Blessed in the Doing
A study of Psalm 1: 1-2
Most of us expect Gods Blessing to rest on our work if in obedience to Him, we are not merely “hearers of the word, but doers of it” James 1:22 says: “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves”. God does not ask us to “obey” the word, He asks us to “do” the word.
In my Sermon today, entitled
“Blessed in the Doing”
I want to look at how avoiding three things will bring you blessing, surprisingly you’ll be blessed if you don’t do them?
Turn with me again if you will to Psalm 1 and verse 1, where we read;
“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night”.
(Psalms 1: verses 1&2)
God desires to Bless all of His Children, but if we “walk in the counsel of the ungodly, and stand in the way of sinners, or sit in the seat of the scornful” then we will hinder his blessing.
What exactly does the Psalmist mean when he gives us this advise?
The word Blessed like the word Cursed speaks to the end of the thing. For example when Jesus cursed the fig tree, it did not immediately shrivel up and die, but 24 hours later, at its end it was dead. God told Adam & Eve that if they ate of the forbidden fruit they would be cursed and surely die. But they ate and didn’t die. The Curse speaks to the end, and by their disobedience they brought death not only on themselves, but on
the whole world. In the same way the word Blessed speaks to the end of the matter. If we are blessed, that doesn’t mean we will not go through tough and rough times, but we will eventually rise through all adversity to blessing. David himself had failed God, by sleeping with another mans wife, and in the end, murdered that man. Yet when God granted him sorrow and repentance for his sin, eventually, in the end, he landed on his feet in spite of those other failings. Adversity often helps
you to measure the extent to which you are blessed.
So then the Psalmist says we will be BLESSED if we don’t do these three things.
What is it then to…
Walk in the counsel of the ungodly.
Here, God is saying to us “I will not bless you if you continually listen to ungodly and secular advise, when you put yourself in the place of the natural wisdom, instead of supernatural wisdom, when you are moved and motivated by the trends and thinking of the natural world”.
The Blessed man doesn’t Believe like the world
Paul says in Romans 12:2 “Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind”
Don’t align yourself to the thinking of the world, but change your mind by transformation in the word. Transformation is not just change, but the picture here is like a caterpillar being turned into a butterfly. I don’t want to crawl like the caterpillar, when I could fly like a beautiful butterfly? I want to be around those who bring the wing out of me and not the worm out of me. Some people by their worldly counsel, can bring you back down to crawling even when you’ve been flying. “Renewing your mind” begins in the head. You can have the
outward attributes of Christianity, you can wear the right clothes, go to the right places, say the right words, but have no real inward transformation. Refresh and Renew your thinking. Your mind becomes what it reads, or what it feeds on. That’s what School does for the Children; it directs the mind. They read medicine and come out a Doctor. They read Chemistry and come out a Scientist. Some read and learn Racism, and come out a Bigot. What they fed on was what they became.
The Bible says:
“Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God” Romans 10:17. Allow the word of God to create a new mind-set.
It is easier to renew most things than renew your mind.
You can change almost everything cosmetically nowadays, but changing your mind, or your mind-set is a completely different matter. It is easier to fix externals than to change internals.
You must start feeding “Where you’re going, not where you were”. You might need to change your associations. Sometimes you can rise to the level of an Eagle, but if everyone around you is a Chicken then in order for you to feel that you fit in
– you come down to associate with them?
The mind, unlike like the soul, is not saved, but is being saved. God, may keep your mind from evil, Mark 7:21, but sometimes evil harmful and hurtful thoughts just comes up. You don’t invite them, these wicked or sinful options just popped into the mind. If I were to speak or say everything I think about, I would be fired, and banned from any pulpit. I too, must watch, and ask God to watch over my mind and my words. In the mind there remains the seat of all your affections. Your mind is more than your brain. Your appetites, your cravings, your desires, your dreams your memories and so on, are all locked away there.
If you used to know how to roll a joint, you still know, how to do it. Just because you got saved and baptised, doesn’t mean you have gotten amnesia about your past. We are being saved from the presence and power of sin. We are saved from the penalty of sin, that’s done, thank God; but the battle for the mind continues; Trust me!
Ephesians 2:2 says: “In times past we walked according to the course of this world” … that’s what we used to do. So if we have come out from those weaknesses, we ought not to stay in that mind-set. Paul also adds in v3 “among whom also we had our conversation (or life-style) in times past.” Just because you had it, doesn’t mean you have to keep it.
This is where you came from, (the caterpillar) but your focus now should be on where you are going (the butterfly) and you do that by “changing your mind”.
You will always go where you’re thinking. If you are thinking your going down, then you are going down, but if you get a glimpse of where you can go, how you can fly, then you can rise to where you wish yourself to be. Simply stop listening to the voice of the World and start listening to Gods words.
Don’t focus on the Counsel of the Ungodly.
Then what is it to …
Stand in the way of sinners.
Some might imagine that this means we should stand in their way, preventing them from hell. But the text means that we should not “adopt their ways”. You need to change your ways
don’t copy them, don’t try to impress them, don’t stand with them and don’t take a stand with them.
The Blessed man does not Behave like the world.
Change your ways.
You could change your ways and save your marriage, change your ways and save your job, change your ways and be happy instead of miserable, change your ways and don’t develop the ways of sinners. There are certain people you don’t need to be around, certain clothes you don’t need to wear, certain words you don’t need to say. Change your ways. We all have our “ways” … ways of speaking, ways of reacting, ways of sharing, ways of shopping, ways of behaving, ways of driving, ways of playing, and ways of paying. Many of those ways are worldly ways, formed and fashioned while we walked in the world;
and many of those ways we need to change.
This is one of the benefits of belonging to a Church family, or of having Christian Friends. Instead of hanging around with those who have not embraced the word of God, we may now be
influenced by those who love the Word of God and are seeking to live by it. Transformation will take time, we may slip back into words and actions that we thought we had abandoned for ever, but Gods grace and mercy is sufficient for all of our learning success.
I want to add a word or two here to the Christian and the Church-goer who have no “unsaved” or “un-churched” friends. James 4:4 reads: “know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God”.
James was writing here to those who were continuing in adulterous relationships, and was not writing to all the Church membership, even though there were lessons for all to learn.
We are in the world but not of the world and if we are to influence the world and show the love of Christ to the world,
we must be friends to those who still love the world.
Too many Christians have no friends outside of the Church. This is not good. While we cannot have “fellowship” with those who are still in “darkness” for what fellowship has light with darkness? we can however have friendships and very meaningful friendships with those who are yet unsaved. Jesus’ love and life had a remarkable impact on everyone he encountered. Even the vilest of sinners were won over by his compassion and caring words. His love for those “in the world” took him to a Cross. If you have not love for the Lost, you have not love for God. The apostle John could say: “He that loveth not, knoweth not God; for God is love”. 1 John 4:8 Get yourself some new friends, and get talking to them about Jesus, and love them while you’re doing so.
Finally, what does it mean to …
Sit in the seat of the scornful.
I have discovered, as I’m sure you have, that there are many scornful, bitter people living in the world. Some of them may live in your street, and even more tragically, some of them may live under your roof? Christians should not harbour
or allow bitterness of any kind, to live in their heart.
Don’t start congregating, hanging around with bitter people. Bitter people always see the negative in everything. They are not objective, not intelligent, not able to think beyond the fact that their “glass is half empty”. They cannot see beyond the hurts and hang-ups of life. Let me say this that
If you get bitter, you will never get better.
Some people get bitter about everything, yet scornful people will not admit to it. In most cases their bitterness stems from the fact that because they didn’t get what they wanted, they have lost hope in others, and have become bitter. They are Bitter,
Angry and Tormented every day. (and it often shows in their attitudes and on their faces) They need to let go of that anger, that hostility and venom, it will destroy them if they don’t.
Some are bitter with their Spouses, – some are bitter towards their wider family, bitter towards their neighbours because they were born differently. Some are bitter with their Employer, or their employees. Some are bitter about their past, others about their present, and most will be bitter in their future for a long time to come. Some bitter people don’t go to Church because they say they have been rejected. I have heard some exclaim that: “all we are after in the church is their money”. Yet their logic is tainted by bitterness. You won’t hear them say that the Pub is after their money, or the Lottery is after their money, or the “stripper” is after their money, but their logic, reason and rationale is gone. Scornfulness has embittered them, and blinded them, but the Psalmist says: The Blessed man,
doesn’t Belong to that world.
Get that poison out, … if he left you, or cheated on you, or robbed you, or molested you, or abused you, or hurt you, get it out, get rid of it. As a Christian you must get away from sitting with the Scornful, and you must get away now – you don’t belong there. My dear Christian Brother or Sister, by sitting with the Scornful you are contaminating your life, your witness, your love and your loyalty to Christ. Move away and move on. If you are in a bitter Church then move out. If you hear or encounter bitterness, correct it, chastise it, and walk away from it. Bitterness and Scorn is a poison that Kills. (tragically we know too much about it here in this part of the world)
We have been considering these Three things we don’t do, if we are to expect the blessing of God to rest upon us, …
“not walking in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standing in the way of sinners, nor sitting in the seat of the scornful”.
but our text also adds that there is a blessing for what we DO. That is to…
“delight .. in the law of the LORD; and in his law… to meditate day and night”. Psalm 1:v2. So one might say of this text, you’re “Blessed if you DONT, and Blessed if you DO!”
So then, what must we DO to be Blessed?
Simply, “delight and meditate” in the law (the word) of God; and do it day and night!
All of us understand what it is to take delight in something. It usually means that we enjoy it, we delight in a summer afternoon walk, in a musical soiree, in the baby’s first words, in browsing old photographs – and so on, they bring delight. But the Psalmist uses this word “meditate” which has a whole other range of meanings in the Old Testament. Here the Hebrew word used is “hagah” meaning to ponder, to imagine, to mutter, even to roar. Meditation has three specific meanings in the Old Testament Hebrew. One might meditate on the Bible quietly pondering its precepts and practices, while another might meditate by reciting the verses to oneself, – reassuring, comforting, and learning from the text. But meditation can have an added extra excitement. One can “roar” cry aloud, declaring to the world, the flesh and the devil, that “God is Good and His mercies endure for ever” or that “The Lord is my Shepherd and I shall not want for anything.” Such meditation, (says the Psalmist) will bring a man true blessing!
“He will be like a tree planted by the River” is how the Psalmist describes his prosperity. Trees that are planted by the waters edge, send their roots down deep to the water. Such trees are strong, well grounded, well rooted and can withstand the fiercest of storms.
NOW THIS FINAL WORD
A Persian legend has it, that a certain king needed a faithful servant, and two men were candidates for the office. He took both of them at fixed wages, and his first order was to fill a basket with water from a neighbouring well, saying that he would come in the evening to see their work. After putting in one or two bucketfuls of water into a basket, one man said, “What is the good of doing this useless work? As soon as we put the water in one side it runs out the other.” The other answered, “But we have our wages, haven’t we? The use is the master’s business, not ours.” “I am not going to do such foolish work,” replied the other. Throwing down his bucket, he went away. The other man continued until he had exhausted the well; looking down into it he saw something shining—a diamond ring. “Now I see the use of pouring water into a basket,” he cried. “If the bucket had brought up the ring before the well was emptied, it would have been found in the basket. Our work was not useless.”
Christians must believe that their divine Master knows what is best, and obey His commands even when they seem fruitless, and in due time they will know and understand.
Gods Word, Gods Way, Gods Will and Gods Work may not always make sense, indeed the Bible says it is considered “foolishness to the natural mind”, yet if we walk in those ways, we can rest assured that we too will enjoy all those Treasures that are Promised to us, and be blessed in the Doing.
God Bless You – AMEN