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.