Psalms – 5 Steps to the Wise Life (Psalm 1:1-6)
5 Steps to Avoid Being a Fool or 5 Steps to the Wise Life (Psalm 1:1-6)
The Wise Life Walks in the Ways of Yahweh (1:1) How happy is the one who avoids wicked company. How fitting that the entire Hymnbook of the Bible begins with a most loaded term- happiness and blessedness. Happiness is something that we all treasure and hold dear. So much, so that entire nations have been founded on the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
If the blessed life is something we all want, what is it, and how do you find it? From the Christian worldview, blessedness is twofold, dissociation from the wicked and association with the Father. The Psalmist grabs our attention from the first stanza and promises that a happy life is possible and it’s found in fellowship with your Creator.
We often see the blessed life as a result. Work hard, and you will be happy. Accomplish great things, and you will be satisfied. Find that right relationship, land the prized job, buy the right house, or get accepted into the prestigious institution, and you will achieve happiness. However, the Psalms teach us that blessedness is not a reward but the result of walking with Christ.
Are you happy? On a scale of 1-10, are you walking with Jesus daily? The blessed life is a person who lives practically as though God were present, sees God’s daily activity, and lives with righteous intention. The holy life is available to anyone who walks in the ways of the Yahweh.
The Wise Life Delights in the way of the Lord (1:2). Don’t miss the picture; the blessed life is not a walk with folded arms and a sour face but a lifetime of delight in the Father. Delight what a fascinating word that means a person’s interest or business or when someone or something pleases. The wise blessed life is not found through sheer will, white-knuckled determination, or rigid fundamentalism. Instead, the Lord has designed you to see delight and experience great indulgence in His Word and His presence.
God is most glorified in you when you are most satisfied in Him. – John Piper. Do you find true delight in the Word of Yahweh? Life responds to life, and spirit responds to spirit, so it is with the believer's new life. To delight in the Word means that I will treasure His teaching as a guide and a gift. To joy in the Word means that I find deep satisfaction in gospel-shaped authority and boundaries that lead to human flourishing.
The delight of the Christian is not a momentary exercise but one that is found through reflection on the Word of Christ throughout the day. Meditate pictures an animal quietly muttering under its breath. This is not the growl of an insured or angry mammal but the natural sounds of life and health.
On a scale of 1-10, how much delight for you find in the Word of God and His presence? There is no greater delight in the world than to find joy in Christ and His holy word.
The Wise Life Flourishes Spiritually (1:3) Now, the Psalmist, as they often do, provides a vivid image of the wise life. Picture a tree planted in the harsh dry climate of the Middle East; you would expect to find a sapling fighting for survival, but instead, you see magnificent greenery and abundant fruit. If there were an apple tree, you would have pie for the entire neighborhood.
To understand why this tree is beyond healthy, we must understand something about Middle Eastern agriculture. This tree is not a random seed dropped along the path. This tree has been purposely planted beside irrigation canals. Although the yearly weather patterns affect its progression, the daily water source provides growth.
If the wise life is like a tree, who is the master arborist? If the tree is stationary, who dug the canals? Yes, Yahweh is the one who provides flourishing. His will for your life is not that you dry up in the heat or scantly produce the random spiritual blueberry. In Jesus Christ, you have been planted near flowing streams to live in the abundance of spiritual life.
Fruit and foliage balance each other. The foliage helps the tree receive proper nourishment, and fruit is what the tree lives for. Fruit is not for the tree itself but the forest and the future. In essence, fruit is a tree’s offering back to the master Gardener.
On a scale from 1-10, are you flourishing spiritually today? A thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance (John 10:10)
The Wise Life Stands in Righteousness (1:4-5) If the wise life walks in the ways of the Lord, delights in His Word, and drinks continually of the living water, the foolish life embodies the opposite. Read 1:4-5. Did you notice the brevity of the wicked? The righteous life is rooted, but the sinful life is shallow. The righteous life finds fulfillment, but the selfish life is left wanting.
Chaff was the waste product blown away by the wind during the harvest. Proper heavy grain remained on the floor during the threshing process, and the useless chaff or husks blew away in the wind. Dear friend, hear the Psalmist, a life without Jesus will never find usefulness and is always spiritually vulnerable. The Christian life is a life molded and used by the Lord for his glory and the good of the world. Be useful!
Not only will the foolish life not be used by God, but the wicked person also will not stand in the judgment nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. The Psalmist is very clear; the wicked life will have no leg to stand on in the judgment of a holy and righteous God.
Rev 20:11 Then I saw a great white throne and one seated on it. Earth and heaven fled from his presence, and no place was found for them. 12 I also saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which was the book of life, and the dead were judged according to their works by what was written in the books.
The wicked will be judged according to their works; the righteous will be judged according to the work of Jesus Christ on the Christ on behalf of guilty sinners. When you stand before the Lord, how will you be judged? The wise life can stand before the throne of God, cleansed and made right by the blood of the Lamb.
The Wise Life is Embraced by the Father (1:6) Read 1:6. A life that never discovers its fundamental purpose is a life lived in futility. But there is hope, God watches, and He knows!
When the Psalmist says that God watches, he uses a verb for close personal connection. Yahweh is not distantly watching from a faraway kingdom, hoping everything will work out. Instead, The Father embraces the way of the righteous.
Think of how the Messiah demonstrates a sovereign embrace with his people. He turned back when he felt the woman of affliction touch his garment (Matt. 9:20). She was healed, but he stopped and spoke to her. Jesus touched a man with leprosy and said I am willing, be made clean (Mark 1:39). And don’t forget the Father who ran threw his arms around the lost son’s neck, kissed him, and welcomed him home (Luke 15:21).
This is the picture of the Lord who embraces the way of the righteous. If you view God as a distant or absent Father, see Him as the Eternal Father who embraces His children. If you feel distant from the Lord today, what if Yahweh is not the one who has drifted? The wise and righteous life is the one that is embraced constantly by the Father.
In 2016 an apartment building home to migrant workers collapsed, killing 22 people. The recent heavy rainfall combined with the poor quality of construction and age of the structures built by the villagers were probable contributing factors. While rescuers frantically searched for survivors, they discovered a 26-year-old shoe factory worker under a thick cement pillar draped over his daughter. The father lost his life in the collapse, but the young child survived, causing one rescuer to make this observation:
The child was able to survive entirely thanks to the fact that her dad used his own flesh and blood to prop up a life-saving space for his daughter," a rescuer told the China Youth Daily.
The embrace of a Father can change your life. In a small way, what this father did to save his daughter is a picture of what God the Father did to bring you life.
In the Christian worldview, wisdom is never only a virtue to attain or an attitude to hold. Wisdom and truth are a person, the person of Jesus Christ. Godly wisdom always calls for a response – a demand for total commitment.
Wisdom is the “right use of knowledge.” – C.H. Spurgeon
True wisdom is not a concept, virtue, or personification. Eternal wisdom is a person, the person of Jesus Christ.