Study Notes

Psalm 1:1-6

1:1 Blessed

The word "blessed" is EH-sher in Hebrew, which means to be happy. As the psalmist describes three places not to be, he says, "How happy is the man who isn't in these three places." The three places we shouldn't be are:

Walking In The Counsel Of The Wicked.

Very often, it is the ungodly who give their advice the loudest. It is the wicked person who tries to convince you that his way is best. It is the person living the evil life that wants you to follow his counsel.

But God is the wonderful Counselor. We need to seek His counsel in matters, not the world's. When we don't, things turn out badly, and that's not a good equation to bring happiness. Look at what happened in the book of Joshua:

After the battle of Jericho, the Gibeonites were afraid of being conquered as well. So they dressed in worn-out clothes, and sandals, tore and mended their wineskins, and took dry, crumbled bread.

Josh. 9:6 And they went to Joshua to the camp at Gilgal, and said to him and to the men of Israel, "We have come from a far country; now therefore, make a covenant with us."

Walking by sight, the Israelites believed their story.

Josh. 9:14-16 So the men {of Israel} took some of their provisions, and did not ask for the counsel of the LORD. And Joshua made peace with them and made a covenant with them, to let them live; and the leaders of the congregation swore {an oath} to them. And it came about at the end of three days after they had made a covenant with them, that they heard that they were neighbors and that they were living within their land.

Because they had not asked for the counsel of the Lord, they were stuck. They had made an oath that they had to keep.

Standing In The Path Of Sinners.

When we stand in the path of sinners and try to prevent them from doing what they want, they purpose in their hearts even more and become determined in it.

One evening in 1983, I was on my way across the parking lot of the Los Angeles Forum. I was going in to see the concert of the year - AC/DC on their "For Those About To Rock" tour. Right by the entrance was a crowd of about 25 people, obviously from a local church, holding up signs and shouting. The signs said things like "AC/DC = Anti-Christ, Devil's Children" and they were shouting at us "Go through that door and lose your soul forever!" "Don't be a child of the devil!"

Those signs and shouting actually made me happier than ever to go right in. I knew that if the Christians didn't want me there, I must be in for a fun night! And because of that reaction, I refuse to blockade abortion clinics, boycott Disney, and protest "The Last Temptation of Christ."

We are blessed when we don't stand in the path of sinners. In other words, don't protest the sin, proclaim the Son. Here's an example: The apostle Paul came to Ephesus preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. So many people were getting saved that the guys who sold idols of Artemis were in danger of going out of business. But how successful do you think Paul would have been if, instead of preaching the gospel, he protested with big signs in front of the temple of Artemis? "Artemis is a false God!" "Don't go to the temple today!" "Idolatry will send you to hell!" "Repent you wicked Ephesians, stop these ungodly practices!" Would people have gotten saved, or would they have just gotten angry and been even more determined to worship Artemis?

Instead of protesting sin, the church should be proclaiming the Son. That is how the the idol makers will be put out of business: the abortion industry, the pornography industry, illegal drugs, satanic and perverse music, and every other industry that feeds off of the sin nature of man. Too many people spend their lifetimes protesting the sin, when they should be spending their lives proclaiming the Son.

Sitting In The Seat Of Scoffers

A scoffer is one who mocks, makes fun of, insults, finds fault with and puts down. Sound like anyone you know? When you sit in the seat of scoffers, you're hanging out with them, getting drawn into that same mouthy attitude.

The book of Proverbs has much to say about scoffers, and what it has to say about dealing with scoffers is surprising.

Prov. 9:7-8 He who corrects a scoffer gets dishonor for himself, And he who reproves a wicked man {gets} insults for himself. Do not reprove a scoffer, lest he hate you, Reprove a wise man, and he will love you.

Scoffers won't hear your correction - they will just turn you into one of the objects of their ridicule.

Prov. 13:1 A wise son {accepts his} father's discipline, But a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.

Prov. 15:12 A scoffer does not love one who reproves him, He will not go to the wise.

So if they won't accept rebuke or reproof, how do you deal with a scoffer?

Prov. 22:10 Drive out the scoffer, and contention will go out, Even strife and dishonor will cease.

If the place you work is full of contention, fire the scoffer. If you're not in that position, do as the psalm says and don't be around him or her.

1:2 The Law Of The Lord

On the positive side, a person is blessed when their passion is the Law of the Lord, the Word of God. If you want to be truly happy, learn to love the Bible. Meditate on it day and night. Read a verse in the morning, write it down, look at it throughout the day, mull it over in your head. Think about what it speaks to you. Does it comfort you? Does it challenge you to change? How can you incorporate its truth into your life. If you do this day and night, you will be blessed, happy.

1:3 Like A Tree Planted By Streams

Then you will find yourself being like a tree. Not a tree in the middle of the desert, but one whose roots are continually watered by a nearby stream. Fruit will be abundantly produced out of your life. Whatever you do will prosper, because you'll be doing what God is leading you to do.

1:4-6 The Wicked

If the blessed man is a fruit-bearing tree, then the wicked are like chaff - wind-blown and only good for burning. There is a judgment day coming for the wicked, there's nothing about them we should desire.

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