Thank you for joining me on another edition of the Pastors Pen. This Sunday, I will be preaching from Psalm 1. As I have been meditating on this passage, I have been struck by the contrasts the author puts forth. In this Psalm, the writer beautifully teaches that in this life we are faced with 2 choices, 2 ways to live, 2 paths to take. There is the way of the wicked and then there is the way of the righteous, or the way of the blessed as this Psalm puts it. The way of the wicked is the popular way. It’s the way that looks promising, looks enticing, and it’s the way that most people in our society are going. But the way of the righteous is counter-cultural. It’s definitely more challenging, but it is the way that leads to abundant life and an eternal reward. As I have been reading this psalm over the past several weeks, the Lord has placed a challenge on my heart: Will you go with the flow of culture and pursue the ways of the wicked, or will you fight the current and pursue the way of God?
Psalm 1 begins with this phrase “Blessed is the man...” This word blessed is synonymous with the word happiness, and to be blessed is to be happy. But this does not simply mean to be temporarily or externally happy. Rather it means to be full of joy, gratitude, and to experience the full satisfaction and contentment that comes from being in a right relationship with God. Everybody wants to be blessed. Everyone desires to be happy and live a good life and be fulfilled, but out of the 2 lifestyles that this passage contrasts, only one will lead you to discover true happiness. What is the key to living a truly blessed life? First, it is to reject the ways of sinners. Psalm 1:1 says, “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.” The truly happy person is the one who does not associate with any sort of evil. He or she does not listen to the advice of the wicked or allow themselves to be swayed by their influence They do not associate with their sinful behaviors or join them on their endeavors. They reject all forms of sin and repent, because none of these things bring true happiness. Instead, the truly happy person delights and meditates on God’s Word. Jeremiah 15:16 says “Your words were found and I ate them, And Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart.”
Notice the contrast in vs’s 3-4 of the effects of the righteous life vs. the wicked. The one who delights in God’s word and is pursuing him is “like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither.” The writer has in mind here trees that were planted by streams of water in dry climates, so that even in the most barren weather the trees are nourished through their roots by the streams. This tree never withers, nothing can overtake it, but it bears fruit and continues to produce what it was meant to produce. The wicked on the other hand, “are like chaff that the wind drives away.” Chaff is the outside covering and extra debris separated from the seed in the grain in the process of threshing or winnowing. It’s the stuff that doesn’t matter, the stuff that can easily blow away in the wind and no one would bat an eye. So, this begs the question, what path are you on? Are you on the path of pursuing God, being nourished by his word and bearing fruit? Or are you pursuing the way of the wicked and hanging your life on things that will easily blow away in the wind? I encourage you to delight in God and consume and meditate on his word, because this the key to pursuing God, and it is the only path that leads to a blessed life.