Summary: Our thoughts direct our conduct; our conduct determines our company. The Psalmist describes two ways a man can go, beginning with what we feed into our minds.
In his book The Wonders of the Word of God, Evangelist Robert Sumner tells of a Kansas City man severely injured in an explosion. The explosion claimed his eyesight, took both his hands and badly disfigured his face.
He was just a new Christian, and among his greatest disappointments was that he could no longer read the Bible. He then heard about a woman in England who read Braille with her lips. Hoping to do the same, he sent for some books of the Bible in Braille. Much to his dismay, he discovered that the explosion also destroyed the nerve endings in his lips; his hope collapsed.
Then one day, as he brought one of the Braille pages to his lips, his tongue happened to touch a few of the raised characters and he could feel them. Instantly he realized he could read the Bible using his tongue, and at the time Robert Sumner wrote his book, the man had "read" through the entire Bible four times.
1. It would have been easy for that man to give up. In a fleeting moment he lost more than many of us could bear. I find it interesting, that losing the ability to read the Bible was among his greatest disappointments, given all that he lost.
2. Here is a man who, consciously or subconsciously, understood that the mind is the door to one’s soul. In other words, both misery and joy begin in our minds; therefore, if we feed our minds with wholesome and constructive input, we can expect it to affect our thinking, our conduct and our sense of belonging.
3. Psalm 1 speaks to this very point. It introduces the Psalms (a collection of Hebrew Poetry) by demonstrating the two paths one can choose in life – one that is prosperous, another that is destructive. TWM to Psalm 1.
1. Psalms is a collection of Hebrew poetry; along with other poetic books (Proverbs, SS, Job, Ecclesiastes), Psalms reminds us how important poetry was to the Jewish people.
2. Hebrew poetry, unlike its English counterpart, has neither rhyme nor meter. Instead, it uses couplets that catch the listener’s attention, and make it easier for him or her to memorize what they heard.
A. A couplet is two line of verse that form a unit of thought (vv.1-2, 3-4, 5-6)
B. In OT times, people learned the scriptures by hearing (most were illiterate), and poetic phrasing made memorization far easier. We learn this way, too (30 days hath September…leaves of three, let it be…)
C. At Fontana, the children in the SS are memorizing the books of the Bible – by learning a song!
3. So it was in ancient Israel. Poetry made the messages of the Psalms easy to remember, making the feeding of one’s mind far simpler. Let’s look at this psalm together.
III. THE BLESSED MAN (vv. 1-3; suggested trans.)
1. What he AVOIDS:
A. Does not take the advice of the wicked: This man guards his thinking. He gives no credence to the wisdom of mankind, nor does he accept the advice of those who do not love the Lord.
i. This is critical for those of us who claim Christ as Savior and Lord. We cannot substitute man’s wisdom for God’s Word. This brings contamination to our minds.
B. Does not stand in the way of sinners: In other words, he does not model the behavior of unbelievers. His thoughts direct his conduct, and if he thinks of the things of God, his behavior follows the ways of God.
i. The blessed or fortunate man is that way largely because he avoids the pitfalls of the world: namely, its thought and conduct. Yet there is a third thing he avoids…
C. Does not sit in the seat of mockers: This means he does not keep company with those who purposefully separate themselves from God.
i. The godly man avoids the advice of the ungodly, the conduct of the ungodly, and even associating with them (as one would with close friends). This deals with his sense of belonging.
2. What he EMBRACES:
A. He delights in God’s law (i.e. Scripture). He meditates on it day and night.
i. He is feeding his mind daily, allowing all his thoughts to be captive to God’s word. Try it; I can assure you that as you come to delight in God’s word, it will change your outlook on everything!
3. What he BECOMES:
A. Like a tree…yielding fruit…impervious to drought.
i. Planted by streams of water. As the tree feeds on an inexhaustible supply of water, so the mind of the believer feeds on God’s word. THINKING
ii. Yields its fruit. The well-fed tree produces fruit and shade for man, making a vital contribution to the world around it. Just as the believer influences those around him or her. A mind fed from the Scriptures yields spiritual fruit that benefits the world around you. CONDUCT