Summary: It's all a matter of focus.. We can focus on the World's point of view or on God's Word.
TEXT: Psalm 1:1-6
TITLE: The Man in the Gorilla Suit
Date: May 15, 2011
I’m blessed today because Brother Marty provided the sermon illustration I needed for the message I felt led to bring.
At Traffic School, the group was asked to view a video of two basketball teams. One team wore white shirts and the other was dressed in black. The instructor asked the group to watch the screen carefully and try to count how many times the team dressed in white T-shirts passed the ball. At the end of the video the instructor asked how many times the ball had been passed and received a number of different answers. One man, at the back of the classroom had a different take on the video—“I saw something strange,” he said. The instructor smiled and replayed the video and there, indeed was something strange—a man in a Gorilla suit walked by the basketball court in the background. He was on the screen for nine full seconds and most of the class had completely missed it. Which, of course, was the point of the exercise.
This relates to our text in an interesting manner. We can become so focused on the advice, practices, and attitudes of sinful people that we miss the direction God is calling us to. The opposite is also true- We can become so focused on the Word of God that worldly advice, practices, and attitudes do not affect us. The theme of Psalm 1 is keeping our focus on the Word of God and experiencing the blessing that flows from a walk in obedience to God’s Word.
I like the fact that our text begins with the word “blessed.” I don’t want to sound like a “name-it-and-claim-it” preacher, but the truth is that God has a deep desire to bless us. Over and over again God’s Word tells us how to be blessed. Psalm 32 tells us that confession of sin brings forgiveness and blessing. The Sermon on the Mount tells us about attitudes and practices that bring about God’s blessing upon our lives. Our text in Psalm 1 tells us that a focus on God’s Word helps us avoid the snares of the world, which can drag the believer to a place of judgment.
The Psalmist describes the godly man’s delight and pleasure in the Word of God and how he makes it foremost in his mind by meditating on it constantly (day and night).
How can we meditate on the Word of God more than we already do?
1) Read it regularly. Pick up a different translation than you normally use.
2) Read it aloud. Words and even meanings will strike you differently when you read something out loud.
3) Memorize portions. Stop excusing yourself for not memorizing Bible verses—You know your Social Security number, your phone number, your driver’s license number, your address.. you CAN memorize at least a small portion of Scripture
4) Share it with others. When you learn something from God’s Word take the time to tell someone what you learned.
The Psalmist promises several things which flow out of our emphasis on God’s Word.
First, he describes the godly man as being deeply rooted as contrasted with the chaff that wind simply drives away. A person who is finding delight in obedience to God’s Word has a stronger foundation.
Second, the godly man is nourished and refreshed. We see the man is like the tree planted by the rivers of water. He is green and growing. Even in a hot climate, the river provides refreshing.
Third, the godly man is fruitful. Proper fruit at the right time is produced. This fruit is righteousness. God’s Word produces fruit in the life of those who accept and apply it.
Finally, the Psalmist offers a final contrast between the godly and the ungodly. The ungodly face certain judgment. A judgment that is not pleasant for ungodly people. Though God is a gracious God, and the Father of Mercy, those who reject His Word and His ways cannot expect to find leniency in the final judgment. God is also a Holy God and this means He must keep His word and judge those who reject Him.
The comfort offered here is that God “knows” the way of the righteous. This has the concept of His loving watch and care over our lives. Like a parent standing by with arms ready to rescue the toddler learning to walk, God’s eyes are on us and He is aware of our problems, our shortcomings, our difficulties, and our trials.
Grandma Wilson used to say “this too shall pass.” Godly people can be aware that God can preserve them through the harshest of trials. Ungodly people tend to dry up and blow away in the face of trouble. God’s people find their dependence on God.