Sincere thanks to David White for filling in for me while I take some time off due to illness. David will be preaching on Psalm 1 today, which you can read by clicking here: Psalm 1.
In this psalm we have two different types of people. We have the righteous man at the beginning and we have the wicked at the end. Now who doesn’t want to be the righteous man at the beginning? About him we read that he is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in season who’s leaf doesn’t wither. In all that he does he prospers. Who doesn’t want to be in a position where all he does prospers?
As for the wicked… I don’t think anyone wants to be forgotten or blown away like chaff. But there are only two types of people in this psalm; the righteous and the wicked.
If we look at the righteous man closely however we see that the bar is set very high.
This man does not walk in the council of the wicked. This can be simply not keeping bad company, not keeping the company of those who want to break into banks and shops, not keeping the company of those who want to get involved in hooliganism or cause trouble. On the other hand it could go right the way through to the other extreme of not taking business advice from someone who is not a Christian. Where do we draw the line?
This man does not stand in the way of sinners. When I read this I think of those Warner brothers cartoons with the character standing in a desert valley with a herd of wildebeest charging toward him. This is not what the psalmist meant. A better way to look at this is th think of Saul before he became the apostle Paul looking after the cloaks of those who were throwing the stones at Stephen. Saul might not have thrown any stones but he was part of the crime. He took part every bit asmuch as those who did throw the stones.
Now sits in the seat of scoffers. Again that can go from making a blasphemous film right the way over to laughing at a video clip of someone walking into a lamp post or parking a car by driving through the fence and dropping six feet into a vacant parking space. Again where do we draw the line.
If we go by the sermon on the mount we go for the strictest interpretation we can think of and then go a bit further.
And his delight is in reading the Law of the Lord. Yes we can enjoy reading Gods word. We can get encouragement from it, we can get comfort from it, we can get strength from it.
But do we always enjoy reading it?
If we have a lot of things on our plate and we are trying to do more than there is time for does it not then become a bit of a chore? Can it not become something that is eating into our precious time on days like that?
We then see that this man meditates on God’s law day and night. Do we do that? Do we do that when we are watching a film ore are we more interested in following the characters in the film? Do we do that when the tax returns need to be sent in? or are we too concerned with making sure that everything is correct? Do we do that when we have a long journey to go and a deadline to meet, like catching a plane?
Yes, things can push God’s word from its place as our number one priority. We are human. And if we say we are without sin we deceive ourselves. As Paul puts it in Romans 3:10 and he is actually quoting from Psalm 14 here “There is none righteous, no not one”
Who then is the man at the beginning of this psalm? If we step back and look at this psalm as a story what do we see? We see a story about a righteous man. We are told a few details about this righteous man. We then encounter a tree. After we encounter the tree we see some sinners or wicked people. At the end of the story the wicked people are judged.
Does this not sound familiar? Like the story of the Garden of Eden.
In Genesis we are told about a righteous man, Adam. We learn a few things about him. We find out how he got his wife. We see him receiving the law. (He was not allowed to eat the forbidden fruit.) We then encounter a tree. Eve was tempted to eat the fruit from the tree and she gave some to Adam. We then see sinners or wicked people. At the end of the story the wicked are judged.
There is a difference between this psalm and the Garden of Eden. The writer of the Psalm might have had the Eden story in mind but in The Garden of Eden Adam became a sinner. In Psalm 1 the righteous man stays righteous. He is like a tree whose leaf does not wither. This Psalm might be based on the Garden of Eden story but it is talking about a different Adam. It’s talking about Jesus.
In Matthews Gospel Jesus tells a parable about a wedding. The king hosting the wedding banquet sends out invitations but the invited guests all have excuses and don’t come.
Mat 22:2 “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son,
Mat 22:3 and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come.
Mat 22:4 Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.”’
Mat 22:5 But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business,
Mat 22:6 while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them.
Mat 22:7 The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.
Mat 22:8 Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy.
Mat 22:9 Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’
Mat 22:10 And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests.
Mat 22:11 “But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. Mat 22:12 And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless.
“Friend, How did you get in without a wedding garment?” That is the point of the story. The kings servants invited people from the highways and byways to the wedding just as we have heard the gospel. The banquet is full of these people but one guest has found another way in. He had no wedding garment so he was thrown out. When we trust in Jesus we receive garments of righteousness.
If we want to be like the man in Psalm 1 then when God looks at us he must see the righteous man. If I am trusting in Jesus then I am wearing garments of righteousness. When God looks at me he does not see my sin, he sees the righteousness of Jesus. If you are trusting in Jesus then when God looks at you He does not see your sin He sees the righteousness of Jesus.
We can appear in verse 5 in the congregation of the righteous if when God looks at us he sees Jesus.