Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“O my God, my life is cast down upon me and I find the burden more than I can bear: therefore will I earnestly remember You…Yet the Lord will command His loving –kindness in the daytime, and in the night His song shall be with me, a prayer to the God of my life. I will say to God my Rock, ‘Why have You forgotten me?...Why are you cast down? O my inner self? And why should You moan over me and be disquieted within me? Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall yet praise Him, Who is the help of my countenance and my God.”
I Shall Yet Praise Him
“I shall yet praise Him – though blossoms have withered,
Empty the fold is and barren the field,
All the fair promise of harvest has vanished,
Fig-tree and olive have failed in their yield.
I shall yet praise Him – though now the mists shroud me,
Though through the darkness there shineth no star,
Though long delayed be the word of His counsel,
And to all seeming He hideth afar.
I shall yet praise Him for victory given;
Though fierce the sifting, His prayer cannot fail;
Till the fourth watch He may leave me in darkness,
Then clouds shall lift and the light shall prevail.
I shall yet praise Him who knoweth my pathway,
For all His leading through desert and sea,
For the sure promise that standeth forever,
For all His purpose fulfilled unto me.
I shall yet praise Him – mute mouth filled with laughter,
Silent lips opened and tongue tuned to song;
Surely praise waiteth; joy, sown for my reaping,
Cometh to harvest, though lingering long.”
Annie Johnson Flint
Today’s Study Text:
“Blessed is the man or woman who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked.”
“Blessed is the man or woman that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly.”
“Blessed is the man or woman who walks and lives not in the counsel of the ungodly, following their advice, their plans and purposes.”
“Walk, Stand, Sit”
Psalm 1 Part 3
“Agreeing to lose everything for You, O Christ,
in order to take hold of You,
as you have already taken hold of us,
means abandoning ourselves to the living God.
Centering our life on You, Christ Jesus,
means daring to choose:
leaving ourselves behind so as no longer to walk
on two roads at the same time:
saying no to all that keeps us from following You,
and yes to all that brings us closer to You,
and through You, to those whom You entrust to us.”
Brother Roger of Taize
Have I ever found myself walking in the way of the wicked?
How does the influence of those who do not follow God change my life?
“O, for a closer walk with God!
A calm and heavenly frame,
A light to shine upon the road
That leads me to the Lamb.”
“A man or woman without God is not like a cake without raisins; they are like a cake without the flour and milk; they lack the essential ingredients.”
Fulton J. Sheen
In recent years, there has been a prevalence of three word titles for books and even organizations. There’s the “Pet Adoption” group “Sit, Stay, Love.” and then there was the book and movie, “Eat, Pray, Love” about one woman’s search to get out of the confusion she was experiencing by traveling in Italy, India and Indonesia. Lest we think the three word trend was hatched in the 21st century, we need to look back thousands of years to Psalm 1 where we find the three word admonition, “Walk, Stand, Sit.” The counsel which is revealed in these words is timeless and although it is found in what we might refer to as ancient Biblical writings, we would do well to heed the advice in Psalm 1: 1.
As we noted yesterday, Psalm 1 begins with the “introductory sentence, ‘O happiness…O the happiness of the man,’” as author David Redding exclaims. Continuing with his descriptive thoughts, Pastor Redding notes that “the psalmist, looking up, has learned – and is ready to teach us – how to say ‘Blessed.’” However, in order to comprehend what makes an individual “blessed,” the writer of Psalm 1 lays out three specific activities which are not part of a “blessed” person’s activities.
First, this individual does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly. Second, they do not stand in the way of sinners. And third, they’re not found sitting in the seat of the scornful. Thus, we can come to the conclusion that if we want to find lasting happiness and joyous blessedness in our lives, we are going to make wise choices regarding who we walk with, where we stand, and those we sit down with.
It would do us well to take time to look at each one of these phrases for several reasons. We need to recognize that the psalmist begins by saying that the righteous don’t choose as their counselors the ungodly. In order to get a better idea of what the word “ungodly” means, I went to my Hebrew dictionary where I found that in the context of Psalm 1: 1, the word “ungodly” means to make trouble, to vex, to actively do wrong. What Psalm 1: 1 states is that a “blessed” person doesn’t walk or as the Hebrew tells us, does not “conversantly travel along their way with an individual bent on doing the wrong thing.”
Pastor Susan B. W. Johnson brings clarity to the phrase “does not walk or live within the counsel of the ungodly” when she states that, “Psalm 1 appears to be about the company we keep. Indeed, it might almost seem that Jesus Himself violated the sensibility of this wisdom psalm, eating and drinking with sinners, prostitutes, and tax collectors. However, we need to take a more careful look at the intent of this psalm. It does not condemn the people who surround us, or even the company we may invite to sit with us; it is about the way we allow their company to affect us. The righteous do not follow the advice of those who should not be advisors; the righteous do not take the path they already understand leads to destruction…The ideas, the projects, and the rationalizations of the wicked are to be avoided.”
I doubt there isn’t a one of us who hasn’t found a situation in our life where we thought initially that someone we were “walking” with was just fine only to recognize somewhere in our journey that their influence was not leading us to be a better person. Bible commentator Matthew Henry offers a very illuminating insight into our Psalm1:1 three word lesson when he points out that, those who are not following God’s law are “ungodly first, casting off the fear of God and living in the neglect of their duty to Him.” Henry also states that most individuals don’t “hit the height of vice” all at once. They begin by ignoring God’s guidance and thinking it is possible to live without God, passing through life on their own steam. While this God-less behavior may not seem as dangerous as it is, it can lead to a slippery slope. As King Solomon penned in Proverbs 14: 12, “There is a way which seems right to a man and appears straight before him, but at the end of it is the way of death.”
Pastor Thomas Brookes in his farewell sermon focused on the topic of “Godliness”. In Legacy 26 he stated: “Walk by no rule but such as you dare die by and stand by in the great day of Jesus Christ…Walk not by a multitude, for who dares stand by that rule? Do not take any authority that stands in opposition to the authority of Christ.”
“Lord, this is our desire, to walk along the path of life that You have appointed us, in steadfastness of faith, in lowliness of heart, in gentleness of love.”
As I Go On My Way
“My life shall touch a dozen lives before this day is done
Leave countless marks for good or ill ‘ere sets this evening sun.
Shall fair or foul its imprint prove, on those my life shall hail?
Shall blessing my impress be, or shall a blight prevail?
When to the last great reckoning the lives I meet must go,
Shall this ever, fleeting touch of mine have added joy or woe?
Shall He who looks their records o’er – of name and time and place
Say ‘Here a blessed influence came’ or ‘Here is evil’s trace’?
From out each point of contact of my life with other lives
Flows ever that which helps the one who for the summit strives,
The troubled souls encountered – does it sweeten with its touch,
Or does it more embitter those embittered overmuch?
Does love in every handclasp flow in sympathy’s caress?
Do those that I have greeted know a newborn hopefulness?
Are tolerance and charity the keynote of my song
As I go plodding onward with earth’s eager, anxious throng?
My life shall touch a million lives in some way ere I go
From this dear world of struggle to the land I do not know.
So this the wish I always wish, the prayer I ever pray:
Let my life help the other lives it touches by the way.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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