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In this passage, the character and condition, and the present and future destiny, of both the pious and the wicked are described and contrasted.  This is teaching that true piety is the source of ultimate happiness, and sin is the source of misery.  This is a pretty good summary of the teachings of the entire book of Psalms.  This Psalm forms a good preface to the entire book.

Most people look at this Psalm, and for that matter, look at most passages in Scripture, and they have a tendency to look at it as comparing those who are either lost or saved; they will look at the ungodly in this Psalm as someone who is lost.  They’re in error when they look at it that way.  I think it’s much more appropriate to look at this as if we’re looking at an ungodly or wicked saved person, because a child of God could go to a person that is saved and that is no guarantee that he will receive the counsel and advice that he should receive.  I want you to look at this Psalm in that light, because obviously, if you are saved, you know you should not take counsel or advice from someone who is not saved.  And failing to recognize that a saved person could still be ungodly could lead you into grievous error.  It is the attitudes and thoughts that define whether a person is godly or ungodly, not simply whether or not they are saved.

Verse 1 says, “Blessed”, or literally, it says, “oh, the happiness”; this is an exclamation of strong emotion, as if resulting from deep reflecting or meditating on the subject.  This expression is in the plural, and the use of the plural denotes fullness and variety.

But, it says, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.”  You can see a clear digression here; a gradation of evil:  Walking, standing, and then sitting.  Last week, we looked at the illustration of when you go into a bookstore, you can pass by the magazines that aren’t good for you.  Then, you walk around by them again, and then you are standing.  Then, you would start looking at the good magazines, but gaze at some of the magazines you know you should not be looking at.  The bookstore does not like it at all when you sit down and start reading the magazines.  I think this is a good way to look at the first verse.

Obviously, a person who is a child of God should not go up to a prison and look for counsel and wisdom from inmates.  The man who wants to walk after God’s heart could go to someone who is saved, but that person may not have the life you have, and that is the key.  If you know truths pertaining to the coming Kingdom, Scriptures tell you that you have eyes to see and ears to hear.  When you go to someone who doesn’t have eyes to see and ears to hear, you are not going to get the counsel you really need.  It’s like the saying about the blind leading the blind.  It makes a real difference from whom you get counsel, when you seek it.  Many, many people that have known Kingdom truths have moved away from those truths because they have received the wrong counsel from people who have good intentions!

The godly person is not going to follow or march in the advice of the wicked.  The word translated here as “ungodly” could be translated “wicked”, as it is 249 out of 263 times in the KJV (ungodly only 8).  It’s someone who is morally wrong.  The word “walketh” has to do with “following” or “marching” after the way of the advice of the ungodly.  If you are blessed and want to lose that blessing, all you have to do is follow the counsel of the ungodly.

“Those who stand in the way of sinners…”  Standing has to do with continuing, standing, staying there and continuing to listen to the counsel of sinners.  If you stand in the way of sinners, you are not going to continue in the lifestyle of the godly.  The word “sinners” in this verse can be translated “offenders”.  “Woe unto them who offend the little children.”  [Mark 9:42:  And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.]  What do the offenders do?  The offenders cause people to stumble and quit, and that’s what the counsel of a well-meaning person can cause another one to do.  You have to be careful, because you are held accountable for your actions.  But, here we find that the way or the lifestyle of the offenders can cause people to go astray.

“Nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful…”  The word translated here as “sitteth” has to do with sitting as a judge.  In other words, you have embraced the counsel, you are one of the offenders now, and therefore you are now considered a judge.  The word “scornful” is also translated as “mockers”, “interpreters”, or “teachers”.  In other words, if you stand in the way of the offenders long enough, you are going to begin to teach the wrong counsel.  The man of God who is blessed is not going to get himself involved with this sort of thing.  This is where bringing your thoughts into captivity comes into play.

[2 Corinthians 10:4-5; keep your place in Psalm 1 marked.]  What are the strongholds?  The strongholds are the advice of people who are well meaning.  The strongholds are the ways of those who are well meaning.  The stronghold is being included in the ways and lifestyle of the teacher that is giving you the wrong counsel.  You need to cast down imagination and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God.

That is something that needs to be important in your life!  You don’t need to be concerned with the imaginations or the high things or the high opinions of others.  You need to be more interested in the knowledge of God, because it tells us here that that is what stands.  High opinions and high thoughts of man are not going to stand.  Take the Word of God, take the Scriptures, and bring your thoughts into captivity, put your thoughts behind bars, so to speak, so you will not be led astray by some other person, whether that person is truly wicked and ungodly, or just a well-meaning child of God.

[Isaiah 33:6] tells us that wisdom and knowledge will provide you with stability.  Where do you find true wisdom and knowledge?  Right here.  Wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability and strength of salvation and the fear of the Lord will be our treasure.  You can have all the knowledge of the Bible, but if there is no fear of the Lord there, what good is it going to do you?  The fear of the Lord is essential and one of the things that will help you have the fear of the Lord is giving.  Giving of our means provides us with the fear of the Lord.  The fear of the Lord is truly a treasure that we all need to cherish.

[Psalm 119:1]  I just want mention this verse, because here we are told that it is the law of the Lord that will bless us and keep us undefiled in our walk with the Lord.

[Matthew 6:13]  Another characteristic of the blessed man of God is that he prays.  This passage fits into the practices of a blessed person of God.  The key phrase is, “deliver us from evil.”  Literally, deliver us from the wicked.  Deliver us from the counsel, way, and seat of the evil and wicked one.  Deliver us from the one who offends us.

The word translated as “evil” is interesting.  It is literally, “the evil one”.  It can possibly refer to the devil, but generally, it refers to the evil person who seeks to do us ill, whoever he may be.  The word “ponEros” is curious in that it comes from “ponos”, which means “toil” and “poneO”, which means “to work”.  It reflects the idea that either work is bad, or this particular work is bad, and so the bad idea drives out the good in work or toil.  This is a perfect example of human depravity.

Psalm 1 helps us understand the thought of being delivered from the evil one in Matthew 6:13.  What is at stake if we take the counsel of the wicked?  What can we lose out on?  Ruling and reigning with the Lord Jesus Christ!  That’s what is at stake if we take the wrong counsel!  When it says, “Thine is”, this is, of course, a reference to God.  Thine is the Kingdom.  Thine is the Power.  Thine is the Glory!

When it comes to power, it is His power that we need, and that power is the power of the resurrection!  The ones who are believing (present tense; those who are living faithful lives), those are the ones who need to know the exceeding greatness of power to us-ward who believe, as Scripture tells us in Ephesians 1:19-22.

Thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory!  God has a glory, but a Christian can also have glory.  What is the glory for a child of God?  We have the hope of glory.  Do we hope that we are saved?  You should know that you are saved!  [Acts 16:31]  But, the hope of glory has to do with the hope of ruling and reigning in the coming Kingdom.  It’s the hope of ruling in the millennial age!  We need to be seeking first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness!

There seemed to be some confusion as to the meaning of “hope” last week, and what it references.  Vol. 4: Analytical lexicon of the Greek New Testament, from Baker's Greek New Testament library, by Friberg, Friberg, and Miller, Louw and Nida’s Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament : Based on semantic domains (Vol. 1, Page 295), from the United Bible societies, Liddell and Scott’s Greek-English Lexicon, Moulton’s Analytical Greek Lexicon, The Greek and English Lexicon to the New Testament by Greene, and the Bauer, Danker, Arndt, and Gingrich’s A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (also known as the BDAG for short), all of which are considered standards in the field of Greek Lexicons, define the verb form as “to look forward to something, with implication of confidence about something coming to pass, to hope, or to hope for; to look forward to something in view of the measures one takes to ensure fulfillment; expect”.  The noun form is defined as, “the looking forward to something with some reason for confidence respecting fulfillment, hope, expectation, that which is the basis for hoping, foundation of hope, that for which one hopes, something hoped for”.  (These definitions are actually from the BDAG, but all the definitions are along these lines; I have the full list quoted above, if you want them later.)

Hope means to look forward with confidence to that which is good and beneficial; to hope, to hope for, hope.  Some examples can be found in Luke 24:21, which says, “and we had hoped that he would be the one who was going to redeem Israel”; 1 Timothy 4:10, which says, “because we have placed our hope in the living God”; Acts 23:6 in which Paul says, “I am on trial (here) because I hope that the dead will rise to life”; Romans 15:4:  “in order that through patience and encouragement given by the Scriptures we might have hope.”

Hope means to expect, with the implication of some benefit; to expect, to hope.  In Luke 6:34, we find [Luke 6:34-35].  An example using “that which is hoped for” can be found in Romans 8:24, which says, “when what is hoped for is seen, there is no longer any need to hope”.  The word can be used to reference that which constitutes the cause or reason for hoping; the basis for hope, the reason for hope.  1 Thessalonians 2:19 says, “for who is the basis for our hope or joy?”  This expression in 1 Thessalonians 2.19 may be rendered as, “for who is the one who causes us to hope and to have joy [to be happy]?”

[Colossians 1]  Colossae, which was destroyed by an earthquake not too long after this epistle was written was a city of Phrygia on the Lycus, the tributaries of which brought a calcareous deposit of a peculiar kind that choked up the streams and made arches and fantastic grottoes.  Despite this, the valley was extremely fertile, and there were two other prosperous cities in the same valley about a dozen miles away, one of which was Laodicea.  The church at Colossae was the least important of any of the churches to which Paul’s letters were addressed, but he had no greater message for any church than the one he gives here.  There is no message today that is more important for modern man.  No matter how insignificant you are in the eyes of others, don’t ever think you’re insignificant in God’s eyes.  After all, he sent his son to die for you.

[Colossians 1:27:  the glory]  To whom is this verse referencing?  Well, look with me in [verses 1-2:  Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timotheus our brother, To the saints and faithful [believing] brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ].  This epistle is addressed to the saints (the separated or holy ones; you can tell them by their actions) and the believing brethren.  It’s talking to those who are living obedient, Christian lives.  [Verses 3-6]

This is not addressed to all Christians, and it says they have this agape love for all the saints because of this hope that is laid up for them in heaven.  Galatians 5:6 tells us that faith works by love, and in this passage here in Colossians, the basis of their love that they are demonstrating is found in the hope that is set before them.

But, verse 9 says that they are praying for them, so that [verse 10:  That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful [present, active, participle] in every good work, and increasing [growing; present, passive, participle] in [or by means of] the knowledge [epignosis; knowledge upon knowledge; deeper knowledge] of God;]

[Verse 12:  Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet [competent] to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:]  This is talking about our inheritance; it’s a family matter; it’s an allotment.

[Verse 22-23:  In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;]  If ye continue; it’s doing something.  Our salvation is not dependent upon works, thank God, for our best is nothing but filthy rags before God!

[Verse 26-27:  Even the mystery [secret; has to do with initiation] which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory glorious riches of this mystery (Paul’s gospel) among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:]  This mystery has been hid; it was concealed from ages and from generations.  Was salvation a mystery?  No!  But this mystery is now made manifest to his saints.  It was made manifest to those who were already saved; those who were living holy, separated lives!  This mystery is not being made manifest to lost people; it’s being made manifest to those who have eyes to see and ears to hear!

[1 Thessalonians 4:13-14]  Once again, he is speaking to brethren, and in speaking to brethren, he is not speaking to all Christians; he is speaking to dedicated Christians.  He is speaking to the beloved brethren or the elect, which is found in chapter 1 of this book.  He is speaking to those who are interested in doing the will of the father.  And those who are interested in doing the will of the father are those who are interested in ruling and reigning with Christ; entering the kingdom.

To help us understand what he’s saying, turn with me to [Matthew 7].  Matthew 12:50 tells us that brethren are those who do the will of the father; they are obedient.  [Matthew 7:21]  So, in 1 Thessalonians, Paul is addressing those who are interested in ruling and reigning with the Lord Jesus Christ; they are the ones who have hope.

They hope that they will stand approved before the Lord Jesus Christ.  They have a hope of glory; they have a hope of sharing in the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ in the coming Kingdom.  But, many have taken the words of the Bible and have changed their meaning.  Many say that hope is a sure thing, and that’s just simply not the case.  That contradicts Greek scholars, Greek lexicons, and most importantly, it contradict Scripture.

[Luke 23:8-9; we see Herod judging Jesus and it says…]  We see Herod’s desire is successful.  He desired to see Jesus, and he did!  But when he hoped to see a miracle, that hope failed.  Hope in the Bible is not a sure thing.  We also have in Acts 24:26, which says, “He (Felix) hoped also that money should have been given him of Paul, that he might loose him: wherefore he sent for him the oftener, and communed with him.”  Felix released Paul in the hopes that he might receive money, and he didn’t receive it.  Hope is not a sure thing.

[Hebrews 10:22]  Assurance.  Some things are a sure thing.  Turn back with me a couple of pages to [Hebrews 6:11].  Works.  If you show diligence, you may be assured of this hope and you may be assured that it has been laid up for you.  It’s not salvation; salvation itself is assured, and it is not acquired by works.  Works have to do with being faithful.  Hebrews 11:1 tells us, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”  There’s no assurance that we will be faithful.  To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of the glory:”

What is the hope of a Christian?  It’s the hope of the glory; it’s the hope of ruling and reigning with the Lord Jesus Christ; it has to do with the coming Kingdom.  And that’s what the man in [Psalm 1] is seeking. 

[Psalm 1:1, 2]  Verse 2 defines whom the godly are; it tells us the lifestyle of the godly.  It says that, “his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.”  The word “delight” has to do with purpose, pleasure, and desire.  His purpose, pleasure, and desire are found in the Word of God.  He meditates in that word day and night.

The word “meditate” is translated several different ways.  One way is “mutter”.  How do you think that could apply?  When I’m thinking about my lessons, or a particular passage of Scripture, you could say that I mutter.  (My wife actually says that I talk to myself.)  No matter what I’m doing, I can go over these things in my mind; I can mutter them to myself.

You can “roar” them out!  You can learn Scripture by preaching them.  Say them out loud to your family and put emotion into the verses.

You can “imagine”.  To imagine is to muse or think about what is in the Scriptures that you are meditating upon.

You can “study”.  You can “mourn”.  What does it mean to mourn the law of the Lord?  Well, what is happening when you are mourning the loss of someone?  It is emotion; feeling.  When you are meditating upon the Word of God, are there emotions involved?  There definitely should be emotions stirred within your heart when you are meditating upon the Word of God!  Notice the difference between New Age meditation and biblical mediation:  In one, you are to empty your mind, opening it to all sorts of evil and demonic influences.  In the other, you are to fill your mind with the things of God.

When you are meditating on the Word of God, it is amazing when things come to you and open up understanding in your heart and mind that you did not have before.  Sometimes, you can look at a passage that you’ve read countless times before, such as the story of the rich young ruler.  I’ve actually heard it taught that he had so much money that he did not want to get saved.  Well, one time, I was reading along with the person who was teaching this, when I realized that the rich young ruler was “just”, but he did not want to live by “faith”.  He kept the commandments.  He was just, but giving everything away was just more than he wanted to do.

When you give away all you have, what do you have to start doing?  You have to start living by faith; you have to trust God for your needs.  This man did not want to do that.

I was sitting in that church, a church that taught that salvation was not based on works, and being taught that this man was lost because of works.  It was contradictory.  I was meditating upon that passage, when the truth jumped out and smacked me in the head.

Sometimes, when the Lord shows you something that you have been meditating upon, it is like an earthquake and it can happen at any time.  Meditation helps us to think on the things of God, and helps bring our thoughts into captivity unto the obedience of Jesus Christ.  When your mind wanders, get into the Scriptures and start reading and meditating and force yourself to think on things that are right, pure, and clean.  During the night, when you can’t sleep, where do your thoughts turn?  Turn them to the Word of God.  You can make the decision to work on your life and attitude to help you have peace.

[Psalm 119:15-16]  Notice the “I wills” in these verses.  “I will meditate”, “I will delight”, “I will not forget”…  That is determination!  Think about Ezra. 

[Ezra 7:10]  You can’t do that without commitment, dedication, and preparation.  There is no debate about “hiding thy word in my heart that I might not sin against the.”  If you are debating about whether you should meditate upon the Word; if you can’t make up your mind; you are not determined.  You are not committed.  Ezra “prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach”.  A lot of people today prepare in their hearts to seek the law of the Lord, and to teach it, but they will do it at a more convenient time.

Notice in this verse that “doing” comes last.  You can teach a lot of theory without practice, and that is what happens many times.

[Psalm 19]  This passage tells us what the Word of God will do for a godly man.  In verse 7, the law of the Lord is perfect or entire and complete.  [Psalm 19:7]  You don’t need anything else.

Now, if your ankle is broken, or you have cancer, you do need a physician.  There are many times when you do seek a physician.  Jesus said that it is the sick that need a physician.  Asa, a king of Judah, in 2 Chronicles 16:12, we are told that he had a bad case of athletes foot.  It says that Asa was diseased in his feet and the disease became exceeding great.  “And in his disease he sought not to the Lord, but to physicians.”  There are times when the counsel of God is to go see a physician.  If your leg is broken, you don’t have to pray very long about what to do.  A physician can restore your broken body.

Well, this first verse tells us the law of the Lord converts or restores the soul or the lifestyle.  It is the soul where we make decisions.  It’s the soul where you make the decision to turn to the right or the left or continue straight ahead.  The Word of God restores you back to the right path.