Taking a look at Psalm 1 ~
Psalm 1:1-3 (Amplified) Blessed (fortunate, prosperous and favored by God) is the man who does not wlk in the counsel of the wicked (following their advice an example), not stand in the path of sinners, not sit (down to rest) in the seat of scoffers (ridiculers). But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on His law (His precepts and teachings) he (habitually) meditates day and night. And he will be like a tree firmly planed (and fed) by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season; its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers (and comes to maturity).
Psalm 1:1-3 (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! Instead, his delight is in the LORD's instruction, and he meditates on it day and night. 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.
First a really quick but important reminder about the book of Psalms - Psalm 1 is the first book of the psalter, and it sets the tone for all the rest of the psalms. Anything else you read from the psalms, anytime you see a verse from psalms shared on social media or via an email, when your pastor preaches from the psalms or a book you are reading references particular verses from psalms - basically, anytime you read anything from this book of the Bible, keep in mind that the foundation is laid right here in Psalm 1. All that follows is built upon what we are going to look at here.
When we read the first few verses, of course we gravitate more toward the blessings that are mentioned. But before we can receive these blessings, we have to be willing to take a hard look at our lives and see if we might be doing any of the things that verse 1 tells us we ought not to be doing.
We don't just fall into these blessings like we might fall into a ditch. They do not happen by osmosis. I, as in me, myself, and I, must decide that I am not going to walk in the counsel of the wicked (meaning I won't be following their example or taking heed of their "advice" or wrongly believe that God may speak through them into my situation - which He won't because He doesn't violate His own Word).
And just in case you might be wondering how to know whether or not someone is "wicked" (the word used in this passage), let me just remind you to not pretend not to know what you already know. In other words, you pretty much know when something is wicked. Life is short & eternity is long, so please don't play coy & pretend you don't know what you do know. Wicked is wicked - evil is evil - and you can recognize it and not make friends with it and reject its counsel and advice and not be a "judgmental" person.
I mentioned in the podcast the words of Jesus that people so often quote ~ which is to judge not lest you be judged yourself. I encourage you very strongly to read ALL of Matthew chapter 7 (and probably all of Matthew chapter 5 & 6, too). We need to be careful to take God's Word as it was intended, as it was written, and not misconstrue single verses to fit certain situations.
Listen, the honest truth is that a lot of the time the reason we throw Matthew 7:1 around is to either A) get ourselves out of the position of telling someone the honest truth, which is that something they are doing is really bad for them & for others or B) to give ourselves a pass regarding something we are doing that we know is not the Lord's best for us (and the whole "don't judge" thing lends itself naturally to "don't judge me, cuz I ain't judging you", which prevents people from speaking into our lives).
Be very careful how you use this verse...and at the very least, please read it all in context.
To be blessed, favored, fortunate then we are going to have to decide not to take advice or follow the example of those who behave in wicked ways, and also make up our minds that will will not stand in the paths of the sinful. Don't be hanging out with them, listening to them spew filth, doing life with them...maybe don't binge watch that series on Netflix because they're telling you it's funny if you know you don't need to view that sort of content.
First we walk, then we stand, and then we sit down. Once we stop walking, we are spending a lot more time engrossed in their world. And when we sit down, we are staying in their world for an extended period of time.
The order here is important - first we walk, then we stand, then we sit. And the way this is phrased reveals that God takes very seriously the behavior of those who are scoffers, mockers, ridiculers. Mockers get a lot of coverage in the Bible, so we can't just make light of this. We need to take seriously whatever God says is worth taking seriously, and not being a mocker or spending time intimately with mockers is pretty serious to Him.
And you know that you know that you might like to get a good laugh from whatever it is the mocker/scoffer is talking about today...but you sure don't trust them with your darkest secrets or struggles. They aren't your role models and you never would encourage your kids to grow up to be just like them. So, keep that in mind before you try to excuse away what I am saying here. It's important enough for you to keep things private and out of their supply of cannon fodder, so it's important enough to just not sit with them and receive their "counsel".
The path to the promised blessing is this: choose to delight in the law of the Lord (in His teachings and His grace and His Word). Start your day thinking about God and His Word, and end your day the same way. That is one simple and sure-fire way to get on the fast track to the blessings promised in Psalm 1.
This right now moment in time is exactly the moment when you and I need to be firmly planted and continually fed by our God. He is our living God, He is our right now God for this very moment. So this very moment is when He is firmly planting us and sustaining us.
If you know Jesus as your Lord, then this is your season to bear fruit. This is the day in which more change, more upheaval is happening than ever before...and this is the day in which people are more open to hearing about God, allowing you to pray for them, listening to what God's Word says than at any other point in modern history, perhaps. This is your season to bear fruit. Your leaf will not wither - if you share God's blessings and love with those around you who need it, God's not going to leave you hanging with just one dried out, brown crusty leaf. Your leaf will not wither - that's a sure promise for you right now.
This is your chance - so what will you do with it?
I hope you go and bear fruit now, because right now is your season.
Now in the episode I mentioned that when this is all over, when coronavirus has done it's total damage and we can look back over all of it, what will that be like for us as Christians? What do we want to see upon reflection? We can make a choice, right now today, about what our hindsight is going to be like. Let's do things today that will make it easier to reflect well without wincing in regret.
(And I mentioned a thing called the "Flowbee" in this episode - here is a link to a commercial from the 80's about that strange oddity...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nztfGEXMMw0)
Have a blessed day & thanks for checking out Episode 21 of The Burt (Not Ernie) Show. I'm thankful for you!
See ya next time!
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