On Sundays at Arapahoe Road Baptist Church in Centennial, CO (where I serve as pastor), we are going through a new series entitled “Jesus Is ________” in which we will begin exploring the Gospel of John. On Sunday Nights, we will look at “How Do You Measure Success?” from the book of Ecclesiastes.
To build on Sunday mornings, I started a series on Wednesday nights called “That Sweet, Sweet Song of Salvation: Jesus in the Psalms.” Below are the notes I handed out on Psalm 1.
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[b] 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 (ESV).
We tend to look at this exclusively from a moralistic standpoint: “If you want to be blessed, then do this.” But in reality, none of us can do this. This is a description of the true Blessed Man, Jesus Christ.
Before we start, we must ask, “How do we define ‘blessed’?”
- One way that many have defined and translated this word is the word, ‘happy’ –but this is not what is intended when originally inspired.
- R.C. Sproul: “It involves God’s favor, His willingness to come near and dwell among His people. This is the chief meaning of the Aaronic blessing in Numbers 6:22–27. The hope of Israel was that God would shine His face on the people, that there would be close, intimate fellowship between the Creator and His creatures. The New Testament expands on this, revealing that our ultimate hope is the Beatific Vision — face-to-face communion with God and His glory in eternity” (1 Cor. 13:12; 1 John 3:2).”
The Psalmist lays two paths before us: the path of the righteous and the path of the wicked.
First, the path of the wicked:
1. The path of wickedness is a downhill path.
- C.H. Spurgeon noted: “When men are living in sin they go from bad to worse. At first they merely walk in the counsel of the careless and ungodly, who forget God—the evil is rather practical than habitual—but after that, they become habituated to evil, and they stand in the way of open sinners who willfully violate God’s commandments; and if let alone, they go one step further, and become themselves pestilent teachers and tempters of others, and thus they sit in the seat of the scornful. They have taken their degree in vice, and as true Doctors of Damnation they are installed.”
2. The path of wickedness is a fruitless path.
- Psalmist uses the illustration of chaff, which is blown away, while the heavier and true grain remains.
- John the Baptist warned of what would happen to the ‘chaff’ in Matthew 3:11-12; as did Jesus with the wheat and the tares in Matthew 13:24-30.
- Martin Luther warns the church on how to treat the tares: “"From this observe what raging and furious people we have been these many years, in that we desired to force others to believe; the Turks with the sword, heretics with fire, the Jews with death, and thus outroot the tares by our own power, as if we were the ones who could reign over hearts and spirits, and make them pious and right, which God’s Word alone must do. But by murder we separate the people from the Word, so that it cannot possibly work upon them and we bring thus, with one stroke a double murder upon ourselves, as far as it lies in our power, namely, in that we murder the body for time and the soul for eternity, and afterwards say we did God a service by our actions, and wish to merit something special in heaven. . . . He concluded that "although the tares hinder the wheat, yet they make it the more beautiful to behold.”
3. The path of wickedness is a destructive path (v. 6).
- Whereas they stand and sit in the way of the wicked on earth willingly, they will not stand in judgment.
- Whereas they are in the congregation of the wicked on earth, they will not be in the congregation of the righteous in heaven.
The Path of Righteousness
1. The path of the righteous is filled with those who love God’s Word (2).
- There is a delight in learning about God’s character.
- John Stott notes that this delight “is an indication of the new birth.” Romans 8:7 says that the sinful mind is “hostile toward God.”
2. The path of righteousness is filled with those who yield God’s fruit (3-4).
- Remember John 17:17-19: God’s Word is a sanctifying Word that helps us grow, mature, and bear fruit.
- John 15:1-11: Those not abiding in the vine of Christ will not bear fruit and will be thrown into the fire. Only those in the vine of Christ will bear fruit.
3. The path of righteousness is filled with those whose way is known by God (v. 6).
- Jesus Christ is that way, the truth and the life (John 14:6).
- Jesus Christ is that blessed Man! Beware of turning this Psalm into a moral platitude. This is a description of the Only One who could fulfill this Psalm!
The Following Week’s Study of Christ in the Psalms
April 25: Jesus is the Lord’s Anointed (Psalm 2)
May 2: Jesus is the Majestic One (Psalm 8)
May 9: Jesus is the Incorruptible One (Psalm 16)
May 16: Jesus is the Forsaken One (Psalm 22)
May 23: Jesus is the Good Shepherd (Psalm 23)
May 30: Jesus is the Forever Priest (Psalm 110)