Summary: Not many would question that we are living in troubled times.
ENCOURAGEMENT IN TROUBLED TIMES
"Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in His law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper." Psalm 1:1-3 (KJV)
Jeremiah gives us virtually a synoptic declaration of this great truth. We read from Jeremiah, chapter seventeen: Thus says the Lord: "Cursed is the man who trusts in man And makes flesh his strength, Whose heart departs from the Lord. For he shall be like a shrub in the desert, And shall not see when good comes, But shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, In a salt land which is not inhabited. "Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, And whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, Which spreads out its roots by the river, And will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, And will not be anxious in the year of drought, Nor will cease from yielding fruit. Jeremiah 17:5-8 (NKJV)
Not many in our nation, or for that matter anyone on earth, would question that we are living in troubled times. Bank and investment bank failures, business bankruptcies, the threatened collapse of Ford and GM, home foreclosures, a falling stock market, a falling dollar, a rising unemployment rate and the list goes on and on.
A cartoon in the Houston Chronicle following the election summed up the situation our nation is facing quite well. It depicts a messenger delivering Barack Obama a message. The man said: “Mr. Obama, I have good news and I have bad news.” Barack asked what the good news was, to which the messenger replied: “You’ve been elected president.” Barack then asked: “And what’s the bad news?” The messenger replied: “You’ve been elected president!”
But even in these troubled and perilous times, there is great hope for the child of God. The Psalmist and the Prophet both portend that good things are in store for those who trust in God and live their life in compliance with His Word. Let us look at the ones who stand to be blessed, regardless of the prevailing economic conditions, and the measure of the blessings they can joyfully and confidently expect.
I. THE PERSON DESCRIBED (Psalm 1:1-2)
1. “walks not in the counsel of the ungodly” (doesn’t seek worldly advice, philosophy or religious teaching).
2. “nor stands in the path (way) of sinners” (does not live a hypo-
critical life). The little poem makes the point abundantly clear.
To each is given a block of time and a set of tools,
And the Word of God for a Book of rules,
For each to build in this life alone,
A stumbling block or a stepping stone.
3. “nor sits in the seat of the scornful” (not fault-finding and critical)
4. “But delights in the law of the Lord and meditates upon His Word”
II. THE BLESSINGS THAT COME TO SUCH A PERSON: (Psalm 1:3)
1. Established (“like a tree planted by the rivers of water”) Not a wild growth but planted...as in an orchard.
2. Productive (“that brings forth its fruit in its season”) “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit.” John 15:16 (NKJV)
3. Sustained (“his leaf also shall not wither”) “Cast your burden on the Lord and He shall sustain you.” Psalm 55:22 (NKJV)
4. Prospered (“whatever he does shall prosper”)
Troubled times require us to focus upon the admonition, advice and comfort found in the Sermon on the Mount. Our Lord taught that the child of God need not fear what any day might hold but rather seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to us. Remembering this, we can face the economic challenges that are ahead for our nation and our world with confidence. AMEN.