Summary: Which path are you choosing to walk, with God or according to man? Let this passage reveal to you the best way for your life.
Intro: Each one of us have the opportunity to make a wise choice by choosing God's way, following God's will, and listening daily to God's word.
Sadly, there is also the opportunity to make an unwise choice by choosing the way of man, to follow the flesh, and listen to man rather than God.
In this message, let us see the reward of following God, and the destruction that will come in following after man.
1. The Way of Life (1-3).
A. The psalmist tells us about the way of life, and reveals to us three decisions that we should make in order to assure we are on the right way and will be blessed or happy.
First, we must choose, who will be our counselor, man or God? Manifold blessings and happiness are ours if we will choose God's counsel over man's advice.
Second, we must choose who will be our pattern for life, man or God? Once again, great happiness comes to the person who wants to be the person God wants them to be, rather than trying to be what other people want them to be.
Third, we must choose, who will we allow to influence our thinking, man or God? Here, what we feed our mind will determine our course of action. Great caution is needed here, especially since Satan would love to be able to influence your thinking and your decision-making (1).
B. In order to answer the previous questions and in order to make wise decisions, you should go to the proper source that will assist you in making wise choices, that is God's Word. Paul told the Philippians in Philippians 4:4-8, that they could have a less stressful life full of worry and doubt, could have the peace of God which defies explanation, could have a secure heart and mind, and have their minds focused on the right things, but they first had to let God be part of their lives and allow His message to direct them each day.
Jesus also shared about how important it was to have your mind focused on the right thing. In Matthew 6:25-34, Jesus addressed the concerns of man: what they were going to eat, drink, and wear. Jesus shared that if a man would put God first, or focus on God, then what he needed would be provided by God. Are you meditating on God's word, do you heed His message, and are you submitting your mind to Him always, both day and night (2)?
C. Further, we must also find it within our character to be submissive to God's will. Notice the psalmist now uses the illustration of a tree: it is planted by the rivers of water, it is fruitful, it is healthy, and it is prosperous. First, a planted tree is one that has been cared for and placed carefully in the surroundings that will provide it the most substance for growth. Let God guide you and He will place you where He needs you. Second, it is fruitful. Therefore, we must be willing to do God's bidding and we will then produce the right fruit for the right time. This also means that we will evidence to those about us that we are true believers. Third, it is healthy. This tree is receiving its strength from the right source. The right source for the believer is always God. Fourth, it is prosperous, that is it is fulfilling it's role to bear fruit and give back to it's surroundings (3).
2. The Way of Doom (4-6).
A. Those choosing the way of doom, which is opposed to God are no good for God. Notice that the psalmist calls them chaff. Chaff is the dead, outer hull on a wheat seed. When harvested, the farmer would use a process called winnowing to get rid of the chaff. Both the hull and seed are cast into the air, the wind blows away the dead hull, but what remains is the good seed (4).
B. Continuing, the unbeliever cannot stand or has nothing of any value to offer to God for His pardon. Jesus died on the cross, providing for us a remedy from sin, but when man refuses to take the remedy for sin, he dies in his sin and therefore in judgment, that man cannot be pardoned, and is separated from God. Paul told the Romans in Romans 6:23, "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." In Revelation 20:11-15, the Great White Throne judgment portrays this action. Notice, the participants are called the Dead. Just like the chaff they are dead. Further, when the books are presented, the unbeliever has nothing of value to present before God, and therefore they are cast into hell, eternally separated from God (5).