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Summary: How does God bless us? An understanding of Psalm 1

June 26, 2013

Psalm 1:1-6

1 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;

2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.

3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.

4 The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;

6 for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

Have you ever heard the expression “You only go around once in life, so you’ve got to grab all the gusto you can?” I remember seeing that commercial when I was younger. According to that commercial grabbing for all the gusto you could get, came from drinking a certain brand of beer. I remember seeing a billboard for an Internet job search company called, monster.com. It said, “Better job, better life.” Really? Is that a guarantee? We definitely want a better life, but will a better job get me there?

The dictionary defines gusto as “vigorous enjoyment or zest.” We’re all on a quest to get all the gusto we can, but true gusto will never come artificially. It won’t come from outside sources. It won’t come from what the world offers us. That will never lead to a life of joy. The dictionary defines gusto as “vigorous enjoyment or zest.”

Most of us can find brief moments of happiness, but that happiness tends to be shallow and fleeting. Not too far below the surface we struggle with boredom, disenchantment and loneliness. I can’t tell you how many times I saw posts on Facebook within a few days of school ending, saying “I’m bored!”

Even our great achievements seldom bring total satisfaction -- straight A’s on a report card, hitting the game winning home run, buying new clothes, or getting a promotion at work, all make us happy for a few hours, maybe even a few days, but that feeling doesn’t last. So where do we go to find gusto, to find real joy in life?

I believe Psalm 1 answers that question. Its answer may be a bit unnerving, but Psalm 1, clues us in on the answer. Here we find a description of the BLESSED individual. In a sense this passage teaches that true gusto is found in godliness.

I find it interesting that this psalm begins by telling us that our approach to being blessed begins when we stay away from the ungodly. Those are the people who are considered wicked, sinners and scoffers (pessimists / cynics). I believe the psalmist begins this way, because we find it too easy to join in with the crowd, even when we know it’s wrong. When push comes to shove we seem to knuckle under the pressure of others and join the gang. Too often, it’s because we’re already unhappy or lonely, and we want to be included, yet, being included here works against us.

Initially it may look like the right road to take. There are signs that say, "This way to gusto," these roads are paved with money, sex, power and control, but they’re really dead ends. They’ll always end in disaster. Turning from God will not bring happiness in this life and certainly not in the next. This is not the path we want to take if we’re looking for gusto.

So, where do we find true gusto? Well, interestingly enough, the road to joy is God’s Word, the Bible. Verse 2 tells us our delight should be in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night.

What delights you and gives you a real thrill? Is it having that drink? Shopping at the mall, or seeing one of the stocks you own went up three points Friday? Maybe it’s getting a phone call from that special person you like? In Psalm 1 we learn that a person who experiences real gusto is someone who is thrilled and delighted . . . when?

When they read God’s Word. Now, that may seem strange. After all, what can be so exciting about sitting around reading the Bible all day? For many of us 15 or 30 minutes of Bible reading or prayer seems like an eternity.

I don’t believe the psalmist read his Bible all day long. He read the Bible often, but what he constantly did, day and night, was think about what the Scripture says, what it means, and how it should be applied in life. He meditated on the Bible. In eastern religions, TM, yoga, etc., meditation involves emptying the mind. Biblical meditation is about filling the mind with the truth of God’s Word. Are you filling up on or emptying your mind of God’s Word?

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