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.