The Two Ways


The Book of Psalms 

Psalm 1 – The Two Ways 

Mosaic Rockford – Dave Spooner – Jan.13th, 2019

Intro:

  • After our intro message from last week, this morning we are diving into the first of ten different psalms that we will be learning from during this series.  Again, this series and this message will provide for you life-changing, convicting, and encouraging counsel that can have a significant, powerful impact on your thinking and your life. It will benefit you during this life and provide reward in eternity.  
  • The psalm we are looking at this morning is the first psalm, psalm 1.  If you have a bible with you, please open to it.  This psalm is a wisdom psalm which contrasts two pathways: the way of the righteous and the way of the wicked.  It provides wisdom from God that will help you make an informed decision.  There is a promise in it, that if you follow what it says there will be a reward. If you don’t follow what it says there will be great loss.  
  • This psalm is the like the teaching that Jesus gave at the end of the sermon on the mount (Matt. 5-7) about the wise and foolish builders. One builds his house on the sand, where the other builds his house on the rock.  Jesus tells us that if you do what it says, you will have a firm foundation to build you life upon, and if you don’t, you will suffer great loss. Instead of concluding with this instruction, the psalms put this instruction in the introduction to inform the reader of the choice they have to make and to guide them about what the choice entails and what the results of the choice will be.  
  • It is a fitting introduction to the whole book of psalms, which is a book of wisdom, instruction and illumination to the reader. The psalms are part of a bigger section of scripture call the “books of wisdom” which have been grouped together (Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs).  
  • This psalm is also connected to psalm 2 as an introduction to the whole book.  Even though they were written separately, the two psalms compliment each other.  
    • Psalm 1 presents the two “ways” on the level of the individual, while psalm 2 does so on the level of the nations.   
    • Psalm 1 presents the ideal righteous individual, rooted in God’s Word, while psalm 2 highlights God’s chosen king, whose primary kingly duty was also to be rooted in God’s Word. 
    • Psalm 1 begins with the blessedness of the righteous individual rooted in God’s Word, while psalm 2 ends with the blessedness of all persons who take refuge in the Lord.
    • Psalm 1 speaks of the righteous who “meditate” on God’s Word, while psalm 2 speaks of God’s enemies who “meditate” on rebellion. The difference in their focus (God’s word vs. rebellion) reveals and contrasts between the two types of people (Biblical Theology Study Bible) 
  • Hopefully now you have a good understanding how this book relates to the Bible as a whole, this section of the Bible, the psalms as a whole and its connection to the next psalm.  Now, let’s read this psalm and learn from it. 
Psalms 1:1-6 (CSB)
How happy is the one who does not
walk in the advice of the wicked
or stand in the pathway with sinners
or sit in the company of mockers!
2 Instead, his delight is in the Lord’s instruction,
and he meditates on it day and night.
3 He is like a tree planted beside flowing streams 
that bears its fruit in its season
and whose leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers.
4 The wicked are not like this;
instead, they are like chaff that the wind blows away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand up in the judgment,
nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
6 For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, 
but the way of the wicked leads to ruin. 
  • This psalm compares and contrasts two kinds of people and two pathways: 
    • The righteous: who they are, what they do and where righteousness leads.
    • The wicked: who they are, what they do and where wickedness leads. 

Let’s look at both starting with the way of the righteous.  

The way of the word  

  • Happy (literally “blessed”) is the one . . . if you do these things you will be happy and the happy do these things.  Those who do these things and walk this pathway are guaranteed happiness at the end.  And there is happiness along the way as well, even though traveling along with way does also involve struggle, sacrifice and suffering.
  • The way of the happy, the way of the blessed, the way of the righteous first tells us what not to do. 
Psalms 1:1 (CSB)
How happy is the one who does not
walk in the advice of the wicked
or stand in the pathway with sinners
or sit in the company of mockers!
  • If you want to be happy or “blessed,” then whose advice are you following? Whose example are you imitating? Whose company are you keeping?  You have two choices – either you follow the way of the world or you follow the way of the Word.  If you want to be happy, then don’t follow the way of the world.
  • So – whose advice are you following?  How do you know?  What music you are listening to? What are you watching? What are you reading? Who are you turning to?  Ask yourself these questions and evaluate what you are doing.  If you want to be happy – do not follow the way of the world, which is wicked and contrary to the Word. 
Psalms 1:2 (CSB)
Instead, his delight is in the Lord’s instruction,
and he meditates on it day and night.
  • The Word of God is where we should be receiving our advice. The Word of God is where we should look for examples to follow. The Word of God should be the company that we keep! The happy are those who find their delight in this way and walk according to the light of this way! 
  • They way of the happy, the way of the righteous is consistently throughout the day meditating on the instruction of the Lord. The Word is not relegated and isolated to a component of our lives (Sunday mornings, devotions, etc.), but it should be informing and directing all of our lives.  Ill. Like a cow bring it back up to chew on it . . . like a soup that is simmering in the kitchen of our lives . . . it becomes a lifestyle and a way of life.  We receive the same instruction from the writings of Moses (who wrote the first 5 books of the bible). 
Deut 6:6-9 ESV
And these words that I command you today shall be on your
heart. 7  You shall teach them diligently to your children,
and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when
you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you
rise. 8  You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they
shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9  You shall write
them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
  • The Word of God should be so much apart of us that it is written on our hearts. It is what we teach our children, not just occasionally, but on every occasion. It is something that should go with us. It is something that should be in our homes. 
  • The people who don’t follow the way of the world, but instead follow the way of the Word:
Psalms 1:3 (CSB)
He is like a tree planted beside flowing streams 
that bears its fruit in its season
and whose leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers.
  • The person who meditates, delights in and follows the Word of God is like a tree planted beside flowing streams.  The difference between how two seeds grow and develop is where they are planted . . . how they are sustained makes all the difference.  If you are continually watered by the Word, you will be stable, you will be strong, you will be a shelter, you will provide protection, you will be fruitful. 
  • Whatever you do will prosper. Now this does not guarantee that your bank account will be overflowing (even though following God’s principles will give us wisdom and success), but it means that your life will count for something, mean something and will last.  You will be eternally rewarded with great treasure in the end. (The wicked can be prosperous in this world, but it will not last and will not amount to anything in the end- see psalm 73). 
  • Now, let’s turn to the way of the world:

The way of the world

Psalms 1:4-5 (CSB)
The wicked are not like this;
instead, they are like chaff that the wind blows away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand up in the judgment,
nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
  • The wicked are not like a tree planted by streams of water, who bears fruit in season and leaves do not wither. They are like chaff that the wind blows away. (Chaff is the dry, scaly protective casings of the seeds of cereal grain, or similar fine, dry, scaly plant material such as scaly parts of flowers, or finely chopped straw, or the husks of corn.)  There is nothing of substance to them, they are will not last and will be blown away with the passing of time.  
  • At the final judgment of God (which there will be one for everyone), they will not stand, they will not make it through, and they will not be able to join the assembly of the righteous.  This is a horrific destination for those who take the way of the world.  It must be considered when thinking about what way you are choosing to follow. . . where is this path leading – what is the end of this way in the sight of God?  
  • Here is the conclusion of this psalm and also the conclusion of this message:

Conclusion

Psalms 1:6 (CSB)
For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, 
but the way of the wicked leads to ruin.
  • I for one, want to walk in the way of the Lord.  I want to have Him watching over this way and watching over me.  I want to be one who walks in the path of the righteous and to be found in the heavenly assembly.  One pathway leads to life, the other leads to ruin.  Consider your ways, consider you thoughts, consider you life. There are only two paths, and you must choose which one you will follow.  
  • The person who did this to the fullest extent is Jesus, who not only walked in the way, but who is the way.  He walked this way perfectly, and has reaped the highest reward and the greatest happiness. He is the one who showed us how to walk. He is the one who invites us to follow Him.  He is the way.  (And yes, there is suffering and sacrifice along the way, but it is the way truth and life).  
  • Consider your choices, consider your life.  Walk in the way of the Word.  Let the discipline be your desire and your delight.  May you live both a blessed and happy life with a guaranteed eternal reward. 
  • Prayer