Monday, May 30, 2022

Psalms Through The Summer #3: The Man of Remembrance - Psalms 20

Psalms Through The Summer #3:
The Man of Remembrance Psalms 20

History of Memorial Day

Memorial Day is a reminder of the cost that has been paid in the lives of our soldier and sailors for generations to keep us free. Many forget what Memorial Day is about, to them it is just another holiday, another day off, another reason to have a party, but it is so much more.

Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day, it is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service. There are many stories as to its actual beginnings, with over two dozen cities and towns laying claim to being the birthplace of Memorial Day. There is also evidence that organized women's groups in the South were decorating graves before the end of the Civil War. While Waterloo N.Y. was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in 1966, it's difficult to prove conclusively the origins of the day.

It is more likely that it had many separate beginnings in many towns. each contributed to the growing movement that culminated in 1868 when Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General Logan, the national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11, and was first observed on 30 May 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states. The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war). It is now celebrated in almost every State on the last Monday in May.  

Why do we celebrate Memorial Day today? Is it to honor war, aggression, or the horrors of battle? Some say it wouldn’t it be better to just forget about all the wars and not celebrate those who fought them as heroes. They believe that they were really just killers even murderers. So why have a Memorial Day, why have a day of Remembrance for those who have fought and died in those terrible wars.

American philosopher, George Santayana once gave a famous statement that has now become part of our culture. He said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,” in The Life of Reason. If you really want to prevent unnecessary wars and only fight as a nation when we must fight, then we must not forget. And if we stop and remember those who gave their lives, who never got the chance to finish those lives or see their future, if we stop, reflect, and remember those lost lives, then it is our best hope of not spending the lives of our children and grandchildren needlessly. Those who gave their lives in the service of this country’s freedom also gave their future to secure a future for their families and loved ones. We owe them much and we must honor their priceless gift. We do that on Memorial Day and it is fitting, it is right, and it is our duty.

Today we will be in Psalm 20. It is a war Psalms, specifically it is a psalms that is a prayer before battle and Psalm 21 is the praise after the battle for the victory.

Psalms 20 also speaks of remembrance. In vs. 6, "we will remember the name of the LORD our God."  Of all the remembrances, we as God's people should remember, that  one is paramount above all others. If our lives will count in the battles of life, if victory is to be found it will be because we “remember the name of the Lord our God.”

Lets read the first 5 verses of Psalms 20

 A Praying People - Psalms 20:1-5

The LORD hear thee in the day of trouble; the name of the God of Jacob defend thee; Send thee help from the sanctuary, and strengthen thee out of Zion; Remember all thy offerings, and accept thy burnt sacrifice; Selah. Grant thee according to thine own heart, and fulfil all thy counsel. We will rejoice in thy salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners: the LORD fulfil all thy petitions.

The People Pray For their King

The psalms is meant to be sung or spoken by two parties. The first 5 verses are spoken by the people, they are a prayer, a blessing, an intercession for their King as he goes into battle.
Originally this King would have been David, the great war leader of Israel, but the Psalms, as many others, has messianic connotations and points to an even greater King, the Messiah of Israel, Jesus.

Last Wednesday we talked about the phrase “in the day of trouble” from Psalms 89 and here it is again. The prayer begins with May the Lord hear thee in the day of trouble.” Then it specifically list the ways in which they would ask God to hear. 

They pray, “The name of the God of Jacob defend thee.”  From Adam to Joseph, God’s people worshipped Him as the God who acted on their behalf. He was simply Elohim,  God.  (Genesis 1:1)

Often he was called El-Elyon: the God Most High or El-Shaddai: The Almighty God.  
But when Moses spoke with Elohim, El-Shaddai at the burning bush, He asked for God’s name and it was given to Moses and the People of Abraham from that day forward. That name, the name the people now use in intercession for the King is Jehovah or the it means I Am.  Exodus 3:13-14

Now when the Israelites speak of God, He is Jehovah – Jireh, the God Who Provides. (Gen. 22:13-14)
He is Jehovah-Rapha, the God that Heals (Exodus 15:26)
He is Jehovah-Nissi, God Who Is Our Banner (Exodus 17:8-15)
He is Jehovah-Shalom : God Who Is Our Peace. (Judges 6:24)

It is in the power of that name, the name that encompasses all that God was and is, all His power, all His knowledge, all His providence that they name ask for their King as He goes into battle.
They pray that God of Jacob would send help from the sanctuary, strength from out of Zion. These were the places where God’s presence dwelt among His people. There in the holiest of Holies in the tabernacle, there in the Mt. Zion where the Temple stood, these were the places where God’s power and glory could be seen and experienced and they pray for that power to go with their king.

They pray that God will remember the offerings and sacrifice, of the king in vs. 3.
In vs 4. They pray for the king’s plans for the coming battle to be granted by God.
And in vs. 5, they look forward, past the battle and confidently state, ‘We will rejoice in they salvation and in the name of our God we will set up our banners. Their part of the Psalms ends with the petition, “The Lord fulfill all they petitions.”

Praying For Those Who Battle

Psalms 20:1-5 is a beautiful prayer for anyone who is caught up in a day of trouble, whether it be war, or illness, pain or sorrow. It expresses so much of our need for God to intervene, to bless, to strengthen, to do what we cannot do in our own weakness.

“The Lord hear thee in the day of trouble, the name of the God of Jacob defend thee.” There is power and comfort there, there is hope in that blessing for any and all who need it. 

Once when I working as a public-school teacher, I was asked to bless another teacher while we stood in the hallway waiting for the tardy bell to ring.  Miss Maraquin, was an old school school-teacher trying to make it in a new age school environment and it was tough on her and on her students. One day as we watched the halls empty, she turned to me and said, “I want you to bless me, preacher.” Now she was Catholic, and I don’t think the blessing she was looking for was the one this Baptist preacher could give, and I told here, “I don’t really do that, but I can pray for you. She said, “That’s what I need.” And as I prayed, I realized that though I was not a priest and would never do the sign of the cross or throw Holy Water on someone, my prayer, and every child of God’s prayer, is an expression and a petition for a blessing upon another.

We hear it here Psalms 20. May the Lord hear thee, May God defend thee, Send the help from the sanctuary and strength from Zion.

I learned something from that Catholic lady that day, that we should do more than just say “I’ll pray for you” but instead we should actually pray and in that prayer, we should be a blessing by asking for God’s blessing.

Nation’s Prayer

In our countries past we as a nation sent our soldier’s off to war with prayer, beseeching God’s blessing for their victory and safe return. We don’t really do that anymore, not as a nation but we once did. As these people prayed for their King, we should be praying for our military leaders, for our soldiers, for our first responders, for those who give their lives to save the lives of others. As Jesus said, there is “no greater love.”

The next three verses of Psalm 20 are now in the voice of the King after he hears the people pray for him and ask for God’s blessing on his behalf. Look at what the prayer does it makes him …

A Confident King - Psalms 20:6-8

Now know I that the LORD saveth his anointed; he will hear him from his holy heaven with the saving strength of his right hand. Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God. They are brought down and fallen:
but we are risen and stand upright.

King David’s Assurance

The King, God’s Anointed, speaks in that capacity, and through that ordained office, he gives assurances to the people of God.

Look Closer at what we might call an Oracle of Assurance.
The Kings after the prayer of the people says, “Now I know these things, your prayer has shown me…
that Jehovah saves his anointed, his chosen”

That He will hear from heaven with saving strength of his right hand. Here we understand that hearing means acting, it is not just passively acknowledging the prayer as received but moving in response to that prayer.

Then we come to the key verse of our message in vs 7-8, Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.  They are brought down and fallen: but we are risen, and stand upright.

The King knows there is victory when the people of God remember their God. Once again it is the name of God, revealed in that conversation and consecration at the burning bush that brings God together with His people. Their God is not far away and unknowable, they did not and could not ascend to Him, but their God, Jehovah come down to them and revealed His name and in that revelation, there is power, and there is victory.  Remember my name, Jehovah your God.

The king goes on and says we will remember the name of our God, but in contrast those who can’t or won’t call upon God, those who depend upon the strength of men, upon chariots and horses, they will be brought down and will fall, but God’s people who remember, they are risen and stand upright.
Once they King finishes his response then army of Israel is prepared to go forth in the name of the Lord.

King Jesus’ Assurance

Originally this Psalms was for the king of Israel as the nation prepared for war. The people blessed and prayed for the King and the King responded in confidence and faith through that prayer, in God’s salvation and strength for the coming battle.
But don’t leave this Psalms in the Old Testament, for like many of the Psalms it speaks both historically to the people of David’s time, prophetically to the people of a coming time and practically to us in our time.

We have no King named David, but we have a greater King named Jesus. And it is with His voice today and in the future that we should hear this response when we pray.
God Jehovah did save His anointed when He brought Jesus back from the grave. And our resurrected savior and coming King sits at the right hand of the Father and hears the prayers we pray.

And as we pray we must remember. Remember who God is to us. In the OT God revealed Himself to his people through his name, but in the NT God revealed himself to us through His son.
In Hebrews 1:1-12 Paul wrote about our King, “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
… But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.
This is who we must remember, God show in The Son is revealed as “the brightness of His glory, the express image of His person.” There is power in remembering the name of God but there is greater power in remembering the Son of God, risen, ruling and interceding for us at God’s right hand.

When we pray our King is moved, if David was prepared for war by the prayer of God’s people, then imagine what King Jesus will do in the battles of our life when we pray in His name.

There’s just something about that name

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus; there's just something about that name
Master, Savior, Jesus, like the fragrance after the rain;
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, let all Heaven and earth proclaim
Kings and kingdoms will all pass away
But there's something about that name
Kings and kingdoms will all pass away
But there's something about that name

The last verse of the Psalms brings us full circle as many of the psalms do, but it is not a circle of repetition but an upward spiral of faith and growth. Look at vs. 9

A Sovereign Savior - Psalms 20:9

Save, LORD: let the king hear us when we call.

 A Final Refrain

The Psalms ends as it begins with a call for Jehovah God to enable the King that he might save his people and act on their behalf. 

The people prayed and the King responded to their prayer. “Now I know the Lord saves.”
Upon hearing this the people call out one final refrain, one final petition to God. “Save, Lord! Save us, Jehovah God. Let the king hear us when we call.” 

I can imagine this Psalms being sung out by the people and by the King as they prepared for another battle for survival in the Promised Land. It would be a restatement of their need for God and their faith in God. It would be a recommitment to their King as the one who would fight for them in God’s strength. It would be a moving, powerful ceremony, and as it was repeated by other generation and by other kings throughout the history of Israel it would become a memorial of all that God has done for them as a nation. 

A Final Remembrance

I intend to use Psalms 20 in the future more than I ever have in the past. I love the blessings it asks of God. It would be appropriate at the hospital, or when visiting those who are struggling with pain and loss. It can’t be applied to us as a nation nor for our leaders as it was for Israel and David, but those first 5 verses can be applied personally to our lives. 

We should pray for others, we should ask God’s blessings to overcome their struggles. Our petition, won’t be responded to by King David, no much more than that it will be heard and acted upon by our King, Jesus.

Our remembrance of Him is seen each Sunday when we gather in His house, each time we baptize a new believer and each time we partake of the Lord’s supper. “This do in remembrance of me”
I want what David said back then, to be true in my life today, “Psalms 20:7-8 Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God. They are brought down and fallen: but we are risen, and stand upright.


Take your Bibles and stand now, Let’s close this service as they closed theirs and then went off to war back when this Psalms was used as a military blessing. Let us go forth as they did in the name of our God to fight the battles He has called us to fight.
Please Stand and read aloud together with me, from Psalms 20:9 Save, LORD: let the king hear us when we call.

I pray all of us have prayed that for the salvation of our souls, calling to God to save us when we called out to Jesus in repentance and faith.
And I hope that all of us will think of Psalms 90 and remember the name of the Lord our God in our days of trouble. Call out and we will rise, call out and we will stand upright!

Thursday, May 26, 2022

What Can We Do When Confronted by The World’s Wickedness? - Psalms 86

Stop for a moment and consider the wicked world we live in today, as has been displayed in just the past few weeks.

March 1, 2022 The man who fatally shot three of his children and another adult at a Sacramento church Monday night before killing himself has been identified as 39-year-old David Mora Rojas, according to the Sacramento County Coroner's office. His three daughters have been identified as 9-year-old Samarah Mora Gutierrez, 10-year-old Samantha Mora Gutierrez, and 13-year-old Samia Mora Gutierrez. Nathaniel Kong, 59, who was supervising the family visit, was also killed in the shooting.

May 12, 2022 A Nigerian Christian student was murdered on her university campus yesterday by a mob of Muslim students who accused her of blaspheming Islam. The murdered woman, Deborah Samuel Yakubu, was a 200-level student at Shehu Shagari College of Education in Sokoto in northern Nigeria. She was the leader of a women’s Christian fellowship group on campus. Two videos posted online show the aftermath of the killing. In one, a half dozen men beat Deborah’s lifeless body with sticks while they shout “Allahu Akbar” (God is great). A second video shows her body burning while her killers boast about killing her.

May 14, 2022 - New York authorities have identified the 10 victims killed Saturday afternoon when a self-described White supremacist opened fire in a grocery store in Buffalo. Three others were injured. Several of the victims killed at the Tops Friendly Market were community members or had personal connections with those who actively serviced the local community, including a local food pantry chef and the mother of the city’s former fire commissioner. All but one victim was over the age of 50 and 11 of the victims were Black, while two were White, police said.

May 15, 2022 The deadly shooting at a church in Laguna Woods, California, on Sunday, was motivated by the political tension between China and Taiwan, authorities said Monday. One person was killed and five were wounded, four critically, in the shooting inside the Geneva Presbyterian Church, the Orange County Sheriff's Office. All victims are adults and range in age from 66 to 92 years old, the sheriff's office said.  The suspect was identified as 68-year-old Las Vegas resident David Chou.

 May 24, 2022 - A shooting at a Texas elementary school killed 19 children and one teacher on Tuesday. Gov. Greg Abbott identified the suspect as 18 yr-old Salvador Ramos, a Uvalde resident, who is also dead. Ramos shot and killed his grandmother after posting it on Facebook and then posted he was going to shoot up an elementary school.

And we cannot forget that we are still witnesses the horror of an unjusifed war between Russia and the Ukraine that is destroyed the lives of hundreds of people, for the sake of territory and prestige. If all that is not enough wickedness then just read about the persecution of Christians around the world and especially in the Muslim countries with no outcry from the rest of the world.

At times like this, I often go to the Psalms and just read until I find one that touches my heart and gives voice to my own questions, fears or sorrow. I did that morning and I came to Psalms 86. Let me just share it with you, give a few thoughts and then we can all pray for those who are hurting to the very core of their humanity today.

Psalm 86: 1-5 God, Give Help

Bow down thine ear, O LORD, hear me: for I am poor and needy. Preserve my soul; for I am holy (sanctified to you) : O thou my God, save thy servant that trusteth in thee.  Be merciful unto me, O Lord: for I cry unto thee daily. 4 Rejoice the soul of thy servant: for unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.

David in these opening verses asks for 5 things. 1) Bow down, Lord, hear me, 2) preserve my soul, 3) Save thy servant, 4) be merciful unto me, 5) and rejoice the soul of thy servant.

In these petitions we see a child of God who is helpless and has no ability, no answers, no hope within himself. He knows he needs the mercy of God to save him and to return him to the joy he once had.

He gives 6 foundations of his prayer. 1) I am poor and needy, 2) I am holy, (set aside, sanctified to thee) 3) I trust in thee, 4) I cry unto thee daily, 5) I lift up my soul to thee, 6) For you are good, ready to forgive and full of mercy to those that call upon you.

David’s foundations for his prayer to be answered are his need, his relationship with God, his trust in God, his daily prayers, the offering of his life and the character of God as good, forgiving and full of mercy.

You can see why this prayer is considered a universal prayer during times of crisis, pain or loss in our lives or in our community or our nation. Like David, we don’t have any answers, we don’t have any ability to overcome or understand, but we trust in God’s love and mercy and we pray and we pray and we pray. We call out to God, asking Him to bow down, reach down, from heaven and hear our prayers and bring us back to a place of joy in our lives.

Psalms 86:6-10 God, Give Hope

Give ear, O LORD, unto my prayer; and attend to the voice of my supplications. In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee: for thou wilt answer me. Among the gods there is none like unto thee, O Lord; neither are there any works like unto thy works. All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; and shall glorify thy name. For thou art great, and doest wondrous things: thou art God alone.

After David asks for God’s help, he then looks to God for hope. Once again he asks God to hear him, “Give ear, O Lord, (O Jehovah) to my payer and attention to my supplications, my most intimate needs brought before You.

I think vs 7 is the key verse for the Psalms, it was the reason I it spoke to me, “In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee, for you will answer.”  What can we do when madmen driven by the demons of hate, religious bigotry, racial bigotry, or political rage carry out the will of Satan by acts of unspeakable violence? What can we do in that day of trouble but call upon God?

David bases his hope upon his Lord, for there is none other like him. David knows that God has made all the nations and that one day they will all worship him and glorify His name. His hope is a reality because God is great and does miraculous things. He is God alone, and only God can give hope with all seems hopeless.

Psalms 86:11-17 - God, Give Guidance

Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name. I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore.  For great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell. O God, the proud are risen against me, and the assemblies of violent men have sought after my soul; and have not set thee before them.  But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.  O turn unto me, and have mercy upon me; give thy strength unto thy servant, and save the son of thine handmaid. Shew me a token for good; that they which hate me may see it, and be ashamed: because thou, LORD, hast holpen me, and comforted me.

Finally, as David closes his prayer, he asks for guidance from His God and knows that as God works in his life, and answers his prayer, he will be drawn closer to God and find the guidance and peace his soul so desperately craves.

He asks God to teach him and in that guidance he will walk in truth and his heart will be united, undivided by the wickedness around him and able to focus in faith on God. He then contrasts God with the troubles and violence around him, “12 I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore. 13 For great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell. 14 O God, the proud are risen against me, and the assemblies of violent men have sought after my soul; and have not set thee before them. 15 But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.

He again pleads for God’s presence, love and strength, “O turn unto me and have mercy upon me, give me thy strength.” He declares himself a "son of thine handmaid", he means one born into the service of God and thus a lifelong servant to his Master

The last thing he asks is for God to make him a token, a symbol, a sign, for good in order that those who hate will see it and be ashamed because Jehovah has helped and comforted him.

In all the prayer, David does not ask for deliverance, or for God to stop or prevent evil and violence. Instead, he asks for God to give to him those things that will draw him closer to his Lord, make him a stronger servant and in overcoming the turmoil, he will be seen as proof of God’s goodness, and bring glory to the Lord.

In the midst of the senseless violence and cruel hatred all around us, may we understand what David understood, may we pray for what he prayed for, and may our hearts be united upon our Lord that we may find His presence, love, strength, help and comfort always. - Pastor Kris Minefee

Monday, May 23, 2022

Psalms Through The Summer #2: The Seeking Man Psalms 8

Psalms Through The Summer #2: The Seeking Man

Key Verse: What is man that thou art mindful of him? Ps 8:4
 A Farmer and his neighbor watching his hogs run from one end of a pasture to another. "What's wrong with your hogs, Henry?" Well, you remember about a month ago when I broke my leg and couldn't get around? I would come out here with a stick and bang on a fence post and then feed those hogs when they came." "Well, you ain't banging on not post now, why them hogs running everywhere?" "Since I got well them woodpeckers are about run them pigs to death."

Those hogs are like some people I know, mixed up and confused because they don't know who they are, they can’t answer the question, What is Man? And the consequences of not knowing who you are and why you are here is much more dangerous than just running back and forth all day long looking for something that isn’t there.

We as a society, have lost ourselves. We don’t know who we are or why we are here or what we are supposed to do while we are here. We have teachers, groomers, child predators telling our children that they can be any gender they want, boys can be girls, girls can be boy or if you don’t like those human genders then you can a furry and be a unicorn, a dog, a cat or I don’t know a great blue whale, they’re mammals right? Because we have a generation that doesn’t know who they are they also don’t know who they are supposed to marry. They don’t know how they are supposed to live or even if they are supposed to live. Their schools teach them that they are just the random chance of evolution and no better than a bug on a sidewalk, so when things go wrong why not just squash the bug? Whether that bug is you or a classroom full of kids who made fun of you or a church full of people of a different color. It doesn't matter they are not unique or wonderfully made so destroy them.
We have social influencers on apps like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and worst of all TikTok, pretending to have it all together by living the most immoral, materalistic and meaningless lives until one day they aren’t there anymore and we discover they have taken their own life because life didn’t have any value. This is in our families, our churches, and our public schools are reeling drunk with it. 

But God’s Word has the answer to What Is Man, Who am I and why am I here. I want you to look at Psalms 8, Here is one of the central truths of human existence and it begins just as man began with God, his creator.

God's Glory - Psalms 8:1-2

 O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens. Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.

First, Know God As God

He begins his praise by saying, LORD our Lord

First LORD is Jehovah/ Yahweh, the "I am "of the burning bush. The personal name of God. So revered by the people who transcribed the Old Testament that they did not dare to write it out fully or even to spoke it out loud. In order to write it here in scripture, they took the consonants from Jehovah, the true name of God and the vowels from the word Lord and made a new word that showed the name of God but dared not spell it out.

The second Lord in this verse is the word Adonai, it means controller, master "one who occupies the position of a master over a slave.

Then David moves from the address of his Lord God to His praise for his Lord God. He says, How excellent is thy name in all the earth! God is lauded as sovereign in power and majesty. David imagines God in all His might and splendor.

From David's perspective and inspired by the Holy Spirit, he looks up into the heavens and his mind is filled with the wonder of his God.

He says that God's glory is set high above the heavens. Higher than can be fully seen, imagined or comprehend. God is higher than what David sees in that night sky, more majestic than what he can write down in a psalms and higher than his imagination can transport him.

David then moves his psalms in a great sweep from the glories of heaven to the lips of a baby or a toddler. He says that even in the most elemental sounds of the human voice, even in the first steps of a human life, there is praise, strength, glory for their Creator, because God has ordained it.

First Step In The Quest

If we are to make sense of life, if we are to understand who and why we are here. If we are to overcome bad luck, bad circumstance, bad parents or bad choices, then we must see and understand God as David did.

We must see Him as Jehovah, God Almighty, God of Creation, God of Power and yet God who transcends the universe and can be known by me personally. I must see Him as the creator of all, Sustainer of all, all powerful, all knowing, and in all places and all times, but I must also see him as friend, companion, guide and protector.

Perhaps even more important to knowing that Jehovah, Yahweh is God, I must also know him Him as Adonai, Lord of my life. My master, that I have fully given myself to serve. If my life is going to make sense, if it is going to be a good life, if my time on this earth is going to be worth something, then Jehovah God must be Lord God to me.

Remember the story of Thomas after the resurrection. John 20:26-29 And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
The Lord and God that Thomas knew and saw in the resurrected Jesus must be the God we see and know if we are to answer the question, What is Man?

No King but Jesus

There is a famous saying attributed to John Adams just before the Revolutionary War. I’ve always liked it and I’m going to share it with you to finish this point. When a British Major ordered several of the founding fathers to disperse, he added the command “in the name of George the Sovereign King of England.” John Adams who had a great way of turning a phrase spoke up and said, “We recognize no Sovereign but God, and no King but Jesus!” -John Adams. (pretty good isn’t it.)

John Adams along with the other founders of our nation, changed the world and went from outlaws to heroes and much of what they did was because they believed in a God who held the universe in His hand and that they had placed themselves in those very same hands.

The first step in knowing “What is Man?” begins with knowing God and without that knowledge you will never know yourself, your purpose or your potential in this life. From God Himself, David now turns to God’s handiwork, His creation

God's Handiwork Psalms 8:3

Second, Know God As Creator

David looks up into the night sky and he is astounded by the stars that he could see. At that time the visible eye could only see about 3000 stars and the “river of the sky”, the Milky Way Galaxy running through them all. Isn’t it ironic, that we know more about the universe than David but we are no longer impressed by it. Perhaps that is one of the things that has blinded us to our God, we think we can see further but we are actually seeing much less. We see so much less because we no longer see they One who put the stars there or places us in the middle of that river of the night sky.

The Bible tells us in Psalms 33:6 By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.

Job 22:12 Is not God in the height of heaven? and behold the height of the stars, how high they are!
So let’s consider God's Universe, let view His Glory written in the heavens.

The universe is so vast that no scale model is possible.

If we tried to make a scale model that contained an earth only one inch in diameter, the nearest star at the same scale would be over 51,000 mile away.

If in our scale model we reduced the distance from the earth to the Sun, 93 million miles, to only the thickness of the page of my Bible, the distance to the nearest star (4 1/2 light years) would be a stack of paper 71 feet high.

Our Galaxy then, which is 100,000 light years across, would be a stack of paper 310 miles high.The known edge of the universe would be a stack of paper 1/3 of the way to the sun or 30 million miles.

The universe is so immense that no one can count all the stars that fill it. 
They say there are over 100 billion stars in our Milky Way galaxy alone.
Then there are over 100 million galaxies in the known universe.
To count to 100 billion, just the stars in our universe, you would have to count to 250 every minute for 1000 years.

In David's time they had numbered the 3000 stars they could see and they were in awe of the creation of God. How much more should we be in awe when we consider the One who holds this vast universe in the palm of His hand?

Seeing The One Behind Creation

What do you see when you behold the night sky? And please do yourself a favor and every once in a while get out of town, go camping get yourself a blanket or if you old like my a good reclining lawn chair and look up into the real night sky. The same one David looked up and saw the handwork of God. What do you see? Do you just see stars, planets and darkness or do you see God who hung those stars in the fabric of space, like so many diamonds on a vast sheet of black velvet?

Do you see nothing, or do you see the glory, power and majesty of the God of creation? And then in the midst of that miracle of creation do you see yourself?

Psalms 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. 
Romans 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

God is talking to you through those passages. Don’t you understand what a difference that makes? What such a reality, such a truth does for us and to us who understand ourselves within God’s creation.
Illustration: The story of Galileo’s model of the solar system and his atheist friend.

After consider God’s handiwork, David then looks at man in vs. 4 and asks the question that is the theme of our message and the central truth each of us must know if life is going to make sense. David asks “What is man?”

God's Greatest Creation - Psalms 8:4-8

Finally, See God As Savior

David sees himself in the light of God’s creation. After considering the vastness of the heavens, the glory of God, he then asks God, "Why do you even bother with man? Why do you care about me? What is insignificant man when compared to God and all His creation?

H not only asks what is mankind in all the vastness of creation, but also, who am I, a son of man in all the vastness of mankind?

He asks, “God why would you visit me?” The idea is God, why do you reveal yourself to us?
This is a natural consequence of David seeing himself in proportion to all of God’s creation. What is man? Why do you care enough to reach down to him?

And David’s answer is the most amazing thing in all of Psalms 8.
David says you have made man a little lower than the angels. The Hebrew word here is Elohim, the word for those who dwell in heaven, both angels and God. David is saying that in the order of ranking, in all of God’s creation, man is second only to God himself. We have been made the highest creation in all of creation.

He says, We have been crowned with honor and glory.
We have been made in the image of God. He breathed into us the breath of Life. He made us like Himself, a free will agent, a being of intellect and eternity through that same image. That likeness has been marred by sin, but praise God, it can be restored through the gift of God in His Son Jesus Christ.
David goes on and says, All things have been placed under man's control. Thou made him to have dominion over the works of thy hands, you has put all things under his feet, under his authority.
And this is the answer to David’s question, What is man? He is God’s highest creation, made in God’s image, to rule in God creation. But this reality, can only be fully understood by David or by us when we see ourselves in the light of God’s creation and in the relationship of God as my Lord and Savior.

Finishing The Quest

Who do you see yourself as? Are you only an insignificant bit of nothingness in a vast universe? Are you only random chance or an accident of evolution?

Many hopeless people spend their life seeking as Socrates said, To "Know Thyself." But many, when they find themselves they don't like what they find. So, they attempt by any means to forget or change who they are. They use drugs, suicide, violence, rage, operations on their body or they simply stop caring about anyone or anything anymore especially themselves.

And yet, the question has been answered. Man with God understands who he is. He understands his purpose, his power and his prospect of eternity. Yes, man without God is hopeless, helpless and homeless for eternity. But when I realize who God is, when I realize who I am in light of God’s Word, when I see myself as loved enough by God to send Jesus as my Redeemer and save my life, then my life, my existence, my being has purpose. I know who I am, through God and His love for me. I am not an insignificant speck in the fabric of time and space. I am a child of God.

Now my life makes sense; I am someone in this universe, because God has revealed Himself to me through Jesus Christ His Son. I mean enough to the Creator that He would not give up on me and sent His own Son to redeem me and restore me to my proper place as his highest creation. This is what Psalms 8 says, we are God's greatest creation, second only to the Trinity. All of God’s creation has been given to our care, but this can only be true in a right understanding of God and a right relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

The final fulfillment of God’s design for man - Matthew 25:21 Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

That is what we were created for. That is our purpose!

 John Newton's life.

John Newton was an absolute lowlife; He was the captain of a slave ship that traded in human beings like so much livestock. He was even terrible at this low profession since he was also a drunkard that hated his men and was hated by them. Once he was so drunk that he fell overboard in a storm. His men took a harpoon and tossed it at him as he struggled in the water. The harpoon struck in the leg and they used the attached rope to pull him back on-board. Ultimately, he lost his job as on a slave ship due to his drinking and wasted life and was sold as a slave to the very people he used to transport as slaves out of Africa.

You might look at John Newton and think that is a worthless waste, an nasty speck of a person not fit to be called human at all and you would be right. But this worthless piece of scum in the vast sea of the universe was touched by God, he became a pastor after many rejections and a famous writer of hymns. His most famous is of course is Amazing Grace.

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved.
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.

If John Newton could rise from the empty, worthless, waste of his life by coming to a knowledge of and a relationship with God then you know you and I can. 

Conclusion: The highest praise - Psalms 8:9

O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!

David finishes the Psalm as he began it, with the majesty of God. Now, he has found his place in God's universe, because God has found him. Now his own circle of creation is complete. He knows what mankind is. Mankind is God's greatest creation. And he knows who he is, just a man but one that has been remade, redeemed, and reclaimed by God. God who has chosen David and us to have a purpose, to serve Him and to be with Him for all eternity.

Have you found your place in God's universe? Has God found His place in your universe, your life?

Friday, May 20, 2022

Acts Bible Study Witnesses Lesson 4 Commitment

Acts Bible Study Witnessess Lesson 4

Acts 4 Conviction and Commitment

 Commitment To God

Acts 4:1-2 Why were the Sadducees grieved (annoyed) by the message of Peter and John?

 The Sadducees were a division of priests who opposed the Pharisees. They especially denied they resurrection of the dead. Peter and John no preaching to a crowd of thousands about the resurrection of Jesus would have really annoyed them.

 Acts 4:18 –20 Peter and John give two commitments as the reason they will not obey the orders of the Sanhedrin to cease. What are the two principles?
First, in 19, the priority of obeying God before obeying earthly authority. Second, the rule of always speaking and standing for the truth.


How can we apply the same principles when opposed today?

Our responsibility to God takes precedent over all other authority and the truth is paramount.


What opposition do Christians and the Lord’s churches face in our society today?

Mockery, threats, zoning laws, job loss and civil suits. Recently after the Supreme Court leak about Roe vs. Wade churches have been threatened and vandalized. In the past churches in San Francisco that dared speak out against homosexuality were surrounded by mobs that refused to let people enter and threw rocks through the windows after services began.


Acts 4: 23-31 Commitment to Prayer

Examine this prayer in detail.

Vs. 24 First How did they begin their prayer?

By appealing in praise to the Lord as God and creator. The word for Lord used here is not the one used most often, κύριος which means superior or master, but the word, δεσπότης, despotēs; an absolute ruler, a despot. Sovereign Lord.

Vs. 25 What is the second element of the prayer?

An appeal to God’s Word. Psalm 2:1–3 Why do the heathen rage, And the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, And cast away their cords from us.

Vs 27-28 What was their final appeal to?

God’s sovereign will and foreknowledge.

Vs. 29-30 Finally what was their request from God? What did they ask of Him?

For God to see the opposition they faced, to give them boldness, courage to “speak thy word” and for power that they might glorify Jesus Christ.


The Christians did not pray for safety or protection but that, in the face of opposition, they might be faithful in proclaiming God’s word. - Charles F. Pfeiffer and Everett Falconer Harrison, Eds., The Wycliffe Bible Commentary: New Testament, (Chicago: Moody Press, 1962), Ac 4:24.


“…they asked God to empower them to make the best use of their circumstances and to accomplish what He had already determined. This was not “fatalism” but faith in the Lord of history who has a perfect plan and is always victorious. They asked for divine enablement, not escape; - Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 1:418.

Vs. 24-30 List the elements of the church's prayer.

Praise to God the Father, Promise of Scripture, Providence of God’s Will, and a Petition for boldness and power.

 What does this prayer show about the first church's understanding about God and the salvation of souls?

He is the Lord of the Harvest.  We ask for opportunity and boldness, but He must bring people to Himself.

Notice the sequence of actions by the church in this passage?

First, they faced opposition, then they prayed, then the place was shaken, then they were filled, and finally they spoke with boldness.



Applying this passage to us today, if boldness and power to witness are missing from our church or life, what may be one of the causes?
Lack of prayer or of not praying as we ought. If we pray with no faith in God as creator, no understanding of His providence and to stop the opposition instead of strengthening us to face it, we may be ineffective in our call as witnesses.  


Acts 4:32-36 Commitment to Unity

Vs. 32-33 What was one of the major characteristics of this spirit filled first church?

Strong unity, Acts 4:32 them that believed were of one heart and of one soul.

What was an outcome of this unity?

Great power to witness and great grace. Acts 4:33 great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. The unity also showed in that they held nothing back from their fellow believers but held all things in common. It did not belong to them but it belonged to the Lord. 
Vss. 34-36 Some of the wealthier members of the church sold property and gave it to the church, (probably extra property, not the primary residences or homes) to be administered by the apostles.  How were the things that were sold shared?
According to need, Acts 4:35 distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.


Some advocate that the first church was communistic and that all things were equally redistributed, bringing all the believes into economic equality. Is this what was happening?
No. First it was a voluntary gift given to the church not the government. Second it was given for the purpose of meeting needs in the lives of those hurting in the church, not for the purpose of making all financially equal. Thirdly, it was a unique time and place for the Lord’s working through the church. No other place after this do the believers have all things in common, though they continue to meet the needs of their fellow believers.

 Still the principle of having things in common with God’s people and especially our local church is sound. Though we are not commanded to sell all we have (nor were they), what things should our unity make us have in common if we are to be effective witnesses?

We should have a common vision, goals, purpose, finances within the church. A common faith, priorities in the Lord’s work, common belief in and about God’s Word and will.
All the following scriptures were written to the early church to encourage them to have this kind of unity.
Romans 12:16 Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.

Romans 15:6 That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 13:11 Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.
Philippians 1:27 Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
Philippians 2:2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
1 Peter 3:8 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:


Several elements of the church’s commitments in this chapter brought about the final results we read in Acts 4:33 And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.
We see their commitment to faithfully serving God, speaking and standing for the truth, seeking God in prayer, and holding to a strong unity.


Reflecting on these things I should ask myself, How strong are these elements in my life and in my church. If not then what things must I do to change and to be the change in my church?
The church of Jerusalem during this period was witnessing and seeing greater results than at any other time for one church in the same time period. Much of that was accomplished by these elements within the church and at this level. It is not likely we will ever see 10s of thousand saved in a matter of a few days, but being committed to God’s service, the truth, prayer and unity are still needed if we are to be the witnesses we are called to be.


11th Principle of Biblical Witnesses.

If I am committed to serving God, to standing for the truth, to  consistent and fervent prayer, and to church unity, I will be a witness.

Monday, May 16, 2022

Psalms Through The Summer #1: Blessed Is The Man Psalms 1

Psalms Through The Summer #1: Blessed Is The Man

 Background of The Collection of Psalms

The Name

When the collection of Psalms was finished around 500 BC the Hebrew name was Tehillim which means “praise songs.”

The Greek Septuagint translators gave the title Psalmoi, which means “song to the accompaniment of a stringed instrument.”

Place in the Bible

The Hebrew Scriptures were divided into three main divisions, Law, Prophets and Writings. The Psalms would be a part of the Writings division.

In our modern division of Law, History, Poetry and Prophecy, Psalms falls in the Poetry section.


The Psalms are usually referred to as the Psalms of David because he wrote the majority of them. Seventy-three Psalms are ascribed to him in all.

In addition to David the other authors of the Psalms are the descendants of Korah (10), Asaph (12), Solomon (2) Ethan (1) Heman (1) and Moses (1)

Fifty Psalms are anonymous, though some of these may have been written by David as well. These are called Orphan Psalms.


Most of the Psalms were written between 1000 and 500 BC. Psalms 90 by Moses is the oldest and is outside this range, while Ps 137 was written during the Babylonian exile and Ps. 126 during the restoration of Jerusalem.


Hebrew Poetry does not use rhyme or meter but instead uses repeating thoughts, instead of repeating sounds to make poetry.

Organization. The Psalms were arranged in the order we have them in now over time, with the final arrangement probably being finished by the great Old Testament Scribe Ezra.

The 150 Psalms have been arranged into 5 books that correspond with the first 5 books of the Bible, called the Torah, or the Law of God.


Transition so now, after all that we come to the 1st Psalms, which serves as an introduction to the entire collection. The first psalms presents us with the theme not only of the book of Psalms but one of the central themes of the Bible, in a sense the theme of the entire history of the world since creation. This is the Theme of the Two Ways.

The Man Who Is Blessed - Psalm 1:1–2

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. 2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

The Way of Blessing

Let’s take a moment to define the word blessed, one of the most used words in all the Bible.

Some people think the word blessed is synonymous with lucky. People are always telling LeeOra, my wife, “Oh, you are so blessed to have such a handsome husband.” Actually, what it usually me who hears, “Man, you married way above yourself.” With an exclamation mark. Either way what they mean is you got lucky, but that is not what the word blessed mean.

 Defined: In Hebrew it is אֶשֶׁר ’ešer; and it means happiness; and most times it is used in the sense of how happy! You could read the first verse as Oh how happy is the man!

 This means that blessedness, like happiness is not fate, or blind random chance but a choice and that is what Psalms 1 presents. The blessing, the happiness comes from God but it flows to us from the choices we make in our relationship with God.

So the first Psalms presents us with the two ways. First the way of blessed in verses 1-4 and then the way of judgment in vss. 5-6.

As the Old Testament scriptures often do the way of blessing is first presented as a negative. Happy, joyful, blessed is the person who does not do these three things. Psalms 1:1 walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

To put it in our modern vernacular, If you want to be blessed by God then do not walk according to ungodly advice, do not stand where sinner pass by and you can be influenced by them and definitely do not sit down, do not take your rest where scorners sit and are at ease.

Then the way of blessing is presented positively in vs 2, “Blessed, happy is the person who delights in the law, the word, the Torah of the Lord and in that law, that scripture meditates day and night.

As with all of God’s most important commandments and precepts its very simple, here it is the choice you must make, reject the sin, reject the world influence, reject the immoral and instead open yourself to God and His Word. Does it get any simpler than that?

Choosing Happiness

It may seem that today our world is much more complex, more convoluted, more corrupt and in many ways it is but the way of blessing, the way of happiness is still as simple today as it was for Adam and Eve, Saul and David, or Moses and Joshua. Choose to be blessed! Choose to be happy.

The only way that can be real and lasting in your life is to do what Psalm 1:1-2 says, reject this world and its influence and choose instead the Creator of this world and His Word.

And yet so many believe the lies of this world and instead of finding personal happiness they are left with a personal hell. Instead of reading God’s word, they read their news feeds. Instead of listening to a Pastor, a preacher or a parent, they listen to sociopaths, savages and social media influencers. If you don’t know what that is then count yourself lucky and blessed.

You will not be the exception to what God’s warns us about from Genesis to Revelation, there are just two ways and you must choose to walk one or the other.

This is the reason Psalms one gives us the negative in a progression, for if you walk with this world, you will soon be standing in its sin and before you can even realize what happened, soon you are sitting right down with those who scorn the very God who created you, loves you and even sent his son to save you.

You must understand it is your choice and God is saying, choose to be blessed. It is your choice and no one else nor anything else can make that choice for you. Choose to be blessed.

Illustration: Blessed are those who choose

Once Jesus was teaching and a woman called out, Luke 11:27-28 “Blessed is the womb that bare thee, But Jesus said, Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.” The woman was saying, your mother is so lucky, but Jesus redirected her thinking because real blessing, real happiness is not random chance, it’s not luck, it’s a choice and that choice is yours to make.

You can’t choose the circumstance you were born in, but you can choose the circumstances you will live in. Make that choice according to God’s word and your circumstances will be blessed ones.

Now the Psalms moves from making the choice of blessing to the result of that blessing in vs. 3

The Man Who is a Blessing - Psalms 1:3

 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

The Way of Being a Blessing

The Psalmist says that the blessed man is like a tree planted by the rivers of water. The person has chosen the way of blessing will have roots that run deep, drawing from the water of God’s supply and that he will produce fruit, which will be a blessing for others, reproducing more blessing in other lives.

This person who is a tree of blessing will be able to withstand the droughts, his leaf will not wither, because his supply comes from the deep waters of God’s word.

Finally, whatever this person does, shall prosper, it will succeed.

The Wycliffe Commentary puts it this way, “As a result, he becomes more and more like a “transplanted tree,” with roots in eternal realities. Constant vitality is assured and ultimate success is certain because he has put his trust firmly in God.”

Again, we see this is the guidance that God gives us throughout the Bible.

Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

Matthew 7:24-27 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.

Being Blessed Means Blessing Others

God blesses us that we may in turn be a blessing to others. In keeping with our understanding of the definition of blessing, “God gives us happiness in order that we may pass on happiness to others.”

Hebrews 6:7-9 For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.  But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, .

1 Peter 3:9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.

Colossians 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

God blesses us, not that we can hoard it, not that we can become “Dead Sea” Chrisitians always taking in but never giving out, but God blesses that we may be a channel of that blessing, letting it flow from God, through us and then on to others.

Make Me A Blessing

1 Out in the highways and byways of life,
Many are weary and sad;
Carry the sunshine where darkness is rife,
Making the sorrowing glad.

2 Tell the sweet story of Christ and his love,
Tell of his pow'r to forgive;
Others will trust him if only you prove
True, ev'ry moment you live.

3 Give as 'twas given to you in your need,
Love as the Master loved you;
Be to the helpless a helper indeed,
Unto your mission be true.

Refrain: Make me a blessing, Make me a blessing.
Out of my life may Jesus shine;
Make me a blessing, O Savior, I pray.
Make me a blessing to someone today.

Being blessed by God means bring the blessing of God to those all around us.

The final three verses now present the anthesis of the first 3 verses. Blessing and happiness is contrasted with judgment and cursing.

The Man Who Rejects Blessing - Psalms 1:4-6

The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. 5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. 6 For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

The Way to Reject Blessing

Now the other way is shown and remember in God’s eyes and in God’s word there are only two ways, the way of blessing and the way of judgment.

Notice how these verses begin. “The ungodly are not so.” Immediately we are confronted with the contrast. The Psalmist is saying there is no comparison, there is only a vast and terrible difference between the god and the ungodly, the blessed and the judged.

The blessed person is like a deeply rooted tree, but the ungodly have no root at all. They are like chaff, the empty hulls, the empty lives, the empty promises of what could have been but instead it was rejected. Where the blessed are watered by the God’s word, the ungodly are swept away by the wind of God’s judgment. Where the blessed are rooted and stand strong, the ungodly are swept back and forth, like so much debris until the day will come with God must deal with them.

As one commentator put it, “While God concerns himself with the way of the righteous, the wicked merely drift on to ultimate destruction.”

Unblessed By Choice

In the same way that being blessed is choice, being unblessed is also a choice. You can argue about foreknowledge, predestination, elect and all those theological quandaries but when the Bible presents these things to us on a personal level it is always, always, always your choice, my choice. Not your fate, not your destiny, not your bad or good luck, but your choice. You can choose the blessing or you can choose the cursing and one day in this life or in eternity all of us will look back and know, “It was always my choice.”

Moses last sermon, “Choose Life”

Moses last address to the Hebrews before He died Deuteronomy 30:15-19 See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; In that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it. But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it. I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:


What Psalms One presents us with is the two ways of living in this world. By preaching this message from this passage this morning, I’m preaching the same message that God preached to Adam and Eve in the Garden, that Moses preached to the Hebrews, the Jesus preached at the Sermon on the Mount. There are two ways and you must choose one or the other. One way brings blessing, joy, happiness and eternal salvation. The other way brings pain, sorrow, emptiness and finally eternal damnation. Choose the blessing, choose life, choose God, choose the Word and you will be blessed.