Summary: Exposition of Psalm 1 about the two paths that lie before us
Text: Psalm 1:1-6, Title: The Happy Path, Date/Place: NRBC, 11/16/08, AM
A. Opening illustration: At a wedding we were attending, my granddaughter Melissa asked, "Why is a bride always dressed in white?" "Because white represents happiness and today is the happiest day of her life," I replied. Her next question was: "Then why is the groom dressed in black?" “All people desire what they believe will make them happy.” –William Law, Yesterday, on The Today Show, they had a little excerpt, and on Dateline on NBC, they had an expose of the happiness industry. These are people who, for a fee, of course, will help you be happy. One of them was an ad man who left his advertising business and started something in New England called the Options Institute. "I would like to be your happiness coach," he says to Maria Shriver. "I can teach people how to be happy. They just have to make a decision not to take on all the crap that the world gives them, and they have to decide to be happy."
B. Background to passage: this psalm was likely moved to the front of the Psalter as an introduction to the entire book. It lays out an overarching instruction about the truth contained in the book of Psalms. Much like the Sermon on the Mount, it acknowledges our desire to be happy, and gives us instruction on the best way to do that. It is a perfect example of Hebrew poetry and its characteristic parallelism.
C. Main thought: in the text we will see the path of the godly contrasted with the path of the wicked
A. The Walk of the Godly (v. 1-2)
1. The writer starts out with the word, “blessed” which means happy. The word means "happy" in the rich, full sense of happiness rooted in moral and mental and physical wellbeing. You can hear and see the beautiful Hebrew parallelism in these first two verses as they lay out the two paths that are before all men. The path of the godly, and that of the wicked. The writer begins by telling us how the way of the blessed man is not. He is not accompanied by wicked (those guilty of sin), nor does he act like a sinner, nor does he show disdain or irreverence toward God. But the happy man’s delight (word means inclination or desire) is the word of God, because it reflects the beauty of Christ. One translation says, “God’s Word is his thrill and he chews on it all day long.” The Hebrew word for meditate means to mutter to yourself the word. It is just like worrying, except good trails instead of bad ones. He oozes scripture, thinks scripture, has his life shaped by scripture, longs for scripture, lives on scripture. It is like food, water, football, deer hunting, and sex all wrapped up in a leather bound book.
2. Heb 11:25, Job 22:25, 23:12, Ps 40:8, 19:9-10, 119:18, 36, 72, 103, 112:1, 90:14, Pro 3:13-15, Jer 15:16,
3. Illustration: “Happiness of heart can no more be attained without God than light and sunshine can be had without the sun. Happiness is heavenly born; its aroma is of heaven; it leads to heaven and its emblem is heaven. On every side, in every part of the universe men and women are seeking happiness and cannot find it because they do not seek it from God.” “Men are merely taller children. Honor, wealth, and splendor are the toys for which grown children pine; but which, however accumulated, leave them still disappointed and unhappy. God never designed that intelligent beings should be satisfied with these enjoyments. By His wisdom and goodness they were formed to derive their happiness and virtue from Him alone.” –Timothy Dwight, Spurgeon said your blood type should be bibline, A 91-year-old lady reads the Scriptures regularly, but now her memory is failing her. Friends commented, "So what’s the use of all this reading when you cannot remember what you’ve read." Her answer is always the same. "God has blessed me richly. I eat well and sleep well; I have a roof over my head. I am not concerned about my memory. I just do my reading and God does the remembering." She relies on God and not her natural ability to bring the Word back.
4. The simple truth is that the highest happiness/joy/fulfillment is found is the greatest treasure. If you want to be happy, follow Jesus more closely. Do you keep company or listen to the counsel of unbelievers? Are you always the designated driver? There will be a progression from listening, to living like them, to having a disdain for the things of God in your life if you persist in hanging out with them. This is another reason why Christians only marry Christians, and only date Christians. Hearing their counsel, acting like them, and sitting with them will lead to unhappiness. Sure, there is joy in sin for a season. Do you long for the Word of God? Is it sweet to you? Meditation and memorization go hand in hand. I would venture to guess that if you are not involved in memorizing scripture, or at least serious study (as opposed to simply devotional reading), you are probably not meditating on scripture. What if it is drudgery? The key to delight is God’s omnipotent, transforming grace laid hold on by prayer. Pray without ceasing that God would incline your heart to Him and His Word; the psalmist did. Pray that God would open your eyes to great truth in the bible! Pray that He would satisfy your longings in the Word.