Delighting in God's Law

Posted on 11/16/2008 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

AUDIO: dialup - broadband - podcast

TRANSCRIPT: (may not contain everything found in the audio above)

*** listen to the audio for introduction and prayer ***


Public Prayer Requests:

Please pray for my sl church
   –Wall29 Newman


I am really hurting. I have lost several friends to death, and then my cat, who was my feline soul mate, who I had fostered for 4 1/2 years was taken away from me because they decided I was not good enough. I run a hospice center for cats with FeLv and have 14, but none were as special as her. I can't seem to stop crying. I know that God is there, but I can't seem to reach Him.
   –katz Fhang

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Please turn around and click one of the offering plates by the doors, and give as the Lord leads.

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HE HAS MADE ME GLAD

I will enter his gates
    with thanksgiving in my heart
I will enter his courts
    with praise
I will say this is the day
    that the Lord has made
I will rejoice for
    he has made me glad

He has made me glad
    he has made me glad
I will rejoice for
    he has me me glad!

HIS BANNER OVER ME

He is the vine and we are the branches
    His banner over me is love       (x3)

His banner over me is love

He calls us to his banqueting table
    His banner over me is love       (x3)

His banner over me is love

LOVE TO BE IN YOUR PRESENCE

I love to be in your presence
    with your people singing praises
I love to stand and rejoice
    lift my hands and raise my voice

You set my feet to dancing
    you fill my heart with song
You give me reason to rejoice,
    rejoice!

COME HOLY SPIRIT

Come Holy Spirit, I need you
    Come sweet Spirit, I pray
Come in your strength and your power
    Come in your own special way


*** listen to the audio for the message introduction ***


Today's message title is "Delighting in God's Law," and I'd like to jump right into today's passage, which is Psalm chapter one. Let's read this together, Psalm chapter one, beginning with verse one.

Psalm 1

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.


*** prayer ***


First we are shown three things that we will be blessed if we stay away from. And these are things that go beyond isolated actions. These are ways of life, and deal with our character and integrity.

Verse one says, "Blessed is the one who does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful." Verse two goes on to say, "Instead, his delight is in the law of the Lord, and he meditates in God's law day and night."

I believe too many of us in the Church walk in the counsel of the ungodly. We may read the self-help books, or order our lives by the advise of those who do not really follow Jesus. We learn how to live from soap opras -- although I'm sure that can be said only of the people in some other church -- or we allow our attitudes toward life to be shaped by secular music or magazines (and if we entertain ourselves with those things, our minds ARE shaped by them, no ifs ands or buts about it).

The result is that, without realizing it, we begin to walk in the counsel of the ungodly. We apply their worldview to our lives. And then we find ourselves lacking.

But if you know you're lacking today, that's very good news, because that means you can do something about.

And the thing to do is to start filling your mind and heart with the Word of God, and walking in the counsel of those who are Godly and who live their lives according to the Scriptures.

So the man who's blessed will not walk in the counsel of the unglody.

Next we see that he does not stand in the path of sinners.

What does this mean? Certainly we are not to avoid the lost. In fact, Jesus told us to go into all the world and proclaim the Good News of Salvation to them. Jesus ate with sinners, and replied to the resulting criticism by saying that the physician cares for the sick, not the well.

But the blessed person in this passage does not stand in the path of sinners.

I've known people, and I've been one of them, who hang out with unbelievers. They are their best friends. They are the people with whom they go places on the weekends. They might go out to the bars with them. But the point is not what they're doing, but the entire nature of their relationships.

People who chose to reject the truth weren't comfortable around Jesus. In fact, we see only three kinds of sinners in Jesus' circle: Those who thought they were righteous, those who held on to their sin and walked away, and those who turned from their sin to follow the Messiah.

Jesus did not become one of them. And by this I don't just mean that he didn't start sinning. I mean that he didn't just hang around with them. Rather, he had something to offer. He had something they desperately needed. And he loved them in spite of their sin with which he never became comfortable.

Jesus reached out to sinners, rebuking those who thought they were righteous, calling those who knew they were sinners to repentance, and forgiving and delivering those who cried out to him for salvation.


So the blessed person does not walk in the counsel of the unGodly, or does he stand in the path of sinners.

Next we see that he does not sit in the seat of the scornful.

Now the original Hebrew word for "scorn" can be translated as boasting, mocking, or talking arrogantly.

These are all related attitudes. Someone who is arrogant will scoff at those they think are beneath their lofty mental or spiritual stature. And someone who mocks, scoffs, and scorns is someone who's displaying arrogance and pride.

Do we ever sit in the seat of the scornful? I know I have. Haven't you? It's easy to think we don't have any arrogance and pride. But as we continue walking in the Spirit and filling ourselves with the Word of God, our attitudes will be revealed to us. I don't know about you, but as soon as I think I've become humble, the Holy Spirit just brings more pride to the surface.

The question is whether we are striving toward holiness and true Godly humility, or whether we are sitting comfortably in the seat of the scornful. We should pray every day for humility, and that any pride within us would be revealed and destroyed.


So we see that if we want to be blessed, we should not walk in the counsel of the unGodly, stand in the path of sinners, or sit in the seat of the scornful.

But it doesn't stop there, just telling us what NOT to do. In verse two we read the opposite of these things. It says, "But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in his law he meditates day and night."

If we delight in the law of the Lord, we will quickly become very unimpressed with the counsel, the approach to life, and the so-called wisdom of the unGodly. The Word of God tends to make the wisdom of man look quite foolish.

If we meditate in his Word day and night, we will find that we don't have true fellowship with sinners. The Bible asks the question, "What fellowship does light have with darkness?" We will no longer feel comfortable just hanging out with those choosing to live in their sin.

And if we delight in the law of the Lord and meditate in his law, his Word, his nature, and his ways day and night, seeking after his face and bowing our knees, our hearts, and our lives in unending worship, then we will lose our arrogance and pride, and will no longer sit in the seat of the scornful, because the ways of God have become our constant delight.

And what does this go on to say? "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."

Wow, that's quite a mouth full!

A tree planted by rivers of water is a tree that thrives. Its leaves do not wither, because it has no lack of water.

It brings forth its fruit in its season. Jesus told us that every tree that brings forth fruit will be pruned so it can bring forth more fruit. Scripture also tells us that we know we belong to God because he disciplines us.

On the other hand, Jesus said that every tree that does not bear fruit is cut down and cast into the fire. So do you want to bear fruit in its season? You won't do it walking in the counsel of the unGodly. You won't do it standing in the path of sinners. You won't do it sitting in the seat of the scornful. You will only bear fruit when you delight in the law of the Lord, and meditate in it day and night.

So he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, and whose leaf shall not wither. Then it says that whatever he does shall prosper.

This reminds me of Joseph, who was sold by his brothers into slavery. Even in prison, whatever Joseph did prospered. He eventually, after many ups and downs, became a powerful ruler in Egypt and was used to save millions of people from dying in a great famine.

What happened when Potifer's wife tried to seduce him? He said, "How can I do this sin against God?" and he ran away from the temptation. As we look at the life of Joseph, he delighted in the law of the Lord, seeking to please him, walking in his counsel even when it might cost him his life.

And whatever he did, it prospered.

I don't have to ask if you want to prosper in everything you do. We all want to prosper. If we put our hand to a task, we want to know that we have made a difference and that our efforts have not been in vain.

Well, delight yourself in the Lord, in his laws, his ways, his Word, and meditate on it day and night.


Then verses four through six show the great contrast between the Godly and the unGodly. It says,

 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.


The ministry team can come to the front.

Do you want to be a Godly man or woman? We see the fate of those who are not. They are like chaf which is blown away by the wind. They will not stand in the judgment. They will not be counted in the congregation of the righteous. And their way shall perish.

But the Lord knows the way of the righteous. He is intimately aquainted with him. Yes, God knows everything about the wicked as well, but it's the type of knowing that results in his saying, "Depart from me, you worker of iniquity, for I never knew you."

I want God to know me, to know me in the way you know someone who shares your interests, your passions, your desires, who loves what you love and hates what you hate.

You can know all about someone but not really "know" them if they love what you find repulsive, who constantly do things that are highly offensive to you, and who reject you and refuse to believe what you say.

Let's move toward God by learning and embracing everything about him, everything about his heart, everything about his mind, everything about his Word and his ways. And the more we have fellowship with him on these grounds, the more we will become like that tree that is planted by the rivers of water, we will bring forth fruit in its season, our leaf will not wither, and whatever we do shall prosper!


I'd like to open up this altar for a time of prayer and ministry. If you need to leave, you're free to do so. If you'd like someone to talk or pray with you, please instant message someone on the ministry team. In a few minutes we'll meet in the room to your left for a time of fellowship, and you're all invited to come.

If you don't know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, let today be the day that you finally know you've been forgiven and are heading toward heaven.

Talk with one of us, and we'll point you to Jesus. In fact, all you need to do is accept his free gift on his terms. Just surrender your life to him, your sin, your own ways, in exchange for his ways. Talk to him now in your own words, asking him to forgive you for your sins and to make you a brand new creation.

You're all invited to get out of your seat and come gather at the front.

*** listen to the audio for the message closing and altar call ***