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Blessed Is The One Who Delights in God's Word

Date: Aug. 22, 2021

Author: Michael Mark

Psalm 1:1-6

Key Verse: Psalm 1:2

but whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night.

Tomorrow will be the start of the Fall Semester at IIT in 2021, and it seems like new beginnings as vaccinations are rolling out and public places are opening back up, yet we are still cautious of the Delta variant.  That being said, I want to wish a warm welcome on behalf of our ministry to all students, returning and new.  As current members know, we are working through the book of Exodus, and learning more about God.  We take a pause this week to review our 2021 New Year’s Key Verse; Psalm 1:2.  The theme and direction for this year is “Delight in the Word of God,” and so that we can keep on track we want to remind ourselves of this.  The start of the semester is also a good time to think about this, as we can renew our vision with this new beginning.  Why “Delight in God’s Word?”  The pandemic has caused us all to be isolated and disconnected for more than a year, and many related things happened to dampen our spirits, so we thought to encourage one another by focusing on God’s word to give us inner peace and joy.  As we review this key verse, we can highlight another reason to delight in God’s word – and that is blessedness.  God’s word is a source of blessing, and this is what we want for all of our members, and all of our students, to receive.  Let’s dig deep now into God’s word to mine the treasures it contains, that we may truly be encouraged to delight always in God’s word.

Let’s jump right into verse 1: “Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers.”  We have come to the very first Psalm, a kind of introduction to the entire book of Psalms; a summary of what the Psalms are all about.  As many of you may know, Psalms is like the hymnbook, the songbook of the Bible, filled with beautiful and poetic songs about the truths of God, compiled over hundreds, if not more than a thousand years by many different authors.  But here is the first chapter, a very important chapter in this book, and notice how it begins – take note of the first stanza, or phrase: “Blessed is the one…”  This Psalm, and the rest of the Psalms overall, is about the path to blessing.  In fact, this is what God desires for all of us: to be blessed.  But the fact that not all are blessed is not the fault of God, but the fault of ourselves.  Throughout the Bible, God has made revealed the pathway to blessing.  He said these things to Abraham in Genesis 12:2-3, “I will bless you; you will be a blessing; all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”  And do you remember how Jesus opened the Sermon on the Mount?  In Matt 5:3 he said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”  Blessed.  There are many overarching themes we can find in the Bible – and God showing us the way to blessedness is one of them.

The blessed person has 2 aspects – what they do not do, and what they do.  So here we have a complete picture of a blessed person.  First, let’s see what a blessed person does not do, again v.1, “Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers.”  Someone who is considered blessed by God does not do these things.  You will notice a progression.  First, they do not walk in step with the wicked.  The wicked are the godless and ungodly people.  Now walking is a fairly weak position; think of it as following someone.  The blessed one does not follow wicked or ungodly people.  This is because they can become easily influenced by them.  Even Paul writes, “Bad company corrupts good character (1 Cor 15:33).”  Do you ever notice, when you are around ungodly people, now they might not be mean or violent people, but even around nice people, you begin to sympathize with their thoughts and ideas?  We see that the normalization of immorality and sin is being indoctrinated into our culture, but the more you hang around people who accept these ideas, the more inclined you are to accept or even defend them?  And it’s not just around people, but also TV, social media, movies and music; the more exposed you are to certain ideas and beliefs, the more accepting you are of them.  Now I’m not opposed to enjoying a show or movie from time to time, but be on your guard against your time spent listening to ungodly ideas and values.

You see now a progression in sin, if not on your guard – the one who is blessed does not stand in the way that sinners take.  See this progression from walking to standing.  Standing is a bit more of a strong position.  The one who stands in the way sinners take is one who now remains and persists in sin.  Like Pharoah whose heart was hard so the one who stands in sin digs their toes in.  They may try to justify or defend their sinful lifestyle.  Moving one step farther, there is finally one who sits in the company of mockers.  Now this person is almost unmovable; not only are they set down, but in the midst of mockers.  Mockers are those who openly scoff and scorn at God.  At least in sin, there might be a struggle with God, but sitting with mockers there is an open hatred and rejection of God.

To not walk with the wicked, to not stand with sinners, or sit with mockers implies a separation.  In summary, this is an illustration of holiness.  To be holy means to be set apart.  God is the holiest of all, so much so that angels cry out, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty.”  He is truly set apart, unlike any thing else.  That’s one of the highest things we praise God for, his glory is so infinite, it will be amazing to behold.  In a similar way, we are to be holy by being separate from the ungodly, but this is the beginning of true blessedness.

Some of the ungodly people appear very blessed.  They might be a leader of a nation that defies God, the CEO of a company who lives an openly immoral lifestyle, or an athlete in prime physical shape who gives no glory to God.   The world’s idea of being blessed is completely different from God’s idea of being blessed, and the Psalm will make that distinction clear.

We saw what a blessed one does not do in v.1, now let’s see what a blessed one does in v.2, our key verse for this passage, and for 2021: “but whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night.”  Blessed is the one whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night.  Delight is an emotion that cannot be forced; it is an emotion that comes naturally and freely.  You can’t force someone to have fun.  There has to be a willingness to have fun.  When my daughter naturally comes up to me and tosses the ball and giggles, she is having fun. But when she is in a bad mood and I say, “Pick up that ball and have fun now,” she’s not going to do it.  So it is with the law of the Lord; the delight is free and natural, not forced or coerced.  The law of the LORD is actually all of God’s word; it’s the whole Bible.  The Bible itself contains God’s commands, his rules and requirements, so the law of the LORD is a phrase that represents all of the word of God.

The one who is blessed meditates on God’s word day and night.  When is it not day or night?  It’s always either day or night, so the one who is blessed meditates on God’s word continually.  This meditation is a musing on God’s word; it’s a study, an analysis, an observation, interpretation and application of the word.  It’s altogether different from Eastern meditation, which is to empty your mind and think of nothing.  Sometimes this can be dangerous.  But the meditation on God’s word is to fill your mind with the word of God.  And it’s more than reading, but a looking intently at the word.  A deep Bible study, asking questions making observations is more valuable than reading the Bible through several times.  It’s not the mere reading that blesses you, but the truths that you learn, digest and internalize.  If you don’t read the Bible at least daily, try to do so, but again, more than reading, give it some thought.  The Lord taught us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread,” meaning both physical food, and spiritual.  Read the word in the morning, and think about it throughout the day.  In the day, as in good times, meditate on the praise and glory of God.  In the night, as in hard times, meditate on God’s faithfulness and his promises.

Treasure His Word in your heart.  I know meditating daily is sometimes difficult, in these times even I find myself more busy, but I strive to meditate on his word at least daily.  Perhaps the key to all of this is to pray and find delight in the word of God first, then the meditations will come naturally.  May God help us to do so.  God’s word is the way we grow, strengthen and nourish our spiritual bodies, it is the perfect food and chicken soup for the soul.  One commentator said, “Meditation chews the cud (like a cow chewing grass), and gets the sweetness and nutritive value of the Word into the heart and life: this is the way the godly bring forth much fruit (Bartholomew Ashwood, 1688).”  Another writes, “[Meditation] helps the renewed heart grow upward and increase its power to know the things which are freely given to us of God (Nathaniel Ranew, 1670).”  And lastly, to encourage us, hear these words from Jeremiah 15:16, “When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, LORD God Almighty.”  One evidence that God has changed our hearts is that we begin to hunger and thirst for the word of God; may God enlarge this hunger in our hearts and fill it with his delicious word.

There are so many reasons to delight in God’s word, and some key reasons are here in this Psalm.  Look at v.3, “That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither – whatever they do prospers.”  The word of God helps you grow, and gives you wisdom and success.  You might be familiar with 2 Tim 3:16-17 “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”  Ps 19:7 says “The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul.  The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.”  God’s word is the truth, and naturally the effects of that truth will give you insight and wisdom that the smartest people don’t have.  A smart person might scheme, and think, maybe I can cover up my guilt with more sin, but a blessed person would say, I am a sinner, God have mercy and help me.  For the one who is blessed by God, whatever they do prospers, they prosper in everything.  Now, this is not always in the sense we think, but it might be a success according to God’s plan.  I wanted to go to U of I Urbana Champaign, or Northwestern to study engineering, but I didn’t get in.  Did I not prosper there?  But I got into IIT, which is exactly where God wanted me to be.  What might seem like failure in the eyes of the world, might be a success in the eyes of God.  Hey, sometimes you might not win the lottery, but you might have learned how to earn and use money for God’s glory, and that’s a success.

Look at v.4-5, “Not so the wicked!  They are like chaff that the wind blows away.  Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.”  Here you can see what else the word of God does.  The word of God cleanses, it sanctifies and gives you righteousness.  Jesus prayed to God his Father for his disciples in John 17:17, “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.”  The truth sanctifies, that is, it makes us holy.  What truths do the word of God teach?  1 John 1:8-9 says, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” In Luke 18 Jesus taught about the tax collector who said “God, have mercy on me, a sinner,” and he went home justified before God. We cannot stand in the judgment, or be counted in the assembly of the righteous by our own deeds and strength; but only by faith in Christ and the confession of our sins, God purifies, justifies and cleanses us.  This is the great and central truth we find in the Bible: that Jesus came to die on the cross for our sins, and was raised to life for our justification.  By his wounds we are healed, by his blood we are cleansed, and by faith in Christ our sins are washed away.  This is the beautiful truth about how much God loves us that we will be meditating on even in heaven for all eternity.  It is such love, such wondrous love!

Finally in v.6, “For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.” This speaks to our ultimate salvation and deliverance to eternal life, eternal blessedness and eternal peace in heaven with God.  The LORD watches over the way of the righteous, he keeps vigil, day and night, over his people, even as we learned last week through Msn. Gideon’s message.  God knows where you are.  David wrote in Psalm 139:1-2, “You have searched me, LORD, and you know me.  You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.”  To the wicked, this is a terrifying thought, but to the righteous, this is protection and guidance.  God knows you when you are in the darkest place, God knows when you are the most lonely, the most hurt, God knows when you are being persecuted, and God knows when you are suffering, and in his right time he will deliver you and never let you go.  He will never let you out of his sight, nor will your life ever be lost in his hands.  There will come a day of reckoning, as we saw in verse 5, the day of judgment, when the Lord will separate the righteous from the wicked, and all confusion, chaos and disorder will be restored, in his time, for his glory.  But until then, the Lord keeps an eye on you as a shepherd keeps their eyes on his sheep.  But the wicked, the ungodly, those who rejected God, led others astray, or persecuted his people, will be destroyed, when God demands an accounting for all of their deeds, but they would have been found to be lacking.  For a short time, the ungodly might appear very blessed, they might have great wealth, or seem to sin without consequence, but this imagined happiness is only temporary, and will be cut off, as their sin leads ultimately to destruction.  Either guilt will catch up with them in this life, but even if not, they cannot escape from it in the next.  Sinners think they can get away, but Ps 146:9 says “The LORD watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.”  The life of the ungodly is truly miserable, but the life of the righteous is truly blessed.

There are even more reasons to delight in the word of God.  Martin Luther said that the delight, the pleasure in the word is not from what the word promises, but it’s this: “that the law is holy, and just, and good.”  God’s word, God’s law is perfect, and it’s beautiful.  Job says this: “I have not departed from the commands of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.”  Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible, and it is one of my favorite chapters.  It is 176 verses long, but every single one of those verses say something about the word of God.  You wouldn’t think there could be so many ways to describe God’s word one after another, but the entire chapter praises it in different ways.  Psalm 119:72 says: “The law from your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold.”  There is so much treasure to be found in the word of God!

The word of God helps us to grow in godliness in this life, it causes us to shine in the darkness, it sanctifies, purifies, cleanses and protects us, it makes us wise, and it leads us to salvation.  Ultimately this word of God points to and glorifies the embodiment of the Word of God: our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  He is the Word of God; He is the Way, the Truth and the Life, and the word from beginning to end testifies about the man, the God-man Jesus Christ.  Through the word of God, we are truly blessed, both in this life and the life to come, that is why we delight in it.  Here is what this Psalm has taught us: Through faith in Christ, be holy, and separate from the ungodly.  Not as a hermit or a recluse from society, but do not walk in ungodly ways.  Be on your guard against sin.  Constantly strive to grow and make progress in the study of God’s word.  Meditate on it, feed on it, just as Jesus is the bread of life that the Bible Club shared with students at the Org Fair yesterday.  Finally, delight in God’s word, as you know that God delights in you in Christ.  Then you will be blessed, truly blessed, from now and forevermore.

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