Scripture Text: Psalm 1:2-3
Have you heard about a Filipina OFW in Singapore who became a millionaire because she inherited millions of pesos after her employer included her in her will. My question is – Is she truly happy or blessed? What is really the true measure of success or being happy? Is there a thing a blessed or truly happy person?
Today, let me submit from the Word of God that there is such a one – a truly happy person.
We are going to look at Psalm 1 which some calls the “door” or the “KEY” to the understanding of the whole book. Let’s read Ps. 1:1-6. From this psalm, let me answer the following questions: “Who is the blessed person?” “When do we delight in God’s Word?” and “Why delight ourselves in God’s Word?”
A. Who is the truly happy person
1) He who distances himself from sinful men.
According to the psalmist, the truly happy person distances himself from sins. In other words, he avoids sins and sinful men. Let make it clear that the Bible does not teach that we, believers, are to separate ourselves from sinful men or not to mingle with sinners. The reason is plain – we are all sinful people! What the Bible teaches is that we are not to follow their sinful ways of the ungodly. Like the Lord, we are to hate sin but we are to love the sinners.
2) He who delights in God’s Law or Word.
Secondly, according to the author, a truly happy person delights in God’s Word. To “delight,” says, Webter’s Dictionary, is to “take pleasure” or “to give keen enjoyment” or to “give joy or satisfaction to.” Therefore, to delight in God’e Law/Word is to “take pleasure in the Word of God.” It is “to give keen enjoyment to the Word of God.” In simple words, it means we enjoy the Word. It is like your favorite desert or food. It has an alluring effect on you that you could not resist but eat it!
Now, the question is – How do we know if we are delighting in the Word? Or When do we delight in the Word? This leads us to our second point…
B. When do we delight in God’s Word
1) When we meditate on God’s Word.
First is when meditate on the Word of God. To “meditate” is to “engage in reflection or contemplation.” It is to “engage in mental exercise for the purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness.” It is to “ponder” or to “focus one’s thoughts on something.”
2) When we obey God’s Word.
Another proof that we are delighting in the Word is when we OBEY the Word. I am reading now the Gospel of Matthew and I was reading the other day the beginning of our Lord Jesus’ ministry and the Lord used a mighty man in the person of John the Baptist to announce the start of his public ministry. And crowds of people were coming to him to be baptized. But when he saw the Pharisees and Sadducees, he cried out to them:
But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming to watch him baptize,[c] he denounced them. “You brood of snakes!” he exclaimed. “Who warned you to flee God’s coming wrath? 8 Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. 9 Don’t just say to each other, ‘We’re safe, for we are descendants of Abraham.’ That means nothing, for I tell you, God can create children of Abraham from these very stones. 10 Even now the ax of God’s judgment is poised, ready to sever the roots of the trees. Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire. (Matt. 3:7-10)
Loving obedience, is the only true evidence that we, indeed, delight in God’s Word!
C. Why delight in God’s Word
Let me give you one very good reason why we need to delight in God’s Word. Because our Lord Jesus delighted in it and use it in His earthly life. He used the Bible when He was tempted by Satan before the start of His public ministry, in Matt. 4, Satan tried to stop Him by luring Jesus to give up His mission on this earth –to be our Savior. But listen to what He said and what He believe:
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'” Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'” (Matt. 4:4,7,10) “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” (Jn. 17: 17)
Jesus quoted Scripture when meeting the temptations of Satan. He also stated that the Bible is truth (John 17:17). Jesus often quoted Scripture as authority for the truth He was teaching. But let me show you now how our Lord Jesus regarded the Book of Psalms. In Luke 24:
He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” 45Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.
By placing the Book of Psalms at par with the Book Moses and the Prophets, the Lord regarded this book as a primary source of teaching about God and our Lord Jesus Christ.
Now, listen to what the Psalmist teaches as to why we need to delight in God’s Word.
1) You will live a productive life. First, you will be fruitful or productive.
“He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season…”
I want my life to be productive. I’m sure you do too? Can you see the picture or analogy that the author used? A fruit bearing tree. God wants you and me fruitful in this life. In terms of character –He wants us conformed to our Lord Jesus. In terms of good works – He wants us abounding in Good works in serving God …in winning the lost for Jesus…in sharing the Good News about Jesus…etc…We are a blessing to the Lord and others.
2) You will live a prosperous life.
Now, turn to Joshua and you will realize that most probably the author of Psalms got his idea or inspiration frpm Joshua. Look at ch. 1 and verse 8:
“Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. 7 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8 Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.
The question is – What or Who is the basis of measuring our success? According to the Lord God, the successful or prosperous person is a person of the Book or the Bible. A successful soldier, businessman, housewife, student, or whatever is your vocation, is a person of the Book. Like Joshua, it will give you wisdom and understanding in your life.
But let me gibe another reason why delight in the Word? Because this Book will change your life. Listen to this story…
Illustration: “A Clean Coal Basket!”
An old man lived on a farm in the mountains of eastern Kentucky with his young grandson. Each morning Grandpa was up early sitting at the kitchen table reading his Bible. His grandson wanted to be just like him and tried to imitate him in every way he could. One day the grandson asked, “Papa, I try to read the Bible just like you but I don’t understand it, and what I do understand I forget as soon as I close the book. What good does reading the Bible do?”
The Grandfather quietly turned from putting coal in the stove and replied, “Take this coal basket down to the river and bring me back a basket of water.” The boy did as he was told, but all the water leaked out before he got back to the house. The grandfather laughed and said, “You’ll have to move a little faster next time,” and sent him back to the river with the basket to try again. This time the boy ran faster, but again the basket was empty before he returned home. Out of breath, he told his grandfather that it was impossible to carry water in a basket, and he went to get a bucket instead. The old man said, “I don’t want a bucket of water; I want a basket of water. You’re just not trying hard enough,” and he went out the door to watch the boy
At this point, the boy knew it was impossible, but he wanted to show his grandfather that even if he ran as fast as he could, the water would leak out before he got back to the house. The boy again dipped the basket into river and ran hard, but when he reached his grandfather the basket was again empty. Out of breath, he said, “See Papa, it’s useless!” “So you think it is useless?” The old man said, “Look at the basket.” The boy looked at the basket and for the first time realized that the basket was different. It had been transformed from a dirty old coal basket and was now clean, inside and out. “Son, that’s what happens when you read the Bible. You might not understand or remember everything, but when you read it, you will be changed, inside and out. That is the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.”
The Word of God can change you and me! The Bible says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17. The changed lives of those who follow Jesus and obey Scripture constitute the most heartwarming proof of Bible inspiration. The drunkard becomes sober; the immoral, pure; the addicted, free; the profane, reverent; the fearful, courageous; and the rude, kind.
Illustration: “Cannibal Turned Christian!”
I remember the story of an American skeptic was visiting an island whose natives were originally cannibals. When he spotted an old man reading the Bible, he ridiculed him for reading a book “full of myths which had already been exposed.” The native smiled at him and said, “My friend, be grateful we do believe this book. Otherwise, we would be serving you for dinner.” The Bible really does change people, and this amazing fact confirms its inspiration.
LET’S US ALL LEARN FROM THE PSALMIST TODAY – LET’S DELIGHT OURSELVES IN THE LORD AND HIS WORD!
Searching for happiness is impossible in this life. The reason is because the Lord did not mean for us to look for happiness in this life, but He wants you and me to KNOW HIM, that is, to trust Him and obey His Word. The Lord wants His Word alive in our hearts and practice in our daily living. Delight in the Lord and His Word–This is the pathway to true success and everlasting happiness. God Bless!
This message was delivered by Dr. Val Natcher AT ECMI in 2010