2004-11-21 - The Word of God
Psalm 1, Part 2
So we are called to, and should want to, please God. We do this by walking in His ways. How do we know this way? By understanding, immersing and living out the words of His book, the Bible. We must be committed to grow as individuals and as members of a local body. This growth is demonstrated by our obedience to the Law of God as given by our Savior:
"'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments" (Matthew 22:37-40).
In this study, we are going to look at the importance of the word of God in our lives. As believers, what makes us different from those around us? One major difference, of course, is the reality of God's love worked out in our lives. Another must be our commitment to the accurate teaching of God's word, what I'm calling the "Word Distinctive". As we examine the Psalm, first, let us touch on the background. Next, we will look at the text itself, and finally we will see the call to live a life grounded in God's word.
Now the first two Psalms seem to have been placed specifically as introductions to the book as a whole. The spiritual foundation of the Old Testament is the Law and the Prophets. Jesus gave recognition to this when He said, " Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill" (Matthew 5:17).
These two psalms point out the importance of these specifics, the first focusing on the Law, the second on the Prophets. The first Psalm deals with the one who is blessed contrasted with one who is not. The second looks at the specific prophetic issue related to the Messiah. Clearly Psalm 1 is discussing the Law which, when named in this way, includes not only the Ten Commandments, but also the 613 commands found in the balance of the Pentateuch. In fact, sometimes the term "Law" is all-inclusive of God's word, and for the purposes of this study, we will take the broadest application and focus on Scripture as a whole.
There are a number of forms in Hebrew poetry, which is what a psalm is. I don't want to get into these various poetic forms here, except to note one standard way the Psalmist had of making a point was through contrast and expanding illustrations. The contrast here is between the one who is blessed and the who is wicked. The author identifies the distinctive between the two groups:
The Blessed: The blessed man is contrasted by two things, what he doesn't do and what he does. These are the outward signs of an inward condition. The man is blessed because he chooses God, not men. Actions are simply a testimony to who he is. "But someone will say, 'You have faith; I have deeds.' Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do" (James 2:18).
To be continued.
Comments or Questions?