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Two paths lie before you
Psalm 1

This morning we are going to begin a 30 week journey through the Book of Psalms.

-The Psalms serve as the prayer book of the Bible- reflecting all to often what is going on in our hearts and hence teaching us how to approach the throne of God
-The Psalms serve as a worship book too, for Colossians 3:16 says; "Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts."
-Of the Psalms, here's what Billy Graham said; "I used to read five psalms every day (his health doesn't allow it anymore) - that teaches me how to get along with God. Then I read a chapter of Proverbs every day and that teaches me how to get along with my fellow man." WE NEED TO GET INTO THE PSALMS REGULARLY

Today we are going to begin our series by taking a look at Psalm 1.

-While we are going to take a look at Psalm 1, I'd like to note that it is integrally connected to Psalm 2
-Psalm 1 and Psalm 2 stand as the doorposts into the whole book of Psalms
-Psalm 1 tells us that two paths lie before us- the way of the righteous and the way of the wicked. Psalm 1 challenges to make a choice, a wise choice, the right choice in the sight of God.
-Psalm 2 introduces us to Jesus (Psalm 2 is what is called a Messianic passage). He/Jesus, the Son of God is the door. He is the way, the truth, and the life. His way is the way we are to take. We are to submit ourselves to his Lordship. We are to take refuge under his wings.

Through Psalm 1 and 2 one can step into the rest of the book on the right footing- choosing the way of the righteous, surrendered to God's anointed, to the Savior Jesus Christ.

READ PSALM 1

Cool parallel: Jeremiah 21:8

LESSONS, PRINCIPLES, OBSERVATIONS OF THE TEXT

1. TWO PATHS LIE BEFORE US- one leads to eternal life, the other leads to Judgment -choose wisely!

-This text introduces us to those who are righteous and those who are wicked.
-The righteous are characterized as choice and cultivated trees, planted by a stream of life giving water
-The wicked are characterized as chaff- left overs of the winnowing process, husks, empty shells, useless and lifeless, driven away by the wind

The end that is spoken of for both groups - eternal life for the righteous and Judgment for the wicked- has everything to do with a CHOICE MADE.

The righteous are said to have made a choice to seek after God and His ways and to revere Him. The righteous are said to be ones who actively eschew and reject the way of the wicked and their call to join in with them

The wicked are said to have made a choice to pursue their own guilty pleasures and to rail against God.

The call of Psalm 1, especially when paired with Psalm 2 - which introduces us to Jesus the Messiah- is to choose the way of God, the fear of the Lord, the way of faith and trust.

The two paths of Psalm 1 reminds us of the call of Jesus in Matthew 7:13-14 "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."


2. THE PATH THE LORD CALLS US TO REQUIRES CARE IN HOW WE LIVE AND WHO WE "ROLL" WITH v.1-2

Who are your associates? Who do you hang with? Who do you roll with?

Is your circle of friends all jacked up about drinking and partying? Are they into 1 night stands, casual sex, and hooking up? Are they the sort that think it appropriate to attend and support the gay pride parade? Are they part of that crowd that likes to declare what is evil to be good and what is good to be evil? When you are with them, have you determined that it's best that you not talk about Christ, the church, or the things of God, for fear of being mocked-- but for some strange reason, you still want to fit in with them?

1 Corinthians 15:33 "Bad company corrupts good character"

Notice the progression of v.1-2

a. Blessed is the man/woman who walks not in the counsel of the wicked
b. Blessed is the man/woman who does not stand in the way of sinners
c. Blessed is the person who who does not sit in the seat of scoffers

Remember how sometimes you hear someone talk about a "slippery slope"- implying that comprising a little will lead to bigger compromises and greater sin. Psalm 1:1-2 describes this descent as walking, standing, sitting.


This principle that we are presently considering ties in with what is said in 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 "Don't team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever? And what union can there be between God's temple and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God said: "I will live in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people. Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord. Don't touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you. And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty."


An interesting thought: If you had a 3 year old, could you take them with you to wherever it is and whoever it is with? If not--- it might not be a good idea for us to be there either.


3. MEDITATION- AN OVERLOOKED AND MISUNDERSTOOD CHRISTIAN PRACTICE THAT WILL HELP US STAY ON THE RIGHT PATH v.2

Verse 2 is a verse that almost flies under the radar "but his delight is in the law of he LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night"

If we are not to walk in the counsel or the wicked nor stand in the way of sinners, nor sit int he seat of scoffers- what are we to do? What can we do to protect ourselves from the influence of the world and the wayward desires that are within us?

WE ARE TO MEDITATE ON THE WORD OF GOD

CHRISTIAN MEDITATION

-A lot of people meditate. It's a popular practice amongst Buddhists and other religions.
-Christian meditation is overlooked

a. How to meditate as a Christian

- Find a quiet spot. Set aside some time (at night in bed, in the morning, wherever). Take the Word of God in hand. Pick a verse. Pick a passage. Read it, read it, read it, pray it, pray over it, Pray to start. Ask God for wisdom and understanding. Study the passage, ponder the passage.
- You might also consider playing some Christian music- for the Lord inhabits the praises of His people

b. The need for Christian meditation

-that we might be steeped in the truth
-obedience to God-- for what does our text say - the one who is seeking after God will meditate on His word, they will delight themselves in the laws of God

c. The benefits of Christian meditation

-Your word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11
-When we meditate on the Word we gain a knowledge of the person and gloriousness of God
-When we meditate on the Word we gain a knowledge of his will. We are able to discern right from wrong. We are able to identify what is evil and see it and see what is righteous more clearly
-peace, a healthy mind

d. The ill effects of meditating on wrong things

We meditate whether we like to think we do or not -but not always as purposefully as we should

-when we ruminate and stew over the hurts we receive, we're meditating- but to our detriment
-when we ponder and plot how to gratify the flesh and get away with something, there is a price to pay-- not only in flesh but in our spirit and mind to--- for peace of mind flies out the window
-to dwell upon things that are contrary to God is the path to sin.

We must to care to arrest our minds from pondering and dwelling on things that are sure to get us into trouble.

Rather, we are to heed what Philippians 4:8 says; "whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things"


4. THE LORD HAS GOOD THINGS IN STORE FOR THOSE WHO CHOSE THE PATH OF RIGHTEOUSNESS

In short- Help for today and hope for tomorrow

Help for today

Herein our Heavenly father is likened to a gardener who has taken us from the barren soil of our old life and purposefully and carefully planted us by a living stream of water- for a purpose-- that we might bear FRUIT- the fruit of righteousness, the fruit of the Spirit- love, joy, peace, patience, long suffering, perseverance

Hope for tomorrow

To be found in the "congregation of the righteous" -

- a picture of God's people in the heavenly courts. Numbered as one of the people of God- being all those whose names are written in the Book of Life.

To such ones belong assurance