Summary: Ultimate success in life is found in getting the roots of our lives deep into the truth of God’s Word and letting it shape our thinking and transform our lives.
“Two Men, Two Ways, Two Destinies”
Dr. Rick Bartosik, Senior Pastor
Mililani Community Church
January 23, 2004
Today we are beginning a new series of Sunday morning messages on the Psalms. One of the early church fathers, St. Basil, wrote that "they are like a general hospital for souls where we might each select the medicine for our own disease." Martin Luther found them inexpressibly precious in the trials and conflicts of his stormy soul. John Calvin said, "no one will find in himself a single feeling of which the image is not reflected in the mirror of the Psalms."
Just as the Temple was in the physical center of the people of God in the Old Testament, the book of Psalms is right in the center of the Bible. They have been appropriately called "the hymn book of the Old Testament" because all 150 Psalms were at one time put to music and sung in public and private worship.
The center chapter of the Bible is Psalm 119. Every verse of this chapter says something about the value of God’s Word. For instance, Psalm 119:18: “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.” My prayer is that as we study the Psalms over the next few weeks, the Lord will indeed open our eyes to see wonderful things in His law, so that we will be able to respond to His Word in true worship and live lives that bring Him glory.
Jewish tradition tells us that the first two Psalms were originally one. To me that seems very appropriate; because these two Psalms definitely go together as an introduction to the whole book of Psalms. They deal with the two most important issues of life. The first Psalm deals with the blessedness of loving and obeying God’s Law. The second Psalm deals with the blessedness of loving and submitting to God’s Son, the Messiah.
The first Psalm has been called the gateway to the Psalms. AS J. Vernon McGee has pointed out, it talks about two men, two ways, and two destinies. So let’s turn now to the first Psalm. And read it together:
1Blessed is the man who does not walk
in the counsel of the wicked
or stand in the way of sinners
or sit in the seat of mockers.
2But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
3He is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers.
4Not so the wicked!
They are like chaff
that the wind blows away.
5Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
6For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.
The two men of Psalm 1 are placed in sharp contrast.
One man is OBEDIENT to God’s Word; and the other is DISOBEDIENT. One lives a God-centered life. The other lives a self-centered life. One is following God through obedience to His Word and receiving His blessings; the other is rejecting God and His Word and is facing His judgment.
The contrast is vividly seen by bringing together the first and the last words of this Psalm – blessed and perish. Blessed means “happy” – to be on a road that leads to ultimate joy. Perish means to be “lost” – to be on a road that leads nowhere and to ultimate ruin.