Scripture Reading; Psalms 1
“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. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.
We learn something about ‘Understanding the Kingdom’ from Brother Winston last Sunday. We are told that the Kingdom consisted of the King and his domain. The kingdom is the governing influence of the King within a territory. It also consisted of the implementation of the Law. Everything is owned by the King. All the land, all the resources and all the subjects are owned by this King. YHWH is our King. So, the whole earth is owned by the King. He has the sovereignty over all. Once this earth was under the control of Satan. But when Jesus Christ came, he says, ‘The Kingdom is here.’ That is why Christ taught ‘Thy Kingdom Come.’ This King is ELOHIM and YHWH. When we become the child of God, we have the DNA of God. We should rule and reign with him. Actually, we are called Christ’s ambassador. The youth organization of The Assembly of God is known as Christ’s Ambassador. Christianity is not a religion but a kingdom. We have spiritual authority and legal control. As Christ’s ambassador we are highly favored. We have the anointing. We come into the Kingdom chosen by God. Winston quoted Psalms 65:4 which says, ‘Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causesth to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple.’ We are called the Kingdom Man within this Kingdom.
A bible commentator says Psalms 1 describes the Kingdom man. It defines his character, his influence, his conduct and his destiny. What is this kingdom man like? Psalms 1 is addressed not to all humans but to the Kingdom man; God’s covenanted people. This Psalms is not for the people outside of this church. We are given two select group of people and both are the Kingdom people. There is a group that is good but there is another group that is bad. These people know YHWH’s revelation but some have chosen to ignore it. The second group of people is still the Kingdom man but chose to ignore it. What is this Kingdom man like?
1. He is blessed
Psalms 1:1 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.’
The word ‘blessed’ mean ‘happy’, ’honored’ or ‘well off’. The word ‘blessed’ is plural; a Hebrew way to denote all the blessings of God. He has all the blessings of God. He is like what the man who said to his elder son, ‘All I have belongs to you’. I think Christians have allowed the devil to hammer us, attack us, lie to us, belittle us, made us so small until we forgot who we really are. No human can be happy apart from God. We are created by Him and for Him. Until our relationship with our Creator is vibrant (now that is the secret), all other areas of physical life cannot bring true, lasting happiness. ! I just read recently that a man can pursue even community works, good works, philanthropic endeavors but he will still come out empty if he does not have a vibrant relationship with God. Now the Christian world today is emphasizing this new Paradigm: success with significance. The market place Christian can be successful but at the end of the day, he will feel empty. Therefore, he has to go from success to significance. He will undertake philanthropic works, giving to medical missions, building schools, undertake community projects, etc. But I just realize that even if you undertake all these activities which the philanthropic people of this world has been doing, you will still come out empty if you don’t have a vibrant relationship with YHWH. King Solomon is the best example. I mean he undertook great construction works, improving the welfare of his citizens, he went into educational pursuit and was wise even in his counselling to others. But at the end of it all, he called all this vanity. To put it simply, you cannot be happy without God. So, the Kingdom man is a blessed man. This is because the Kingdom man has a relationship with God
2. His Observable Characteristics
Psalms 1:1 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.’
His relationship with God has observable characteristics.
He ‘walk not in the counsel of the ungodly.’ The word ‘ungodly’ is translated as ‘wicked’ in the NASB. ‘Walk’ speaks of one’s lifestyle associates. Who are your associates in life? Do a mental scan right now of al your earthly associates; people closest to you. Remember, Psalms 1 is addressed to all people within the Kingdom of God. What I am trying to say is that even Christians are classified as ungodly. We are not to associate with Christians that are ungodly. So, are they part of your earthly associates? Your associates determine your lifestyle. Birds of the same feather flock together. You are who you mix around with. This emphasis on lifestyle is reinforced by the use of the verbs ‘walk’, ‘stand’ and ‘sit’. We are affected by the group to which we belong, our peers; even within the church. The term ‘wicked’ refers not only to active ‘law breaker’ but also to those who leave God out of their lives. Are you a habitual law breaker? I remember in the early days when we were here, we are quite close to a mestiza family. The woman closest to us is Elena Gonzales. She had some of the most handsome and beautiful children I have ever seen. Finally, she did become a grandmother because her daughter got married and gave birth to a boy. Wow he was such a handsome child. When we were in the house; being active as he is, Elena would constantly say to him; ‘you must not be lawless’. And he seemed to understand the meaning. He must not break the rules around. Some of us, even when we are in the Kingdom of God, we are habitual law breaker; lawless that YHWH cannot control. You are a kingdom man but you leave God out of your life. You will be good for a season but then you will be back to your law-breaking lifestyles. YHWH even says that your earthly associates should not include these people because they will influence you. The word ‘walk’ has a reference to lifestyle. You are not to have their lifestyle or even be influenced by them. Psalms 5:4 says, ‘For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee.’ My emphasis is ‘evil shall not dwell with YHWH.’ No evil man will have a permanent abode with God. So no evil man can have a permanent home in the heavenlies one day.
The ‘way of sinners’ is translated as ‘the path of sinners.’ In the root meaning the word ‘path’ is ‘way’. Again, another term used for lifestyle. In the earthly New Testament Church the faithful follows were first described as people of the ‘way’. This implies biblical faith is more than an assent to a doctrine or participation in a ritual but also lifestyle obedience and person relationship. Christianity is not about taking the step of water baptism and thinking you are sealed for heaven because of that. There are many that took the step of water baptism and after they are nowhere to be found. Christianity is not about kneeling at the back of the church and crawl all the way to the front on the knees. Christianity is not even about the Holy Spirit baptism. Christianity is not about observing Good Friday, Easter Sunday and Christmas. That is why Jesus came and do away with all the traditions leaving behind only water baptism and communion. Christianity involves a relationship and this relationship is manifested in one’s lifestyle.
He ‘sat not in the seat of the scornful’. Scornful people are scoffers. Scoffers have all the predispositions (tendencies, penchants, biases) about life. They are conditioned to think negatively and pessimistically about life. Please don’t think that this attitude is not a big issue. It is a very big issue. It is such a big issue that God says to the children of Israel that they cannot enter the Promised Land because of unbelief. And Scoffers represents an irreligious pessimist. This person is actually a faithless follower. You follow God but you are faithless and you scorn and are pessimistic with everything concerning God’s way and God’s law. Actually the scoffers are mockers. Are you a very negative person toward your religion and your God? You are continually pessimistic towards things of God. This is a scoffer. This scoffer is not one outside the church but one found in the church.
3. His delights
Psalms 1:2-3 says, ‘But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of waters, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.’
There seem to be a progression of time elements in these two verses concerning the Kingdom man. The Kingdom man is that person overnight. It is over a period of time. The way Psalms 1 is written, it seems to imply a long period; decades. We have a perfect verb used in verse 1 that denotes past time; a reference to how this person had lived. What had been his delight in the past? We also have the imperfect verse in verse 2 that denotes current time; how this person lives every day now. Then we have verse 3 which denotes future times: how this person’s future condition will be like: blessedness and expected fruitfulness. Actually, this is a reference to his destiny.
He delights in the Law of the LORD. The term ‘law’ means ‘teaching’. The Law has always a reference to the general teachings of God, not just the writings of Moses (Ten Commandments). The Law is not a burden to this person but the very revelation of YHWH for longevity, peace, security, joy and abundance. The word ‘LORD’ or YHWH signifies this person has a covenanted relationship with God. ‘He meditates day and night’ describes a soft reading of YHWH’s revealed truths. It is said that the ancients did not read silently; so it must be a quiet reading with a soft voice coming out of the mouth The Hebrew word for mediate is ‘hagah’ which means ‘to murmur’ or ‘read aloud’ But this meditation is more than soft reading. Another word is also used. It is to muse; to think in silence. When God speaks to you through the word, you think in silence over it; you reflect the word on your own life, circumstances, situation that happens to you. Are you excited about what God has to tell you in your next devotion? That is delight. For a period of time, I really look forward to my next devotion. Because I feel that there is some new things that YHWH wants to reveal and talk to me. What do you meditate on when you have your soft reading? What is the meditation of this Kingdom Man?
a. Meditating on YHWH’s teachings
b. Meditating on YHWH Himself
c. Meditating on YHWH’s deeds
d. Meditating on terror.
I was very convicted when I come to this portion of scripture. Our thought life is the seed bed for our actions. Some of us have to ask God to forgive us and deliver us from our mind that conceive iniquity. The mind that dwells on iniquity. We are planning and conceiving how to do wrong in our mind; committing fornication, adultery, stealing, killing, coveting on someone or something that doesn’t belong to us. Our mind is not sanctified and it has taken root and you are constantly dreaming of a certain thing which you will do that is wrong and wicked. You got to ask God to take out that root of wickedness that is implanted so deeply in your mind and constantly you dwell on them and you forgot it is wrong. Only the blood of Jesus can cleanse you and the power of the Holy Spirit can pluck out that root of wickedness that dwell in your mind.
But this Kingdom man is different. He mediates on the general teachings of God as well as the Mosaic Law. He meditates on the greatness of God; the faithfulness of God. He meditates on the acts of God and the judgment of God. This verse emphasizes the principle of continually keeping God and His will in our consciousness. The ungodly man is different. They leave God out of their lives. They get up in the morning, never turn to God in prayer, never thank Him for the food they eat or life or health. They just keep moving right along, living it up. They are ungodly – they just leave God out.
What will happen to this Kingdom man? Whatever he does he shall prosper. The fruitful tree is a symbol of strength and prosperity. However, this psalms also implies that this kingdom man, like all people was not originally a fruitful believer. Maturity takes time, effort and especially the grace of God. He is transplanted from rebellion into blessedness. ‘River of water’ talks about the power of the Kingdom man and the permanency of the Kingdom man.
4. His knowledge of the ungodly man
Psalms 1:4 says, ‘The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.’
The ungodly man is so different. I think all of you must have seen the husk of grain or rice. After the milling, the chaff is detached from the grain. They are left on the ground, useless. A strong wind would blow and they easily are blown away. I go to the outstation often in the early years of my ministry. During harvesting time, I would notice a milling truck would stop by rice fields where sacks of palay are harvested. Then I would see the husks are blown away by the wind as the grain is being winnowed. The life of the ungodly is like chaff that are blown away. Chaff is a common biblical metaphor for that which is transitory, temporary or fleeting. There are two way to look at the judgment of the ungodly.
a. Temporal – no joy, no prosperity, early death
b. Eschatological – end time judgment scene, where one’s eternal destiny is revealed.
Psalms 1:5 says, ‘Therefore, the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. This verb ‘stand’ has the connotation of a legal setting. The sinners, the ungodly, the wicked, the scoffers will have:
a. No right to present their case
b. No right to even be present in court
c. No possible excuses
d. No hope for a positive judgment.
At the judgment individuals are responsible for their actions and will one day give an account to God. Finally, it says, ‘the way of the wicked will perish’. This has reference to ultimate destruction. There is a very catchy song that goes like this, ‘The way of the wicked He turned it upside down. The way of the wicked He turned it upside down.’ Perish means an eternal hell. If you study the bible carefully you will notice that most of the time when the wicked is mentioned, hell is emphaised. There is an afterlife. Sheol is a place of consciousness but no joy or praise. When the Psalmist says, the way of the wicked shall perish it has reference to Sheol; the realm of the dead. ‘Perish’ is characterized by:
a. A dark, gloomy place
b. A place of no return. It is said that there is a prison gate to Sheol. And those that enter can never return anymore
c. A place of no praise to God.
d. A place of silence
e. A place separated from God yet God is there.
In the Old Testament, the imagery of Sheol is
a. A vast cavern
b. A Stronghold
c. A dark wasteland
d. A huge beast with a large mouth
I conclude. The Kingdom Man is a privileged man, a fortunate man. That fact that you are found in this church, means that God knows you and has reached out to you. The Kingdom of God has come. The Kingdom of God needs the Kingdom Man. Be the Kingdom Man. I always believe that as we draw closer and closer to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, the disparity between the godly man or the ungodly man will be so distinct that it is easily recognizable. We have reached a point in this world that sins has abounded unbelievably. I was reading an article and it was saying that child sex exploitation has become such a big problem all over the world. UNICEF says that Philippines is the top global source of child pornography. United Nations says the situation in the Philippines is getting worse, not better as several children around the Philippines continue to participate in webcam ‘show’ where they earn P150 per appearance. And most of the time the culprits are the parents. You know how to counter this problem. The church must be filled with the Kingdom Man and when we are truly the Kingdom Man we are the source of hope and deliverance and answers to millions all over the world. The outsiders needs the real thing. We have the real thing. But sad to say many a times we are just hypocrites and that is why we are powerless and unable to influence. But the Kingdom man’s character, influence and conduct will influence his own calling but also the destiny of others. Be that Kingdom Man.