Summary: Obtaining God’s blessing on your life is determined by whether you live a God-centered life or have no time for God.
A. I hope this doesn’t surprise you, but believers with an active faith have a greater chance of being more positive, generous, and socially active than those who consider themselves to be atheists or agnostics. A George Barna study found this to be the case as reflected in these behaviors:
• Likelihood to vote:
Active-faith Americans: 89 percent
No-faith Americans: 78 percent
• Being active in their communities:
Active-faith: 68 percent
No-faith: 41 percent
• Personally helping homeless or poor people:
Active-faith: 61 percent
No-faith: 41 percent
• Yearly donations to charitable causes:
• Feeling of being at peace
Active-faith: 90 percent
No-faith: 67 percent
"Study Sizes Up Gaps Between Christians, Atheists, and Agnostics," www.Christianpost.com (6-12-07)
B. The Psalms help us understand why this would be true – because in the Psalms we find over and over how people’s lives are strengthened, when things go well in their lives and when things go very, very bad.
1. There is no book like the Psalms to meet the need of the heart when it is discouraged and defeated, or when it is elated and encouraged. The Psalms are helpful because they teach us how to find our way through many types of problems.
2. The whole book is a collection that was put together by the ancient Hebrew in order that we might understand what the people of God have gone through and how they found their way out of their troubles.
• The Psalms are songs of praise, worship, thankfulness, and repentance. Each one of them is complete by itself.
3. Of the 150 Psalms, there are 100 for which we are fairly certain who the author is. David wrote 73; Solomon wrote 2, and Moses wrote 1. The other 24 with authors attached to them were written by four lesser know individuals. The remaining 50 have no recorded author.
4. The Psalms are divided into five books, which are similar in theme to the first five books of the Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.
a. Book 1: Chapters 1-41 echoes the theme of Genesis, an introduction to human life and a revelation of the needs of the human heart.
b. Book 2: Chapters 42-72 corresponds to Exodus, a book of redemption, the story of God’s moving in human history to change and redeem people and save them from themselves.
c. Book 3: Chapters 73-89 is similar in theme to Leviticus, the book in which Israel learned how to draw near to God, how to worship him through the provision God made for his people, the tabernacle.
d. Book 4: Chapters 90-106 goes along with Numbers, the book of wilderness wandering, of testing and failure.
e. Book 5: Chapters 107-150 expresses the theme of Deuteronomy, the second law, which describes how God finally accomplishes the redemption of his people and brings them to the Promised Land.
C. This brings us to the Psalm 1.
1. This is one of the most familiar Psalms. Psalm 23 and perhaps two or three others may be better known.
2. It is a good Psalm to open with because it suggests to us how we may obtain God’s blessing, and warns us of not walking with him and seeking his counsel.
3. The Psalmist certainly does not mean that everything will go well for those who obtain God’s blessing. In fact, at the heart of the Psalms is the theme that God can bless a person even in the midst of tragedy and difficulty because at those times the person who walks with God finds his or her greatest strength by walking with God.
4. The Psalmist tells us what determines whether we received God’s blessing on our lives.
Obtaining God’s blessing on your life is determined by whether you live a God-centered life or have no time for God.
I. LIVE A GOD-CENTERED LIFE – Vss. 1-3.
• The first three verses of Psalm 1 describe the life of the person whose life is centered in God.
• Dr. Larry Osborne calls this The Crowd and the Compass.
A. First there is The Crowd.
1. The Psalm describes this mostly in the negative, but we will also examine the positive.
• Nur Malena Hassan illustrates the negative:
Rising mortgage rates had nothing to do with Nur Malena Hassan moving into a glass box. The 24-year-old Malaysian woman’s residence was temporary, as she tried to break the existing world record of 32 days, held by a woman from Thailand. The catch? Hassan’s glass home included 6,000 scorpions.
On August 21, 2004, the crowd at a shopping mall witnessed Hassan step into the box, showing no outward signs of fear. This was her second attempt. The first attempt, a few days previously, had failed due to a lack of scorpions. This time the glass box was filled with 6,069 volunteers who quickly covered Hassan’s body. Allowed to leave the box for 15 minutes each day, Hassan made the box home for 36 days.