Sunday, July 1, 2012

Psalm 1 is one of 10 Wisdom Psalms.  Wisdom Psalms tell us how to live the blessed life and avoid the cursed life.  They tell us how to allow the grace of God that saves to also sanctify us.  They are filled not with legalistic laws and rules, but with grace-filled instructions, precepts, and wisdom from God  about how to live a blessed, prosperous life.

Psalm 1 contrasts two different things:  a tree and chaff.  The tree described is planted with roots deep in an environment that is nourishing.  It gives its fruit in season and its leaves never wither.  Then, the Psalmist tells us he’s not really talking about a tree – he’s talking a person; a life (vs. 3).  He tells us that this person who is well planted in the right environment is prosperous and blessed (vs. 1).

The chaff is what is left when grain is separated from it at harvest time.  The chaff is worthless and is blown away and trampled under foot.

We are all building a life.  Are you building a tree-life or a chaff-life?

The Psalmist tells us in order to build a tree-life, we need to have wisdom and discernment about the environments we place ourselves in.  Some environments are life-giving and others are life draining.

1.  Limit your engagement in certain environments (vs. 1).  Psalm 1 says that a blessed man does not linger long (if at all) in the environments of negativity, wickedness, sinfulness, mockery.  Why?  Because you become who you hang around.

Grace allows us to enjoy freedom and to choose the environment, people and activities of our lives.  Yet, the Apostle Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 10:33 that not everything is beneficial or constructive.  We need to follow Holy Spirit leadership to discern what and who in our lives is soul-draining and/or soul-filling.  There’s nothing wrong with television, the internet, Facebook, texting, recreation, friends, etc.  But discernment is necessary to govern how much time we spend in those activities and whether or not they give life to our soul or suck life from our soul.

How much more dead does your soul have to become before you begin making some courageous, soul-enhancing decisions?

2.   Increase your engagement in what really matters (vs. 2).  We are engaged in so much activity.  We’re busy, busy, busy.  But at the end of the day, how much of our “busyness” is simply involvement in things that produce nothing but chaff?  Shakespeare well described us in Macbeth:  “…life full of sound and fury signifying nothing”.    The Psalmist tells us to immerse ourselves in the environment of God’s law.  Law with a small “l”.  He isn’t talking about the Mosaic Law of the Old Testament that governed worship.  He’s speaking of the principles, precepts, teaching, and instructions of God and their application to our lives that results in blessedness and prosperity.

The Psalmist says a blessed man…

a.  delights in God’s instructions.  Literally, he pleasures himself in them.

b.  meditates on God’s instructions day and night.  The literal rendering of the Hebrew here is “day and night”!  A blessed man’s life is immersed in God’s teaching.

God gave us spiritual DNA that demands to be fed by his Word.  Just as the physical body demands physical food (and don’t we spend a lot of time and energy and expense meeting that need?) so the soul demands spiritual food.

God promises to partner with people who are building a tree-life.  Verse six tells us that “the Lord watches over the way of the righteous”.

Good news?  God is for you – not against you.  If you’ve made some chaff-producing decisions already in your life, God forgives you and offers you a new beginning.

I encourage you right now to mak e a courageous decision and say, “NO MORE CHAFF!”  Begin limiting your exposure to negative and sinful environments and ratchet up your exposure to thing that feed the soul.  Begin living a tree-life today.  A life planted with roots running deep; nourished from God’s word; producing good fruit in season;  with leaves never withering;  prospering in every way.

So be it.


  1. Good message Sunday!

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