Psalms 1

Dr. Steve Viars July 17, 1993 Psalms 1:

- now, when we think about the book of Psalms///my guess is
   that I'm speaking to folks who for the most part would
     "I don't have a lot of experience reading//studying this

    - I realize that some here probably have a lot of
       experience and knowledge of the Psalms -- but for most
       of us--we'll be talking about new territory.

    - one of the things that excites me about this study is
      the opportunity it will give us to reflect on//work on
      our personal relationship with our Heavenly
      Father///what goes on in the secret places.

      - the Psalms are intensely personal
         - they were written as songs--to be sung by the Jews
            as part of their worship to God.
         - As such, they are personal expressions of what it
            is like to love God, and learn about God, and
            live for God.
         - the Psalms are honest about struggles and
            difficulties -- they were written by people who
            knew about struggles and difficulties -- people
            like Moses, and David, and others.

- here's why that excites me
   - all of us wrestle with the issue of keeping our focus on
      God and spiritual truth as central.
       - I'm not questioning whether you or I love God
       - I'm not questioning whether we want to know the
           Scripture or obey it.

      - what I'm talking about now is what goes on in the
        busyness of the day...
          - when the dust is flying
          - and the phone is ringing
          - and the calendar is bulging

          - question is -- what's happening spiritually
              during those times?
                (develop - IN CHRIST)

     - what we gain from the Psalmist is the "naturalness" of
         His relationship with God.
           - and the depth of His relationship with God
           - and the practicalness of his relationship with

- the opposite of this is what you might want to call "dead
     space" Christianity
      (like when the TV goes blank--someone forgot to do
        something correctly--nothing comes on
          - some believers are like that spiritually
          - cf. counselees who seem to have long periods of
               dead space.

- I also probably need to tell you that in this series, we
   won't be covering all the Psalms -- instead we're going to
   select out several that we'd especially like to study.
- this morning we're going to work on Psalm 1

- Psalm 1 is one of the most familiar Psalms and one of our
   favorite ones.
- the passage is very easy to understand--the writer is
   setting up a contrast between a godly person, and an
   ungodly one.
   - that tells us something about the book of Psalms right
      off the bat.
      - this book isn't going to "tiptoe around" and not say

      - here's the introductory hymn to the Hebrew songbook
        and already it's dealing with some of the most
        significant issues of life.

- the first three verses tell us about the godly person:

I. The Godly Man

    - it's important to note that the passage begins with:

    A. What he doesn't do

        - the Psalmist says:
           - if you want a blessed life
           - if you want a happy life
           - if you want a satisfied life

        - here's some things you don't do
        - here's some places you don't go
        - here's some things you don't watch
        - here's some things you don't read
        - here's some company you don't keep

        - before we talk about that specifically, we need to
           note the fact that when God talked about
           blessedness, and happiness, and lasting
           satisfaction-He began that discussion in the
           negative mode.

         - I think we need to say--there's an aversion to
            that message
              - folks love to say...
                 - these things aren't so bad
                 - my kids are broad minded and look how well
                     they're doing
                 - we just major on the positive around our
                 - the Bible's too negative

- that's where Ted Turner was coming from when he wrote
    his "Ten Suggestions" to replace the Ten Commandments.
- he said, people don't want to be commanded anymore--so I'm
   going to write suggestions
     (a very blasphemous act--the fact that he's still alive
       is a demonstration of the grace of God.)

   - but the point is--if we're not careful, we'll get to a
      position of saying, "my finite mind is better than
      God's infinite one."

        - yet every time you pick up Psalm 1, it begins the
            same way
          - if you're going to be blessed
          - if you're going to be happy
          - if you're going to have a life of satisfaction--
              here's some things you can't do.

- the Lord began, not with the power of positive thinking,
    but with the power of negative thinking.

    1. doesn't listen to ungodly counsel

        - the word "counsel" has to do with
            philosophies//approaches to life.

        - some folks are like sponges--if so and so said it,
           it must be true.
        - this passage says that the blessed man has the
          ability to "ferret out" what counsel is true and
          right and worthy of being heeded--and what
          philosophies are false and wrong and dangerous.

            - INPUT - what are some of the sources of these
                philosophies today?

            - INPUT - what are some of the things those wrong
                 sources are saying?

        - cf. Jan Smith illus: assignment given to Junior
             Highers asking them to list their faults:
- "I feel that everything I do is up to my highest level, and
    because of this, there is nothing to improve.  I'm very
    satisfied with my personality and my looks, and am not
    dissatisfied in any way. People should always think
    positively like I do and should not look for faults the
    way this question has asked me to do. They should be
    satisfied and concentrate on other things which are more
      - I'm nice to everyone
      - I pay all my debts
      - I'm truthful with my friends
      - I help mom with the housework
      - I feed the cat for mom

- see, there's all sorts of bad counsel out there:
    - cf. Christian involved in an auto accident
       - clearly his fault, considerable damage

    - consults attorney who notes an error in the police
    - goes to court--questions police office
       - you made this out///yes sir
       - my client was not even in the state on this date
       - case dismissed

- yet, he knows he's guilty
     - the injured party knows it
     - the police officer knows it

        - the counsel of the ungodly "got him off."
- see, one of the questions we need to ask is--do you listen
    to the counsel of the ungodly?

    2. he doesn't linger with sinful companions

        - Proverbs is filled with such warnings

        - INPUT - kinds of people the Bible warns us about?
           (fool, angry man, strange woman)

        - of course we ought to be friendly and kind to
          everyone we come in contact with
          - our Lord was a friend of sinners
          - Paul was burdened for those who didn't know

        - but we're talking here about companions//close
             - we're talking about those we allow to affect
                the way we think.

- that’s why some folks are ungodly
   - that’s why some folks are unhappy
   - that’s why some folks are hurting

   - because they've listened to wrong counsel

- this passage says--the godly person doesn't walk (move)
   around that kind of person, he doesn't stand around that
   kind of person
     - doesn't sit around that kind of person

     - one more interesting note to verse one
        - the idea of 'seat" in the ancient world had to do
           with the place of power of opinion.
             - Jesus spoke of the scribes "sitting in Moses'

- we have our "seats of authority" today.
   - professors in education
   - talk show hosts

- a good question this morning--"Is there any way in which my
   life is out of tune with the message of Psalm 1:1 and
   therefore positioned to miss out on the blessing of God?

B. What he does

    1. delights in the law of the Lord

        - this kind of person loves the Word of God
        - it's his/her delight

    2. meditates on the Word

        - INPUT - what would a person who fits verse 2 "look
            like" during the week.

        - INPUT - books that you've found helpful as you've
            sought to study the Scripture and be this kind of
            person?  (Suggest several)

C. How he's rewarded

    - verse 3 tells us the "net effect" of this kind of

    - INPUT - what messages is the Lord trying to communicate
        by the imagery in verse 3?

- after a list like that--then we need to ask//do those words
   describe your life? what degree are those words
   true of you?
     - is it possible that the stability and prosperity
        described in verse three is not as true of you as
        you'd like it to be because the principles of verses
        1-2 are not being followed?

- INPUT - implications of these verses to childrearing?

II. The Ungodly Man

    A. Driven

        - verse 4 literally reads--"the ungodly--not so."

        - in other words, take all the things said about the
           godly man in verses 1-3 and turn them them around-
           -that’s the ungodly man.

        1. empty

           - instead of blessedness of verse 1

           - the picture chaff is speaking of something that
              is worthless.
           - that’s true of the existence of the person who
              doesn't know Christ.
               - it doesn't have eternal worth

        2. driven

           - not the master of his soul

    B. Doomed - 1:5

    C. Damned - 1:6

Dr. Steve Viars


Senior Pastor - Faith Church

Director - Faith Legacy Foundation


B.S.: Pre-Seminary & Bible, Baptist Bible College (Now Clarks Summit University)
M.Div.: Grace Theological Seminary
D.Min.: Biblical Counseling, Westminster Theological Seminary

Dr. Steve Viars has served at Faith Church in Lafayette, IN since 1987. Pastor Viars leads and equips Faith Church as Senior Pastor with a focus on preaching and teaching God’s Word and using his organizational skills in guiding the implementation of the Faith Church mission and vision. He oversees the staff, deacons, and all Faith Church ministries. Dr. Viars serves on the boards of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors, Biblical Counseling Coalition, Vision of Hope, and the Faith Community Development Corporation. Steve is the author, co-author, or contributor to six books and numerous booklets. He and his wife, Kris, were married in 1982 and have two married daughters, a son, and three grandchildren.

Read Steve Viars’ Journey to Faith for the full account of how the Lord led Pastor Viars to Faith Church.

View Pastor Viars' Salvation Testimony Video