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Psalm 1 "We Ought Not Be Here"

By Pastor Philip Howle
web posted January 22, 2013
RELIGION – “We ought not be in this situation, we ought not be in this situation!!!” These were the words were of the offensive coordinator of the 1998 Greenwood High School football team. We were playing in the 2nd round of the playoffs and down by six points with less than 30 seconds to go in the game. We were a much better team, but we had failed to execute and now the game was winding down and were on the way to a loss. Our offensive coordinator called our last time out and gave us the play. It was the last chance, it came down to this. Thankfully the long pass was completed and we won the game, barely. We should have beaten that team like a drum, but we barely squeaked by. The game could have easily gone the other way.
[(1)Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; (2)  but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.
Psalm 1:1-2]

I have sat with many a person who has all too late realized that they are now in situations that they ought not be in. They did things they never thought they would do, things they knew better than to do, and now have done and a world of consequences is coming down. I was told as a little boy that “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.”
What transpires that takes people into sin that they never thought they would be in? Psalm 1 addresses the issue head one in the first few verses. Notice first the promise of blessing. Blessing in the Bible is not simply God giving you material things that wear out, but blessing is God’s smile and approval on your life. I love the feeling of knowing that someone is proud of you. This is what the promise of vs.1 is.
But, now notice what man does that removes this blessing. Notice here the progression:  walking, standing, and  sitting in the above verses. Imagine for a moment the life of person A. Person A has grown up in church, would profess to know right from wrong, and would profess to have a relationship with Jesus. But, something happens Person A gets new friends. These friends don’t share the convictions and morality as Person A, but they are fun on Friday night. Person A starts to spend more time with these new friends. He starts “walking” with them as the Psalmist would say. 
Next, old habits start to die off, dust collects on the Bible, church attendance wanes, and when Person A does go it is out of duty and not delight (something we will look at next week.) Person A’s world view is changing; they are becoming more and more focused on themselves, relationships with spouse and children worsen and stress escalates at home and they look more and more for time away from the home situation.  Now they are not standing in the “way” of sinners. The terms “way” and “walk” occurs frequently in both Psalms and Proverbs.  They are used in reference to a man’s characteristic lifestyle, his habitual, predictable, patterns of behaving. Person A has lost old friends and now has a whole new set of influences.
Up until now Person A still had lingering doubts as to their new way of life. They receive phone calls and texts from old friends at church, but shrug them off. They still know they are not living in a way consistent with their upbringing and at times feel remorse over their actions. Then the final step in the progression occurs that they “sit” down in the seat of scoffers. A “scoffer” is someone who mocks God. I am not referring to angry atheists, but people who live their life as they chose and don’t think they will suffer any consequences for their actions.  They are now sitting. They have simply made themselves at home.
The only problem is that this is not a home you can stay happy in long. The real problems in life can’t be drank or partied away. They are there. Our choices now only serve to make them better or worse. This person has lost his bearing as to where to turn to go back. He may feel he has burned bridges with old friends who used to love and care for him. He may think he has been gone from church too long to bother coming back. So he keeps going down a road he never should have been on in the first place. The road is dark and the end is not in sight. And although Person A has seen this road end in the lives of others; have witnessed their homes broken, their children crying, and all the pain it has caused, somehow he deludes himself into think that he will be different, it will not happen to him.  Person A finds themselves in a rough spot.  The choices Person A makes next will determine the rest of his life.

Are you Person A? If so, understand that God in His grace is speaking to you right now. Maybe you are on the cusp of a really bad choice; maybe you have already made bad choices. But there is hope.  God invites you home to himself. Turning away from a style of life that you have come to know is tough. It may mean leaving friends behind. It will mean confessing your sins to God and asking for forgiveness. God loves prodigal sons and daughters and waits for them to come home. Don’t throw your life away, don’t hurt and scar your children, make the right choice now.

I leave you with a promise and an invitation from Jeremiah 29:11-14 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.  (12)  Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.  (13)  You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.  (14)  I will be found by you, declares the LORD, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the LORD, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.”
Pastor Phillip

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