joy and contentment in God, which comes from an ongoing reaping of the positive consequences from following godly wisdom. Also, as in the Beatitudes taught by Jesus, to be bless-ed includes a gladness and rejoicing that comes from eternal rewards. This must therefore be more than a ‘temporary or circumstantial feeling of happiness’; because our joy and happiness is rooted in the sure hope of everlasting life, promised by the most faithful God.
Putting it all together, we might be blessed by God with many gifts, the chief of which is eternal life; and this puts us into an abiding and unshakable state of bless-ed-ness in which we enjoy profound gladness, which sticks in our hearts no matter the outward events of our life.

While it seems clear that we are dealing with bless-ed-ness in this psalm, it is also true, that the man who avoids the counsel of the wicked and instead follows God, will be blessed. In His divine providence, it is impossible for one who follows God to avoid blessing. Much may come to the man who follows God, both in possessions and profit, and in joy and gladness; but it is the joy and gladness that will abide for eternity. It is essentially the gift of eternal life that the man is here blessed with, and this gives rise to eternal joy and happiness, a state of bless-ed-ness.

So how does one receive this bless-ed-ness?
In two ways: one, by avoiding the counsel of the wicked, the way of sinners, and the seat of scoffers; and two, by delighting in the law of the Lord.

And this is where our question comes in. Who controls you? Are you controlled by the thoughts, actions, and company of those who are wicked, sinners, or scoffers? Or, are you controlled by the word of God, which is the law of the Lord in the sense used here? We will look in a little detail at each of these two options, and then after we will look at a couple of questions which we can put to ourselves to know who really controls us.

The Wicked, The Sinners, The Scoffers
The psalm addresses this aspect negatively, that is by saying what the bless-ed man does NOT do. So lets follow suit and look at what typifies those who follow the wicked, the sinner, and the scoffer, in order that we know what not to do.

Walking in the counsel of the wicked – This draws our attention to how an ungodly person might THINK, and it is much easier to see by contrasting decisions which can be made in a moral situation. If we consider the issue of euthanasia and whether it is right or wrong for properly qualified doctors to kill people who are suffering. Now this is a very controversial issue, even within Christian circles. At a simple level we have the Ten Commandments telling us not to murder, but is it really murder if the person wants to die? Surely it is a relief to the person who has had to endure suffering and will potentially have to endure more if they are not allowed to die gracefully and on their own terms? Isn’t it therefore more humane to let someone go? Especially if they are just being a burden on others, relying on them for their care! Now, I’m no expert on this issue, and faced with such an option I don’t know how I would ultimately react. Some of you may have had the hard decision to switch off a loved one’s life support, which in a way is not so far from this heart-wrenching situation. But even so, bearing in mind that it is not easy to decide a course of action, and depending on the level of suffering it might seem quite a grey area of morality, even so, the WAY that you make up your mind must be in a godly way, and not in an ungodly way.

So it comes back to the thoughts:
The counsel of the wicked will only think about the costs and benefits of the decision to the people involved. The personal trauma to the patient, or perhaps victim in some cases, of continuing in life. And the emotional hardship and significant cost of resources placed upon those looking after them. In this ungodly realm of weighing up the decision, there is only love for the person who is dying, or love for those being left behind, and perhaps a niggling conscience, which may bring back the balance in the decision.

Now, don’t get me wrong, the counsel of the godly will also take these things into account, so they are not automatically ungodly in and of themselves, but before these things it is the cost to the glory and honouring of God which will be first in their consideration. Which decision will lead to God being glorified the most? How can I reconcile the killing of myself or someone else with the fact that we are made in the very image of God? Am I effectively defacing an image that He created, if I make a decision to euthanize? Isn’t God in charge of a person’s time to die? Am I attempting to usurp His sovereign control if I proceed? Or, finally, am I being loving to both God and my neighbour, but with God first, by committing this act?

Now don’t get caught up in an internal debate here. That’s for another time. You can easily be occupied for days on this issue! The point is that there are two ways of thinking, and to be bless-ed is to NOT follow the counsel of the wicked and think merely how decisions affect man.

Now, it is often the thoughts that give rise to actions, and this leads us onto…

…Standing in the way of sinners – here we are drawn to the idea of how an ungodly person might BEHAVE. Lets take a look at a gathering of youths standing together in Garden Place, in town, on a Saturday afternoon. Imagine the scenario: From a distance it might seem clear that they are trouble. Most people can be observed to be steering well clear of this excitable group who are dressed mostly in black and wearing sweatshirts with hoods which make it hard to see their faces. It might be inconceivable to think that there could be a Christian in their midst because from inside these walls we all know that we shouldn’t stand in the way of sinners. These people seem very threatening and we are reluctant to approach, but approach we will…

As we draw closer, snippets of conversation are overheard. One 14 year old is listening intently to another in his late teens about how the National Government is focused on cutting welfare spending which makes it hard for his solo mum to pay his school fees, but at the same time he is saying how a Labour government gives too much welfare so that people like his Dad living up north somewhere don’t get off their behinds and get a job because of the easy money. A young woman and young man are talking about how to make money using the Internet to market and sell their music, which they created in their home studio. Sure, there is a bit of trash talk going on, as you would expect, but overall these young people seem far more positive and upbeat than any stereotype would’ve predicted. There is even a fierce debate about the existence of God going on between a single black-clad youngster with a simple silver cross around his neck, apparently newly converted to Christianity, and three others, all four of them wearing instantly recognisable t-shirts with white circles advertising NZ music month.

When we get a little closer, now beginning to enter into their personal space, conversation trickles to a stop as we are noticed. An outsider has come into the mix and has only seconds to identify themselves as friend or foe. Stunned by the sudden silence and attention, we are not quick enough and the group assumes ‘foe’ for the sake of its own safety. A couple of nasty comments are cast our way, and we can feel the growing animosity and lack of safety. Those not commenting are giving sour looks, but then the youngster with the cross says, “hey guys, leave them alone, this is a public place and they haven’t done anything to you. This is why people think we are just rebellious kids who beat up old people.”

Again, the mood has shifted in an instant and the tension is broken, but there is still an overwhelming feeling of being out of place and unwelcome. We quickly wander off with a quiet, “thank you” to the youngster with the cross.

Hopefully you can see that standing “in the way of sinners” is not merely a matter of who you keep company with. If it was, then how would Jesus have been justified when his enemies called him a friend of sinners and tax collectors? If those were the only people who he kept company with, then perhaps he would’ve been on shaky ground. But in our situation it is no different. Our friend, the youngster, is standing with sinners at this time, but he is not standing in the WAY of sinners. When they acted with hostility towards us, THEY were standing in the way of sinners. When the youngster considered what was right and spoke up, despite the risk of offending his peers, that was NOT standing in the way of sinners, and for him this would lead to bless-ed-ness. Compare this with the example of the apostle Paul who became all things to all people, that by all means he might save some. Our youngster was being one of the group so that he might save some. Many who judge these groups without considering the individuals and without giving them even a shadow of a chance, it is them who are standing in the way of sinners by judging without knowledge.

Again, lets not get caught up in the story when the point is that there are godly and ungodly behaviours. Not all behaviour is easily categorised on the surface, but as Christians who are active in our own sanctification as God commands us and enables us, we should be growing in our ability to recognise what is right, even the eldest of us. Maybe even especially the eldest and most respected of us. But, even if we are not yet developed in these skills, the basics are very clear from scripture, for example in Galatians chapter 5:
Gal 5:19-21 …the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, (20) idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, (21) envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these…

Even just listing some of the ways of the wicked, it is easy to see that there is no way we could consider these to give rise to a state of bless-ed-ness.

Now, we have seen how thoughts give rise to actions, and it is true that both our thoughts and actions tend to lead us to keep company with like minded people, who do the same. And this brings us to…

…sitting in the seat of scoffers – here we are given the idea of how an ungodly person might BELONG among other ungodly people.

When I first became a Christian, at 18 years of age during my first year of University, I spent a lot of time feeling uncomfortable around my former group of friends. There were about half a dozen of us that were saved in the midst of about twenty or thirty people. One friend, who had the only real Christian links among us, got saved and then preached the gospel to us, with that good word spreading and making a difference over a couple of years until, it seemed, the good soil had been completely worked.

There were two main groups of people within this one big group of associates. The non-Christians and the Christians. There were also a few who sort of fell in the middle, seeming to be a committed part of neither. The non-Christians used to tease us, finding it funny when we turned down an invitation to drink after they structured it in such a mocking way as, “we’re going to go get boozed, want to come along Christians?” Or they would snicker to hide the discomfort of their own pricked consciences if we wandered off to the garage to pray when they lit up their bongs to smoke drugs.

I want to tell the story of a young lady who was caught somewhere between the two groups. She clearly had to battle her conscience around the non-Christians, but was also uncomfortable when with the Christians. She did listen to what we had to say, spent some time with us away from the others, asked questions, even went to church and got involved there too. But she also spent a lot of time with the other group, occasionally smoking and drinking (though never obviously having too much), she would pursue material desires such as cars to the detriment of other areas of financial need, and even entered into a relationship with one of the non-Christians, refusing to admit to the difficulties of being in an unevenly yolked situation. What is more, she never could break free from the trauma of the mockery we experienced at the hands of the non-Christians, and also had a hard time dealing with the disapproval of her parents at her decision to associate with Christians. We were all worried for her, for her salvation. Even though she had a clear understanding of the gospel, she never seemed to be able to make consistently “good” decisions and she never had the will to break out of the comfort zone of fitting in with those who hurt her the most, perhaps preferring their company because it didn’t challenge her morally and it made her feel “good” in a way that Christians didn’t. In the end it turned out that her thinking (or her emotional decisions) and her actions, were guided and manipulated more by this other group and their jibes about us than by our little island of Christians in the midst.

Having kept an ear out for updates as the dozen or so years have passed since then, I have heard how she has slipped further and further into pagan groups and their drug scene, and I even bumped into her in the supermarket once or twice, the last about six years ago when she was clearly unhappy, with tear streaks in her make-up, and so stoned that she did not even recognise me. Having seen this life produced from that situation, it is clear that when push came to shove, she was ultimately associated with that other group. It wasn’t very clear to us in our inexperience at the time, and all we could do was pray and worry; but looking back now it is pretty obvious who she was associated with and who dominated her time, thoughts, and actions.

The lasting associations over a long period of years is very telling. For those of us within the Christian group, we are all still seeking out the company of Christians wherever we are in the world, and making the big decisions in our lives based upon the word of God as best we can. For the non-Christians, they continue to make decisions based on the best advice from their current group of mates (which hasn’t changed that much), and more often than not they are merely responding to situations they find themselves in by pursuing the easy-to-find and extra-ordinarily shallow pleasures of the flesh, all the while laughing at Christians for their odd sense of morality, telling their consciences that “nobody can really be that good, even if they really want to”. Anyone, even a non-Christian, who stands back from this situation and views the two pictures produced by the two lives; Anyone can see that it is a bless-ed life led by the Christians and an unhappy and unfulfilled, downward spiral of a life that is typified by violence, the pursuit of short-lived pleasures, emotional hardness, and certainly no lasting love, that is led by the non-Christians.

Now I don’t want to give the impression with this last story that bless-ed-ness is all about what happens in this life, because it’s not, and I would hate for that to be the biggest thing to take away. Instead, take this:

The world and the devil, in the form of the wicked, the sinner, and the scoffer, tells us that to be happy we need to be good at fulfilling our desires and meeting the needs which we believe we have. Whether those desires direct us to building a lasting family empire, having a mortgage-free house, a nice car and boat, along with bringing up kids who are pretty good; or if it involves pursuing power or money, and fulfilling addictions; whatever the direction of our desires, it is clear from scripture that these things are no guarantee for happiness, even if some are blessings from God, because:
You might not get them
If you do get them there is no guarantee that you will keep them another day, and
You can’t take them with you when you die
At the end of your life, how will any of these things help you when you stand before Almighty God to be judged? The accumulated wealth and power of a hundred kings will be of no more use than the scratchings of a dog in the dirt.

Now, going back to my introductory comments, I want you to see that:
You can only be happy, bless-ed-ly happy, now and for eternity, if your life is guided by God’s Word. God’s Word is the only thing that can prepare you for that day of Judgment, and give you a confidence in life that will lead to lasting happiness that does not have the shadow of death hanging over it.

A final note on this first verse before looking at the second, and the positive approach to being bless-ed:
You may have noticed that there is a downward progression of sorts, from thinking the thoughts of the wicked, to acting the way sinners act, and ultimately to keeping regular company with them as they scoff resentfully at those who walk a bless-ed life. This should give us signs to be aware of in our own lives and in the lives of our loved ones around us. We also must guard our thoughts, lest they lead to sinful action, or a hardened heart.

Now we must turn to the other side of the coin to see specifically and clearly what it is that leads to the bless-ed life:
Instead of listening to the advice of the wicked, the sinner, and the scoffer, the psalmist tells us that bless-ed is the man who looks to the law and instruction, that the LORD gives. We have here a direct line from scripture that should lead us to regular consideration of God’s word. Reading it, studying it, memorising it, thinking how we can apply it, talking about it with friends; all of these things are good ways to meditate on God’s Word, and to uncover the wonderful delights of it.

So what is the delightful word of God concerning lasting happiness? We have:

From Psalm 16:
You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you. (V2)
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (V11)

From Psalm 32:
Bless-ed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. (V1)
Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the LORD. (11) Be glad in the LORD (V10-11)

So our source of joy and gladness should be the LORD, and scripture often shows that the only way to draw near to Him and to stand in His presence is through forgiveness of our sin. This is again seen in Isaiah’s encounter with the Lord in Isaiah chapter 6, which we will take a brief look at in a few moments.

The forgiveness of sin gives:
Confidence and peace of mind regarding our eternal fate. This gives an underlying joy to our life that cannot be shaken by any loss or tragedy. While we may weep in sadness at the loss of loves ones of suffer ill-health and poverty as Job did, we can still say with confidence that we are just passing through this life and will reside forever with joy in the presence of God.
More importantly, the forgiveness of sin gives glory to God who has saved us. His great mercies are magnified before all creation in saving people who could not save themselves and who had no hope outside Him.

There is one final aspect of this instruction from the Lord that I will mention:
The psalm does not say that: “to be blessed you must LEARN to delight in the instruction from God.” No. It says that the blessed man does delight in the law and instruction of the lord. What is the difference? It is the difference between a work of God, a miracle that only He can perform and that only He can receive glory for; and a work of man that man can then claim as his own and boast in. You cannot teach a stone how to be a pussy cat and you cannot teach a sinner how to delight in the lord. The power to change a man’s heart rests only with God.

In summing up this section…
…you can answer the question of who controls you by asking yourself this: Am I bless-ed? Do I have a rational and firmly fixed joy at the prospect of entering into eternity, stemming from a knowing that I most definitely delight in God and His word? Does God control you, through His Word? Or are you controlled by the thoughts and actions of one who is wicked and sinful.

Moving on to the second and third sections, I promise that these will be much quicker. This is not because I want to rush so that you can stand up if you’re uncomfortable, but because these two sections build upon the foundation of the first and are quite straight forward when you have the first well covered.

So the second section:

(Verses 3 and 4) Is yours a Godly life?

Is yours a Godly life?

(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. (4) The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

These two verses deal with the lives of our two types of people.

We see the fruit of the bless-ed man and the absence of fruit from the wicked. Again, a tree does not learn how to bear fruit; it is the nature of the tree as God has made it. So is the righteous man who bears fruit of salvation in his life. He is transformed day by day into the image of Christ and bears fruit of the Spirit.

Some things to notice about the righteous man in these verses are:
We have the righteous seen to be a strong tree, not a small plant that would be easily uprooted
The tree is a tree, through and through. There is no part of the tree that is not the tree. And so, every part of the life of the righteous, from small decisions to large, will reflect the character of a righteous tree.
The tree is set by an abundance of life-giving water and not in a dry place that will quickly bring death
Fruit comes forth in season showing stability and consistency of character. An unsaved man cannot consistently maintain any good and respond in the same manner as the righteous to events because it is not in his nature. It is possible to deceive for a time and convince many of a character that is non-existent, but all will be revealed and the pretender will be made known in God’s timing.
“His leaf does not wither” speaks of being evergreen and consistent again
Such strength cannot fail to grow and prosper. See what character brings lasting success in this world and you will normally find a biblical root.

In contrast to the righteous man, the chaff is driven away at the first wind and is no more. So little can be said of chaff that nothing is said here except that it is light and of no substance, and that it is driven away by the wind.

Now, every believer is a tree. Everyone who perishes is chaff. There is no middle ground, they have nothing in common, and it takes a miracle from God to make chaff into a tree. This is why we must be born again or re-created in Christ as a totally new creation.

So, is yours a Godly life: stable, consistent, bearing good fruit, and always heading in the direction of abundant spiritual character? Or are you inconsistent in your faith, struggling to grow because you have little or no water, setting yourself up to be blown away by the slightest wind of difficulty in life?

Moving on to the final section:

(Verses 5 and 6)What will your eternal fate be?

What will your eternal fate be?

(5) Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; (6) for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

The wicked cannot stand in the judgment. The second part of this verse is restating the same for emphasis. Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. The reason why is given in verses 3 and 4: he does not have the nature of a tree and is not watered by Christ the provider of the water of life.

Contrast the two situations of standing before God and not standing (or not being able to stand) in Isaiah’s account of coming before God (Isaiah 6).

Isa 6:1-7 In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. (2) Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. (3) And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” (4) And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. (5) And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” (6) Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. (7) And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”

He fell before God, unable to stand because of his sin. But God gives a man righteousness that he might stand! In my travels through some Christian circles, I have come across people who claim to have seen God. Sadly, they are still in their sin, and their accounts are of meeting a buddy, not the holy and majestic Lord of the bible. There could be people here who have had such experiences, and I don’t want to question your experiences, but you must interpret them carefully, and according to scripture. I find myself doubting any experience that does not match Moses, Isaiah, or Paul’s first encounter with the Lord – they could not stand or were unable to see His face, and God was always magnified in glory in the retelling of their experiences.

Back to the psalm, and we see that “sinners will not stand in the congregation of the righteous”:
This clearly states that there will be no sinners in heaven, and
It will not be as it is now, where false converts may live alongside those who are truly saved. We’ve heard from Bill, in his sermons on the parables, that the wheat and tares are only separated in the end, though they grow up together (Matt 13)

“The Lord knows the way of the righteous” – He judges us and can do so because He knows what is right. The use of “knows” here contains an intimate knowing. It is true of the most holy that He has this relationship with holiness in His own being and He knows it to judge it. God knows His own which is why we need to have the nature of Christ to stand for us in the judgment.

“The way of the wicked will perish” – It is clear from the context, that this is dealing with the eternal fate of the wicked, and other parts of scripture reveal this to us very clearly as everlasting punishment in hell, eternally perishing.

So, finishing this section, I ask again, “What will your eternal fate be?”

[Conclusion]

Now, to conclude I would like to show you Jesus in this psalm

…it is actually very clear and obvious once you look from a certain perspective. This is not just trying to squeeze Jesus into a sermon from the Old Testament, though admittedly he would not have been seen in this very easily by Rabbis before Christ’s time. But we must look again at the Old Testament in the light of New Testament revelation, and we can see certain mysteries revealed, that were not obvious for a time.

The perspective that reveals Jesus in this psalm is “perfection”.

No mere man on earth who has ever lived, or who will ever live, is truly righteous. We know that “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” and that “there is none righteous, no not one” which means that none of us can say that we have ever fulfilled this psalm. We have all had, and continue to have our moments of instability and we still neglect to do the things that we know we should. This gets less and less as we grow in Christ, but in this life we will not see perfection in ourselves, and we cannot say that we have fulfilled the righteous portion of this psalm. Any blot on our record means that we are of the company of the wicked and are unacceptable to be known by God in the way of the righteous.

Only Jesus, who knew no sin, and who perfectly pleased the Father. Only God in the flesh, was able to fulfil this psalm. When we see things in our lives that are signs of righteousness and good fruit, it is actually Christ in us that does those things. It is not until he returns and our old, fallen nature is completely stripped away, that we will see Christ perfected in us. Until that time, we can know that we share the fate of the righteous Lord by seeing him take over our lives with his righteousness as the years pass.

When we see Christ in ourselves and others, we can know that we are bless-ed. We will see that we are controlled by God, that our lives are becoming more godly, and that our eternal fate is to be together with our Lord where there will be everlasting joy in His presence.

Brothers, and Sisters, eagerly look forward to the completion of the work that God has begun in you! and eagerly look forward to Jesus return. May you be bless-ed believers.

Lets pray.

mp3 audio: 2010-09-12 Psalm 1 – Hight