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Psalm 1 Part 4

By Pastor Philip Howle
web posted February 13, 2013
RELIGION – We have been looking at the power and the priority of following your delight.  We have made the point that we are born seeking pleasure, but that thankfully all earthly pleasure apart from God fails, and if we desire ultimate pleasure enough, God in his grace will lead us to Himself. This is powerful stuff. We close this series on Psalm 1 by looking at where the path of delight in “things not of God” leads man, and their end result.

I have come to see that life is a little simpler than we make it out to be. Psalm 1 makes it powerfully clear that at the end of the day there are only two ways for man to go. Most of us are familiar with Robert Frost's  "The Road Not Taken." Two roads diverged in a wood, and I - I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.  As I was googling the Frost Poem this week I came across this “two ways” idea also expressed by Dante Alighieri, the Florentine poet of the Middle Ages, whose Divine Comedy begins, “Midway this way of life we're bound upon, I woke to find myself in a dark wood, where the right road was wholly lost and gone.”
This is sharing a sad reality; we are presented with choice after choice in life. I have written before how who you are and where you are, are really simply to sum total of all the little choices you have made in your life.  Wrong choice after wrong choice will lead you very far away from where God created you be. Dante captured this as he wrote “the right road was wholly lost and gone.”

The Psalmist shares the sad fate of those who refuse to seek pleasure in God. He describes them as chaff. This is scary. The picture here is of a threshing floor at the time of the grain harvest. The threshing floors of Palestine were on hills that catch the best breezes. Grain is brought to them then crushed by animals or by threshing instruments that are drawn over it, next the grain is pitched high into the air where the wind blows the chaff away. The heavier grain falls back to the threshing floor and is collected. Finally, the chaff is scattered or burned.  And this is what the psalmist says those who live wickedly are like.

Refusing to find pleasure and joy in God will lead you to become like the chaff in two senses. Chaff is worthless, and chaff is burned. This pictures the futile, empty, worthless life of those whose sole joy is in the world, as well as their inevitable judgment. I am not saying that people who don’t know Jesus are worthless, far from it. The cross shows that each and every person is of infinite value to God and the price that he payed to see you forgiven and experience all that He desires for you, was His own life.

I have said before I am prophet of love not of doom. But I must be frank here, you have two ways, two choices, two paths, two outcomes in life. One is real and true joy and love now in this life and forevermore in heaven above.  The other is at best temporary joy, which rises and falls with the heartache and hurt of this life, and culminates in an eternity in hell apart from the grace and goodness of God.

Jesus, likewise ends his Sermon on the Mount (which we are studying on Sunday mornings at Antioch) with a series of contrasts between which choices must be made: two gates and two roads, two trees and their two types of fruit, two houses and two foundations. Matthew 7:13-14 reads "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”

Be one of the few. Leaving behind a life and world that is not working takes faith, it may be the only life you have ever known. But your own path leads you nowhere.  Solomon knew this as he wrote Proverbs 14:12 “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” Do you like where your life heading? You might have lost the right path, but Jesus invites to you take his hand and guide you on the path to life.

Pastor Phillip

Psalms 1:1-6  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.  (3)  He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.  (4)  The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.  (5)  Therefore the wicked will 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 wicked will perish.

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