Don’t Go There

It is interesting to me that Psalm 1 starts off negatively. David writes, “blessed is the man who walks not”. You would think that a book that says a lot about praise and worship would start with a “Hallelujah” but if you remember, the first word is blessed. There are amazing blessings in Christ but the first blessing is something you should not do.  If you don’t do this, you will be blessed. What is it? Listen to verse 1 again

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.

Do you hear the verbs? Walks, stands, sits. Do you hear how it goes from bad to worse? Ungodly, sinner to scornful. There is an order, a progression. You start walking, then you stand, then you sit. Think of meeting someone in the hallway. You say, hi, how are you. If you start walking together, it is still quite casual.  But here is the key. What is happening? You are moving somewhere. There is a direction you are going. What happens next? You stand together. You are now more involved. Notice the change from walking with the ungodly to now standing with the sinner. You are associating together. Then what happens? You sit together. The relationship is deep. There is a unity of mind and heart.  You are sharing your life with this person.

So Where is that ungodly one? Who is this sinner? What is the scornful? Who is David talking about?

It is easy to read this and think, it’s not me. I am not a scorner. It’s not talking about my friends, they aren’t ungodly. This is talking about bad people. People who hate God. Not me.

Listen to another passage that talks about the same thing and see if you can hear who David is talking about. In James 1: 13-15 it says,

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is fully grown, brings forth death.

Do you hear the same direction? Each one is tempted, lured, enticed, then sin and then death. It goes from bad to worse.

David wrote Psalm 1:1 as a warning. The Psalmist describes what he sees today in a person’s choices and actions and then peers into the future and describes what kind of character that person will become. The greatest danger to you is you. The greatest danger to me is me. The one who will lead you astray is your own desire, enticing you away like a fish being drawn to a shiny lure, that appears to promise pleasure and satisfaction, all that a fish could want, but ends with a hook, being reeled away to its death.

One of the greatest lies of Satan is that what you choose to do, to say, and to think doesn’t matter. There will be no consequences. As long as you don’t do anything really bad, you are fine. I can step over this boundary, break this rule and nothing will happen to me. We think it doesn’t matter what TV shows I watch. The music I listen to. What video games I play. What I watch on my computer, tablet or phone. Who my friends are. How I speak to my parents. If I look at someone’s paper to get an answer. The list goes on and on. The thought is that it doesn’t affect me one way or the other.

This is very important. Every choice you make, every thought you think, every word you say, and everything you do, matters.  Don’t believe me? Let’s see what the Bible says.

And whatever you do, in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. Colossians 3:17

1 Corinthians 10:31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God. (Not for me, myself and I).

II Corinthians 10:5 tells us to bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.

These are just a few familiar examples. The Bible clearly teaches this truth throughout its pages. We are not on vacation here on earth, we are at war and we are on the battlefield. This battle is not waged somewhere out there, oh no, it is waged in your heart and in mine. It is a battle between doing what God tells us to do, with a happy heart, to his glory or doing what I want to do, when I want to do it.

It starts very small. Your life is not shaped by big, grand moments, but in the hundreds of little choices you and I make every day. The direction of your life is not shaped in a church youth group retreat or in a chapel but in what you choose to do every day after school with your free time. How you spend your time in class. What you say to someone at recess. The friends that you want to hang out with. Your attitude when your parents ask you to do a chore. The things that you let your eyes see and your brain to dwell on.

There is a children’s song that goes be careful little eyes what you see, be careful little hands what you do. The chorus is a warning that the father up above is looking down below. True, God does see all but we all need to understand that what we watch with our eyes, what we do with our hands, what we think about with our brain, what we say with our tongue, all move us in a direction and even more, they train our heart to love those things more and more. The ungodly that wants us to walk with him. The sinner that wants us to stand outside of God’s boundaries and the mocker who wants us to sit in rebellion against God. The longer you spend time with them, the more in love you will fall with their ways. They are not out there. They are not on the news. They are the desires that live in your heart. They are inside you and they are inside me. And what you think, do, say and see, all feeds the desires of your heart, and those desires set the direction of your life.

King David tells us, be blessed, don’t go there. So what is David’s solution for the blessing of not walking that way? It is in verse

But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates…just during chapel… only during bible class… just at church. No, And in His law he meditates day and night.

David knows everything that you think, say or do is setting the direction of your life so that is why he says you must have a heart the delights in the Bible and think about God’s word all the time.

In the hymn we are about to sing, the writer of this hymn understood this too. Listen to verse 2.

O to grace how great a debtor

Daily I’m constrained to be

Let that grace now, like a fetter 

Bind my wandering heart to Thee

Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it

Prone to leave the God I love

Here’s my heart, O take and seal it

Seal it for Thy courts above

Little by little. Step by step. You are going somewhere. Hear the warning of Psalm 1:1. The blessing is to not go the way of the ungodly, the sinners and the scornful. Instead, may our hearts want more and more to obey God with a happy heart. May our hearts be chained to God, never to escape his wonderful blessings. May we delight only in God at His word, and move closer and closer to him, and walk away from the path of destruction where the ungodly, the sinner and the scornful move to their doom.