Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Man Who Knows God

The Man Who Knows God

Intro.: Have you ever wondered how a book that is over 3000 years old can be so valuable to us today.
  1. The book I am talking about is the book of Psalms.
  2. The book is the result of at least half-dozen known
    authors and probably several unknown.
  3. And yet these chapters echo the hearts, the thoughts
    of men and women – not just of those who lived 10 centuries
    before the death of Christ, but also those of us who live 20
    centuries after his death.
  4. During the next few weeks I want to explore a number
    of the Psalms. Now there are 150 Psalms, so we will not look at all
    150 Psalms.
  5. Psalms that might touch our lives. Some will be
    familiar, others may be less so.
  6. The easiest place to start is at the beginnings. 
Read: Psalm 1
Trans: We do not know the author of this Psalm.
  1. In fact some early church fathers thought of this Psalm as being introductory material – and not being a Psalm at all. As they discussed the Psalms, our Psalm 2 is considered the 1st Psalm. They are in the minority – but it helps explains the anonymity of Psalm 1.
  2. The Hebrew name of this book is “Book of Praises”, yet this first Psalm is not so much a call to
    praise God, but a call to righteousness.
T.S. During the next few minutes I want to look at the lessons the author of Psalm 1 wanted us to learn.
  1. The Blessed Man
    1. My first thought when I asked myself what is a blessed man is that it is not the one who does the right things, but the one who is in the right place. Listen to the words of the Psalmist again:
        Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
(Ill.)   Let me give you an example – we all know the problem of gossip. It is really kind of fun to sit with someone and exchange stories – I mean whether a listener or a story teller, it is fun to be there. For example, did you hear what Sandra did last week. You won't believe it. 

         There – I got your attention.

         The problem of course is that the sin of gossip takes two sitting together. So whether one who walks with the counsel of those who do not know God, or stands in the way of sinners, or sits in the seat of scoffers.
    1. Blessing is more dependent on where we spend our time, than on what we do.
    2. The first characteristic is demonstrated by “Where do we spend our time?” The second characteristic is “Where is our heart?”
(Ill.) The blessed man's “... delight is in the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.”
(Ill.) St. Augustine once wrote, "Beware of despairing about yourself. You are commanded to put your trust in God, and not in yourself."

          Some people claim to have accepted Christ as Savior, yet they live in the tragic uncertainty of doubting their personal relationship with God. The Scriptures teach, however, that we can know with absolute confidence that we have the life of God within us (1 John 5:13). This confidence is not based on inner feelings or outer signs. Rather, this assurance is founded upon the promises of a faithful God and His inspired Word. It depends not on the amount of our faith but on the object of our faith—Christ Himself.

         Though blinded at six weeks of age through improper medical treatment, Fanny Crosby wrote more than 8,000 gospel songs texts in her lifetime of 95 years. Her many favorites such as “Blessed Assurance” have been an important part of evangelical worship for the past century. Only eternity will disclose the host of individuals whose lives have been spiritually enriched through the texts of Fanny Crosby’s many hymns. Engraved on Fanny J. Crosby’s tombstone at Bridgeport, Connecticut, are these significant words taken from our Lord’s remarks to Mary, the sister of Lazarus, after she had anointed Him with costly perfume—“She hath done what she could” (Mark 14:8).

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

Perfect submission, perfect delight!
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
angels descending bring from above
echoes of mercy, whispers of love.

Perfect submission—all is at rest;
I in my Savior am happy and blest;
watching and waiting, looking above,
filled with His goodness, lost in His love.

This is my story, this is my song,
praising my Savior all the day long;
this is my story, this is my song,
praising my Savior all the day long.1
    1. The place, the heart, when in the right place will allow the blessed man to grow
    2. The Blessed man is pictured as a tree with its roots firmly in the ground, it yields fruit, its leaves stay healthy throughout the growing season.
    3. This becomes extremely important when compared to the wicked man

  1. The Wicked Man
    1. The wicked man is not the tree rooted firmly in the ground – rather they are the chaff.
(Ill.) When grain is harvested, we have huge machines that will separate the good grain from the leaves and husks that form part of the plant. That was not so in the 10th century BC in Israel. They would throw the grain in the air and let the wind carry the lighter chaff away, while the heavier grain fell to the ground for recovery as food or seed.

Rather than having strong roots, the wicked man seems to float – tossed about by the changing wind of culture. Rather than being steady in his or her faith, they drift wit
h no constant in their life.
  1. The Lord's Part
    1. Jon Courson has pointed out that the first word of the Psalm is “Blessed”; the last word of the Psalm is “Perish”2
    2. That contrast clearly defines this Psalm – The blessed man will meditate on the word of God, the ungodly man will ultimately perish.
(Ill.) There’s much truth in saying that every man is the architect of his own fate. Your choices affect your destiny. Out of a rough block of stone one man may make a beautiful statue, another, gravel. Both products are good and useful under certain conditions. But a statue can be immoral in conception, and gravel can be the grudging and punitive work of a criminal condemned to a rockpile. The point is, whether you are a gifted artist or a competent gravel maker, you can choose whether to use your abilities worthily or unworthily. In building a Christian life you have the same choice.3
Conclusion: Let me conclude with the reading of one of my favorite poems:

The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.4


1Osbeck, Kenneth W. Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1996.
2Courson, Jon. Jon Courson’s Application Commentary: Volume Two: Psalms-Malachi. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2006.
3AMG Bible Illustrations. 2000. Bible Illustrations Series. Chattanooga: AMG Publishers.