Psalm 1: Living blessed!


A wee report from John of Phil’s sermon this morning.

Phil was preaching this morning on Psalm 1- the first of a series on some of the Psalms. He focussed particularly the first two verses:

Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.

Our longing for happiness

Phil began by focussing on our human longing for happiness, and pointed out that many of the routes to happiness people are advised to follow focus on ‘me’ – on how I can get the most out of life.

But Psalm 1 points to a much profounder and deeper source of joy – for as God’s people we are ‘blessed.’  As we open our eyes to God, and realise that we are loved by God we are filled with a sense of contentment, and wholeness and wellbeing.

God is in the business of blessing people – Phil pointed to examples throughout the Bible of God promising to bless.  God blessed Abraham, for example – and promised that through Abraham the whole of humanity would be blessed. (Genesis 22:17-18)

To us as Christians, this blessing comes through Jesus, who offers us grace and forgiveness as a gift.

God wants us to accept and receive this blessing.

The marks of those who are blessed

What are marks of people who seek God’s blessing? Phil quoted Psalm 128:1:  ‘Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in obedience to him.’

And Psalm 1:1-2 amplifies this – the blessed ones are those who avoid the lifestyle and mindset of ‘the world’; who base their lives not on self-fulfilment, but on what the Bible has to say about living life to the full.

A call to live differently

Phil pointed out that verse 1 emphasises that becoming ‘worldly’ is progressive – from walking with people whose lifestyles will not be helpful to us, to standing with them, to sitting in their company.

We are called to live in the world, where the messages of social media and news channels constantly washes over us. It’s easy for our mindset to be influenced so that we become self-seeking and self-focussed.

And this attitude is infiltrating the church too, so that ‘going to church’ is seen as a leisure pursuit, just one among the many which fill our lives – streaming box sets, video games, social media.

But we are called to live differently. Phil mentioned a book called Theology after Chistendom, a book which asks ‘Where have all the prophets gone?’  Where is the voice of God in our streets today?  We are called to be different, to live in a way which is God-focussed, radically ‘other.’

Delighting in the Bible

Verse 2, Phil continued, mentions ‘delighting in’ the Bible. ‘Delight’ is defined as ‘happiness’ and ‘satisfaction’.

Do we ‘delight in the law of the Lord?’   Are we willing to take time to deepen our relationship with God?

For most of us, Phil said, spending quality time praying and reflecting on the Bible is not a reality. It is a duty rather than a joy.  A day can end, and we realise we have spent little or no time reflecting on the Bible in openness to God.

How enthusiastically we talk about our hobbies Phil said.  Get him started talking about mountain-biking, he told us, and we’ll have a hard time stopping the flow.

Why are we not so passionate about our faith?  We are to so delight in God’s word that we will want to talk about us?

May we choose to mediate on God’s word, trusting God to transform us on a daily basis as our reflection on the Bible affects the choices we make.

Following Jesus

The message of the Psalm is that we should respond to blessing, flee from the world, trust God and conform our lives to God’s model for us.

And ‘following Jesus’ encompasses all of this. Following Jesus  is the only way through which we can be transformed.  Jesus lived the life we should be living – we can never achieve the perfection of his life, but it should be our goal.

It’s hard work – but may we seek the strength and the desire to be different!

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