Rooted: Lessons in Faith and Prosperity

Job 40 – Psalm 21

Intro: This morning we are going to begin in a different way than we normally begin. This morning we are going to begin by reading Psalm 1 together out-loud. I’d like to invite you to find Psalm 1 out of your own Bible, I will be reading from the NKJV — but I’d like you to read it from your Bible this morning or from the Bible in the back of the Pews.

[Psa 1:1-6 NKJV] 1 Blessed [is] the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; 2 But his delight [is] in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. 3 He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper. 4 The ungodly [are] not so, But [are] like the chaff which the wind drives away. 5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. 6 For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, But the way of the ungodly shall perish.

Now before we get into this Psalm let me give a small overview of Psalms 1 — First, the author is of this Psalms is not mentioned like in other psalms where it specifically says it was is a Psalm of David. David wrote many Psalms and when we read from the book of Psalms we often think to ourselves that these are all the Psalms of David, but there are other authors who also wrote Psalms such as Asaph who wrote at least 12 different Psalms, or the Sons of Korah a group of levitical musicians and temple singers who wrote at least 11 different Psalms. Even king Solomon is credited with writing at least two different Psalms, Moses is credited with writing Psalms 90, and then you have Ethan the Ezrahite and Heman the Ezrahite both credited with writing one Psalm each.  

So we aren’t 100% sure who the author of this Psalm is, but when we read it we find that this

Psalm resembles when Moses divided Israel, six tribes on two different mountains — Mount

Gerizim was the mountain of blessing, and Mount Ebal was the mountain of cursing — and

Moses pronounced a blessing if God’s people followed His instructions, and a curse upon Israel if they departed from God’s instructions.  

And that is Psalms 1 — It’s a Psalm about the secret to blessings and cursings. In Psalms 1, there are:

  • Two Groups of People: (v5) the “ungodly” and the “Righteous”
  • For the Righteous, There are Two Blessings:
    • v1 – The Righteous are blessed by the things they avoid — 3 things are mentioned
    • v2 – The Righteous are blessed by meditating on God’s Word
  • Two Paths: (v6) the “Way of the Ungodly” and the “Way of the Righteous”
  • Two Conditions/Comparisons: (v4) “ungodly are like chaff” which is blown away (v3) and the “Righteous are like Trees” that are unmovable

Before we get into the details of Psalm 1 I want you to see the importance of this one vital point — There are only two paths: The Path of Life and the Path of Death and friends if there are only two paths, then the line between them is clear!

[Jer 21:8 NKJV] 8 “… Behold, I set before you the way of life and the way of death.”

and the reason I don’t want this point to slip by is because the cultural norm is to accept everyone’s decision as valid as if clear lines don’t exist — but the Bible message is

[Pro 14:12 NKJV] 12 There is a way [that seems] right to a man, But its end [is] the way of death.

This is the great overarching message of the first Psalm of the Bible — Don’t be blinded by this world into thinking that God hasn’t drawn clear lines about what is acceptable.

  • It was GOD who made them Male and Female — we don’t get to choose
  • It was GOD who said a Husband and Wife become one flesh — We don’t get to choose
  • It was GOD who labeled certain foods unclean to eat — We don’t get to choose
  • It was GOD who set apart the Seventh Day as holy — We don’t get to choose

We live in a world that looks at the lines which God has drawn as restrictive, legalistic, unfair — but when you take God at His word you realize that those lines represent LIFE and DEATH — BLESSINGS and A CURSE. These aren’t arbitrary lines, these aren’t unreasonable lines, the lines God draws in the sand are lines that will bring you eternal happiness and life. Jesus said:

[Mat 7:13-14 NKJV] 13 “… broad [is] the way that leads to destruction… narrow [is] the gate and difficult [is] the way which leads to life…”

Friends, if there are only two roads — The way of death and the way of life, we should be unashamed to label those roads. Don’t let the pressure of our liberal culture silence you and shame you for standing up for what is right. God says,

[Psa 94:16 NKJV] 16 Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? Who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity?

Now I’m not saying Christians should be obnoxious, but courage, zeal, and determination are just as much important Christian character traits as some of the more passive ones that have stolen the spotlight like love, patience, and tenderness — You need both in the Christian life but there are some circumstances that call for the stronger virtues.

The Bible commands Christians to

[Eph 5:11 NKJV] 11 …have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose [them].

This will take courage and strength to push against the cultural currents of our day, but if we believe there are only two paths, and one of those paths leads to destruction friends you will find the willpower, and determination to fight against the path of death, because your destiny, and your children’s destiny, and the destiny of this church depends on the courage to fight that fight.

and for those who are willing to fight for the path of righteousness Psalm 1 says that there is a blessing!

The word blessing is “Eser” and the connotation is “Happiness” — Happy is the man or woman who follows this path. Now that might not mean happy in the short term, as the path of God requires the fight we have been talking about — In the temporary moments of pushing for what is right, it can be painful, miserable, almost unbearable… But the end result is a joy that can be known no other way. The blessing, the “Eser”, is captured in the imagery of childbirth: [Jhn 16:21 NIV] 21 A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.

This is the blessing that is available to the righteous . The path of God isn’t the easy path. Don’t follow God if you believe it will save you from trials! But just because there are trials doesn’t mean there isn’t a blessing — Here are some of the blessings in the path of God: (1) Freedom from guilt (2) Forgiveness and Eternal Life (3) Harmony with God which brings His peace (4) Gifts of the Spirit, a calling, and a purpose for your life (5) Truth and a knowledge of the future — These and many other blessings are enjoyed by the Righteous.  

So Psalm 1 says “blessed” or “Happy” is this man or woman — and then it lists three things that the blessed avoid

  1. They avoid walking in ungodly counsel
  2. They avoid standing in the path of sinners
  3. They avoid sitting with the scornful

Let me go through these three briefly:

  • Don’t seek counsel from those who don’t follow God — Why not? Because they aren’t interested in eternal things

[1Co 1:18, 20 NKJV] 18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 20 Where [is] the wise? Where [is] the scribe? Where [is] the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?

The Righteous realize that they need to seek counsel that takes into consideration more than earthly progress. Your priority is heaven, which means you are willing to sacrifice things of earth if it means alignment with heaven.

for this reason the righteous can not walk in the counsel of the ungodly, nor can they stand in the path of sinners

  • The path of sinners is to act like, think like, and to practice the acceptable sins of our society.

A night at the bar, or bringing home the buzz

A night of netflix, streaming images that make angels blush

The off-colored jokes or crude comments

The petty theft of a low-cost item

The stretching of the truth to make the sale

A Righteous man or woman lives by their integrity and will not walk in the path of sinners, will not dance on the edge of evil, and will tiptoe or trifle with temptation — No, the Righteous are clear with themselves about which path if the path of life, and they make sure their feet are well within it ’s borders

  • and lastly, the Bible says the righteous avoid the seat of the scornful

What is the seat of the scornful? If you scorn at all, you certainly don’t scorn alone! The seat of the scornful, are those who sit together in little groups and criticize, tear down, talk bad, belittle, demean, blame or condemn others.

When we spend our time in gossip — wondering and speculating within our group about her or him. When we say things that will ruin the reputation and influence of a leader. Anytime we are engaged in criticism of our fellow members. It’s in those moments we are sitting in the seat of the scornful — relishing the attention we receive at the expense of another persons character.

If you want the blessing of the Lord, and want to be sure you are on the path of life, avoid these three:

  1. Ungodly Counsel
  2. The Path of Sinners
  3. The Seat of the Scornful

Here are some real world questions you can ask yourself to know if you are falling into any one of these three pits.

Ask yourself: Does the person giving me advice have eternity in mind? Do my actions, my thoughts or my words meet God’s approval? Is my conversation tearing someone down or building them up?

These questions will let you know if you are in the path of the ungodly, but you shouldn’t only avoid the path of the ungodly; you also need to actively seek the path of life.

That’s why Psalm 1 says that the righteous don’t just avoid the ungodly path, they also seek the godly path — and what is it that they seek?

[Psa 1:2 NKJV] 2 But his delight [is] in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.

God’s law provides the boundaries for the godly path. Now what is the “Law of the Lord”? Some read this as the Ten Commandments — but the “Law of the Lord” is actually a reference to the WORD OF GOD:

  1. The Word “Law” in Hebrew refers to more than the ten commandments

* The Hebrew word is Torah = which is the name ascribed to the first five books of the Old Testament (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy) but is a term also used to describe all of God’s instructions, even those outside of the first five books of the bible.

  1. “The Law of the Lord” is called a book:

[2Ch 17: 9 NKJV] 9 So they taught in Judah, and [had] the Book of the Law of the LORD with them; they went throughout all the cities of Judah and taught the people.

This was one of the acts of Jehoshaphat, who commissioned teachers to go all over the land and teach the people.

  1. “The Law of the Lord” gives instruction regarding sacrifices

[2Ch 31:3 NKJV] 3 The king also [appointed] a portion of his possessions for the burnt offerings: for the morning and evening burnt offerings, the burnt offerings for the Sabbaths and the New Moons and the set feasts, as [it is] written in the Law of the LORD.

Now you won’t find any of the ten commandments which talk about burnt offerings but you will find all these in the instructions given to Moses.

  1. The Book of the Law was put on the side of the ark, while the ten commandments were put inside the ark

[Deu 31:26 NKJV] 26 “Take this Book of the Law, and put it beside the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be there as a witness against you;

The Ten commandments weren’t put beside the ark, they were put inside the ark.  

  1. It took 1/4 of a day to read the book of the Law

[Neh 9:3 NKJV] 3 And they stood up in their place and read from the Book of the Law of the LORD their God [for one]-fourth of the day…

1/4 of the day = 6 hours (This is the length of time it takes an average person to read the books of Genesis and Exodus) — the average audiobook narrator reads at a comfortable pace of about 150 words per minute.

At that pace, The Ten Commandments, all 300 words, could be read out-loud in just 2 minutes.

Obviously if your reading for six hours you aren’t just reading the ten commandments.

  1. The New Testament quotes the Law of the Lord, but it isn’t quoting from the Ten


[Luk 2:23-24 NKJV] 23 (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the LORD”), 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, “A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.”

  • The first quotation is from Exodus 13:2, 12, 15
  • The second quotation about bringing a pair of turtledoves is from Leviticus 12:8

Neither of those quotations are from the Ten Commandments  

I think this is so important to understand as you are reading Psalm 1 and other places in the Bible — the “Law of the Lord” is a phrase commonly used throughout the Old Testament to refer to the Bible, the Word of God, or as the New Testament calls it “The Scriptures”:

[Luk 24:27 NKJV] 27 And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.

When in Psalm 1 it says:

[Psa 1:2 NKJV] 2 But his delight [is] in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.

It is talking about the righteous man or woman who gives all their attention to reading, studying, and following the Bible. And notice to stay in the right path they meditate on the Word of God both day and night.

The hebrew word for meditate is “Haga” — which is different than the meditations of Buddhism, Hinduism, or Shikism. You aren’t trying to reach Nirvana or enlightenment by going through endless repetitions of meaningless prayers…  

Jesus warned us against this form of false spirituality which is found in (Contemplative Prayer, Labyrinths, Transcendental meditation, Mindfulness Meditation, and even in Quaker Silence — all of these use repetition to empty the mind and find answers within)

[Mat 6:7 NKJV] 7 “And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen [do]. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.

He also warned against emptying the mind when Jesus said

[Mat 12:43-45 NKJV] 43 “When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. 44 “Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes, he finds [it] empty, swept, and put in order. 45 “Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last [state] of that man is worse than the first…

Emptying the mind is a counterfeit meditation of the true meditation. The goal of true meditation is to fill the mind! The hebrew word for meditate means to speak, to imagine, or to study. The Word of God was meant to be turned over and over in your mind, to be contemplated and applied to your life.

This is why reading the Bible in a Year is not just a church program or a great goal to check off on your spiritual bucket list. God’s people need to be rooted in the Word of God, even more so at the end of time. Why? Because we live in a world filled with lies, a world that is actively trying to sweep you, your children, your spouse, and everyone else into the broad path that leads to destruction and if you do nothing the devil will make sure you are on the wrong path.

[Psa 1:4 NKJV] 4 The ungodly [are] not so, But [are] like the chaff which the wind drives away.

Friends, we are coming to a time in earth’s history where everything that can be shaken will be shaken. Chaff has not ability to stand on it’s own, and when forces outside itself begin to blow, the Chaff moves right along with the blowing force. Think of the forces that will be blowing at the end of time, and what Revelation says about the Mark of the Beast. That is no time to be like Chaff — that is the time when God needs men and women in this church to be like trees.

[Psa 1:3 NKJV] 3 He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water…

In the Middle East the trees that survive the blistering sun and scorching desert winds are those that grow by the rivers — Nourished by the water by day and by night. These trees remain standing year after year, unmoved by the sand storms, or heat, or changing environment. There they are, still standing! The same wind that blows the Chaff, only sways the trees.

Appeal: I want to be a tree at the end, and unmovable tree. But if it’s going to happen friends, today I need to be rooted in God’s Word. Renewed commitment to immersing yourself in God’s Word!