This Psalm naturally fall into two divisions of three verses each. Verses 1-3 speak of the man who is blessed by God, while verses 4-6 speak of the man who is condemned by God. This two-fold division of mankind is seen elsewhere in Scripture. The Bible says there are two types of people - saints and sinners, saved and lost, godly and ungodly, believers and unbelievers, those who are blessed by God and those who are condemned by God.
Today we will to look at what the Psalmist says about the man who is blessed by God, and in the message to follow, we will look at what we are told about the man who is condemned by God.
As we read verses 1-3, we find that the person spoken of here is not only a believer, but one who is a whole-hearted follower. Unlike the typical Christian of our day, this person is one who has not only trusted God with his eternal destiny, but also with his daily life. He is someone who lets his relationship with God to rule every area of his life. Notice what we are told here about the man who is blessed by God.
1. He Is Separated From The World - v. 1
Here we find three degrees of worldliness. Each is a step further from God. The first is that of "walking in the counsel of the wicked," the second is that of "standing in the way of sinners," and the third is that of "sitting in the seat of mockers." Each speaks of a progressively worse state of worldliness, and tells about the path followed by the Christian who backslides and turns away from God.
Worldliness in the life of the Christian begins with a consideration of the world’s opinions, then grows with an acceptance of the world’s values, and results in an agreement with the world’s viewpoint!
Associated with these degrees of worldliness are three movements. One can envision the believer passing by the world, slowing down to walk with the world to hear what it has to say, stopping and standing to carry on a fuller visit, then finally joining in with the world in its activities.
But the man who is blessed by God knows that he cannot afford to listen to what the world has to say, much less participate in what the world is doing. He must continue in his walk with God - he cannot stop walking with God for any reason.
Notice how he is separated from the world:
A. He Thinks Differently - v. 1a
Worldliness begins in the mind (Romans 12:2). To live separated from the world, we must determine that we are going to reject the counsel the world gives and listen to the that God gives through His Word!
A wise person once said, "All the water of the ocean cannot sink even the smallest ship unless it gets inside." There’s a lot of "worldly water" about us. But it can never cause us to sink unless we let it get inside and fill our minds, conquer our courage, and influence our thinking.
"The Christian is not ruined by living in the world, but by the world living in him."
B. He Acts Differently - v. 1b
He acts differently than the world, because his values are different, and his values are different because he is not walking in the counsel of the wicked, but walking in the counsel of God. In making decisions, he is guided by the principles of God, rather than the opinions of the world.
C. He Feels Differently - v. 1c
The man who is blessed by God feels differently than the world does about the things of God. The world mocks the things of God, but he loves the things of God. The world despises the "high calling of God in Christ Jesus," but he lives to see that calling fulfilled in his life. The world loves the life of sin but hates the life of God, but he hates the life of sin and loves the life of God! How sad it is to see a Christian who through allowing his thinking to be influenced by the world, acts like the world acts and feels like the world feels!
There was a wild duck that began to live in a barnyard of tame ducks. After months of tame living and heavy eating, he tried to rejoin his old flock of wild birds when they flew over. But he was too heavy and soft. Each time they flew over, he was stirred to make an effort to join them, but finally as he was not able to fly with them, he lost his desire to fly.
In rejecting the counsel of God & listening to the counsel of the world, we are led to feel like the world feels. We lose the desire to answer "the high calling of God that is in Christ Jesus!"
No one said that it would be easy to live a life that is separated from the world, but understand, the person whose faith cost him nothing, will pay for what he gets!
"It is far better for you and me to suffer the ridicule of this world than to forsake the blessings of God!"
2. He Is Saturated With The Word - v. 2
Notice how the man who blessed by God studies the Bible:
A. He Studies It Lovingly - v. 2a
He loves the Word of God! He recognizes that within it are found great and precious promises. Therefore, he studies the Bible lovingly, and as he does, he comes to love it more and more! For the more we grow in our understanding of God’s Word, the more it grow in its value to us!
B. He Studies It Thoughtfully - v. 2b
He contemplates its application to his daily life.
Those who know the truth are not equal to those who love it; but those who love the truth are not equal to those who live it!
The man blessed by God tries to daily live the truth of God’s Word!
C. He Studies It Consistently - v. 2c
Studying God’s Word is like bathing it is something I ought to do every day.
If one’s study of the Bible is "hit or miss," they will "miss" more than they will "hit."
3. He Is Situated By The Water - v. 3
Streams of water are often used in the Bible to refer to the Holy Spirit filled or Spirit controlled life (John 7:38-39). The picture here is of a tree that has been purposefully placed by the water it needs to sustain its life. The man who is blessed by God purposes in his heart to rely upon the power of the Holy Spirit. He will trust in God’s strength, not his own; depend on God’s power, not his own; & rely on God’s might, not his own (Zechariah 4:6). He has planted his life in total dependence upon the Lord. Because of this . . .
A. He Will Be Unfailingly Fruitful - v. 3b
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.” - Galatians 5:22 (NIV)
Notice that the "fruit of the Spirit," that is, the character of Christ, is what we "bear." That is, we cannot produce it. It is produced by the work of the Spirit within us.
Dr. David Livingstone, the famous missionary to Africa, had a reputation for being a Christ-like man. It was said that he had a favorite prayer, that he often prayed through-out the day: “Send me anywhere Lord, only go with me. Lay any burden on me, only sustain me. Sever any tie that binds but the tie that binds to me Your service and to Your heart.” No wonder he had such a reputation for Christ-likeness!
B. He Will Be Unfailingly Fresh - v. 3c
Ordinarily, when cold weather comes, a tree’s leaves wither and fall off. But not so with God’s living trees. Even when the cold weather of difficulty and trial comes, the Christian who is depending on the power of the Holy Spirit will maintain the freshness of his faith.
C. He Will Be Unfailingly Favored - v. 3d
Spiritual investment always brings heavenly interest. He who fully depends on God will receive a full blessing from God.
What is described here is the victorious life that God wants for all His children. The child of God who depends on the sustaining power of the Holy Spirit will always prosper, no matter what the world’s assessment of his success might be!
Dr. Herbert Lockyer explains it this way, "Blessed is the man embraces such a promise! There is no reason to doubt that outward and secular success is included in such a promise. Soul prosperity, however, is what the believer longs for, and having this, he is content with whatever the Lord may entrust him with in material things."
You see, we are not made rich by what is in our pockets but by what is in our hearts. This is the prosperity that the Psalmist is referring to here. A prosperity that the world knows nothing about!
"The problem today is not that our churches are filled-with empty pews, but that our pews are filled with empty people."
Does this describe you spiritual life today? You can see things turned around. God claims ownership of your life. What God claims, yield. What you yield, God fills. What God fills, He uses, and what God uses, He blesses!