Monday, January 4, 2016

Can You Sing Psalm 1 Yet?

The Psalm contrasts between two kinds of people:

One who is blessed, the other who is not;
One who is like a strong tree, the other who is like chaff;
One who is planted by rivers of water and is well nourished, the other who is driven away by the wind;
One who brings forth his fruit in his season, the other who shall not stand in the time of testing or judgment;
One whose leaf never withers (he is always in good health and right relationship with God), the other who shall not stand in the gathering of the righteous (he has no place among those who are in right standing with God);
One whose every work shall prosper, the other whose way shall perish.

The Bible promises prosperity in every act that the one who is blessed does. To be blessed means to be strong, well-nourished, vivacious, healthy, and prosperous in the will of God. This is not prosperity gospel. The Bible is not telling us that the godly will not have trials; however, the Bible does promise that God has given us His promises and His power so that we can, with His abundant life, swim against the current and experience His power and come out pure as gold in our faith in Him. Hebrews 11 clearly recounts the success of faith in the sense of supernatural experiences especially in the midst of temptation and suffering and a life of pilgrimage in the world.

The Bible doesn’t tell us, to the chagrin of some melancholic theologians, that the blessed will be like the chaff driven by the wind. It doesn’t tell us that the blessed cannot stand in the time of testing. On the contrary, it tells us that it is the ungodly and the sinners who cannot stand in the hour of judgment and in the congregation of the righteous.

The Bible promises power, purposefulness, protection, productivity, and prosperity to the blessed.

The Bible also promises persecution, which is nothing but the counter-current that tries to kill the strong tree. However, to stand in faith and in the will of God is the blessing of the blessed.

“Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” (2Tim.3:12)
“In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)
“But, as he who was born according to the flesh then persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, even so it is now.” (Gal.4:29)
“You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (1John 4:4)

Of course, sometimes it may seem that the wicked are prospering; but, the Scripture reveals to us their fate:

“Surely You set them in slippery places; You cast them down to destruction. Oh, how they are brought to desolation, as in a moment! They are utterly consumed with terrors. As a dream when one awakes, So, Lord, when You awake, You shall despise their image. Thus my heart was grieved, and I was vexed in my mind.” (Psa.73:18-21).

Let’s look at some qualities that make a person blessed:

1. The Blessed doesn’t walk in the counsel of the ungodly.
The counsel of the ungodly is anything that ungodly people say and teach in order to lead people away from the Word of God and right relationship with God.

“For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Jude 1:4)

“Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.” (2John 1:9-11)

“traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was.” (2Tim.3:4-9).

2. The Blessed does not stand in the way of sinners.
The way of sinners is the path they take to execute their actions. The blessed has nothing to do with the way of sinners.

“My son, if sinners entice you, Do not consent. If they say, "Come with us, Let us lie in wait to shed blood; Let us lurk secretly for the innocent without cause; Let us swallow them alive like Sheol, And whole, like those who go down to the Pit; We shall find all kinds of precious possessions, We shall fill our houses with spoil; Cast in your lot among us, Let us all have one purse" -- My son, do not walk in the way with them, Keep your foot from their path; For their feet run to evil, And they make haste to shed blood. Surely, in vain the net is spread In the sight of any bird; But they lie in wait for their own blood, They lurk secretly for their own lives. So are the ways of everyone who is greedy for gain; It takes away the life of its owners.” (Proverbs 1:10-19)

“Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah. These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots; raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.” (Jude 1:11-13)

“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. “ (Matt. 7:13-14)

3. The Blessed does not sit in the seat of the scornful.
The scornful are mockers who do not regard the seriousness of human life, the sincerity of God’s Word, and the severity of God’s judgment. They are loose-talkers, loose-livers, and sensual.

“But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know, that no fornicator, unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.” (Eph.5:3-5)

“But you, beloved, remember the words which were spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ: how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts.” (Jude 1:17-18)

“knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts…” (2Pet.3:3)

“But these, like natural brute beasts made to be caught and destroyed, speak evil of the things they do not understand, and will utterly perish in their own corruption,” (2 Pet.2:12)

4. The Blessed delight in the Law of God.
They love the Word of God. They love to hear the Word of God. They are hungry for the Word of God. Their greatest joy comes when they listen carefully and understand what God is speaking through His Word. These are not emotional people who look for sensational phenomena, lights, show, and sensual entertainment. These are not celebrity-fans. Their pure delight is in the Word of God.

To delight means to desire to spend time in, to derive happiness from, to douse, dip, and be drenched with the Word of God.

5. The Blessed meditates in the Word of God day and night.
There is just this simple key to blessedness: faith; living faith, active faith, total faith. And faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. To meditate means to internalize the Word of God, to take the Word deep within by pondering, meditating, thinking upon, being immersed in, and comparing life events and experiences in the light of the Word of God. To meditate means to ask questions: why, what, when, where, how. Those who do not ask questions in order to understand more deeply the Word of God are like a stony ground on which, when the rain falls, it rolls away or just stops on the surface. But those who ask questions are like the soft soil that drinks the rain water and takes it deep within the ground.

The Bible starts with a Psalm of blessedness. God calls us to a life of blessedness.





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