120826 Psalm 1:1-6

Last Updated on Thursday, 30 August 2012 Written by Pastor Schmidt

Text: Psalm 1:1 – 6
Theme: Where Are You Walking?

1 Blessed 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. 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. 3 He 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. 4 Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away. 5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. 6 For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

In one of his better known poems entitled "The Road Not Taken" the American poet, Robert Frost, wrote this:
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

The point of this poem is that there are choices that we make throughout our life. And we don't always have to "follow the crowd" as we make those choices. As we think about the choices that we make in life, as Christians we know that one choice we can't make is choosing to believe in Jesus Christ as our one and only Savior from sin. Faith in Jesus as our Savior is a free gift, given to us by God the Holy Spirit. As we are told in Ephesians chapter 2, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast." While it is the power of God's Word that places us on the path to eternal life, we are able to choose whether or not we will stay on that path. God's Word before us this morning gives us an opportunity to think about our walk through this time of grace the Lord has given to each of us. Thinking about your life, and the direction of your life today, how would you answer the question, "Where are you walking?"

First, the Lord tells us in his Word not to spend our time walking through this life with those who will lead us away from him. As we read in the opening verse of Psalm 1, "Blessed is the man (the person) who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers." When we first read these words we are led to confess that we are the "wicked", the "sinners", the "mockers" mentioned here. Each one of us is guilty of sin. But, by God's grace, we also know that we are declared "Not Guilty" of our sins. All of our sins are freely forgiven through our Savior, Jesus Christ. The perfect life and the innocent suffering and death of Jesus made us forgiven children of our Father in heaven. As his forgiven children, we then read this first verse from the first Psalm and ask ourselves, "With whom are we able to walk through this life? Aren't all people sinners?" Yes, it is true that all people are conceived and born into this world in sin. But the group of people that are spoken of here in Psalm One are those who have chosen to walk through life down the path of unbelief. They have no relationship with the one and only true God. And Satan would love to have us follow after them. At times, the life of those who ignore God during their lifetime may seem like it so much more fun than a believer's life. But, we are told in God's Word that a day of judgment for the wicked who ignore the Savior-God is coming. Here in Psalm One we are told that the wicked "are like chaff that the wind blows away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous...the way of the wicked will perish."

Where are you walking these days? This portion of God's Word gives us the opportunity to think about the kind of people we spend time with on a regular basis. Whom do you call your friends? What types of people do you spend most of your time with? Are they helping you to make bad choices? Are they pressuring you into doing, saying and thinking those things that go against God's will in your life? Are they leading you down the path of unbelief? If you are spending time with someone like this, the most important thing you can do for this person is show them their sins. Use the Law of God's Word to proclaim the fact that a Judgment Day is coming. Use the Gospel of God's Word to share with them the Good News of Jesus Christ their one and only Savior from sin. But what if you have shared God's Word with someone, and yet they continue to act in ways that are contrary to what you know to be right from Scripture. What can you do? God's Word would encourage you to walk away from them; to find new friends and new people to spend your time with. My dear Christian friends, for the sake of your own spiritual welfare, give prayerful and serious thought about those people you are walking with, and the path that you are walking on with those people. If they are leading you away from your Savior, pray that the Holy Spirit would make you more and more willing to take the path less traveled by.

Evil is all around us. Satan is working hard to get us to choose the wrong path in life. Where are we able to find the strength and the motivation to stay on the right path? Remembering that it is our gracious God who placed on that right path to begin with, we turn to the place where our God comes to us and speaks to us: his Word. The Lord God promises us that he will bless us as we spend time reading and studying our Bibles. As we read in Psalm One, the person who is blessed is the one whose "delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night." What are some of the blessings that God's Word offers to us? We read that the person who spends regular time in God's Word 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." It is in Galatians chapter five that we read this, "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." As we spend time in God's Word, and read the Good News of our forgiveness through Jesus Christ, this Good News fills our hearts with a desire to follow the path in life that is pleasing to the Lord.

God's Word also assures us that as we travel the path of our life, "the LORD watches over the way of the righteous..." The Good News for you and me is that walking through this life, we are not alone. We have Christian friends and family who are walking with us and giving us their love and support. But the greatest comfort for us in knowing that the loving Savior-God is always watching over us. Later in the book of Psalms, in Psalm 46, we read these Words of comfort from our Lord's Word, "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day...The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress...'Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.' The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress." Where are you walking? Rejoice that your loving, Savior-God is walking with every step of the way.

Where are you walking? What Robert Frost wrote is true: life is filled with choices. Pray that God the Holy Spirit would lead you to the choice of spending more and more into his Word. For it is in God's Word that you will find the strength to stand up to those whose goal it is to lead you down the path that leads you away from your Savior. It is God's Word that will lead you through this life to make the God-pleasing choices, so that your walk down the path of this life is a walk that gives all praise and thanks to your Savior-God. Because it is God's Word that proclaims to you the Good News of your forgiveness through Jesus, your Savior. It is in God's Word that you will hear the Good News that your loving Lord and Savior, Jesus, is walking hand-in-hand with you each step of your journey through this life, and promises to carry you to your place at his side in heaven. Amen.

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Compelled by the love of Christ, St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and School seek to reach out to our families, community and world, using Law and Gospel to make disciples, growing and nurturing them in their Christian faith and life.

 

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