PROVOKING THE BLESSINGS OF GOD (EXPOSITION ON PSALM 1) - Pt 1/2
A story is told of six blind men who were asked to determine what an elephant looked like by feeling different parts of the elephant's body. The blind man who feels a leg says the elephant is like a pillar; the one who feels the tail says the elephant is like a rope; the one who feels the trunk says the elephant is like a tree branch; the one who feels the ear says the elephant is like a hand fan; the one who feels the belly says the elephant is like a wall; and the one who feels the tusk says the elephant is like a solid pipe. In conclusion, all of them were right. The reason every one of them is telling it differently is because each one of them touched the different part of the elephant. So, actually the elephant has all the features mentioned above.
In the same manner, the discussion of the word “Blessings” is usually a dicey one among Christians, and one reason is because there are so many perspectives to look at it from. While a school of thought focuses on spiritual blessings, another focuses on material blessings. Each accuses the other of just emphasizing on one aspect. Tonight’s discussion is on a chapter in the Bible (Psalm 1) which clearly differentiates the life of a blessed (godly) man as opposed to the ungodly man.
Who is the Blessed Man?
Blessed is the man who has not walked in the counsel of the ungodly, and has not stood in the way of sinners, and has not sat in the seat of the scornful (Psalm 1:1) (MKJV)
Verse 1 rather gives us a picture of who the Blessed man is not.
· He does not walk in the advice of the ungodly
· He does not stand in the footpath of sinners
· He does not sit in the seat of the scornful.
· It is important to note the downward retrogressive lifestyle of the man who is not blessed. WALK STAND SIT
He was first just walking, then he moved to standing and then finally to sitting
Note the increasing weight of the medium used to entice this man who is not blessed.
ADVICE FOOTPATH SEAT
Also take note of the three kinds of persons or names used to describe the man who is not blessed. We will take time to look at each person described above from scripture and see how they can apply to our lives.
UNGODLY SINNERS MOCKERS (SCOFFERS)
a) ADVICE OF THE UNGODLY
We shall discuss two main issues under this heading
Failure to Regard Authority
· King Rehoboam (heir of King Solomon) disregarded the advice of the elderly council who had helped his father to rule for 40years and rather chose the advice of his fellow young men. He lost majority of the kingdom because he walked in the advice of the ungodly. (1st Kings 12:1 – 14)
· Eve chose to listen to the voice of Satan (through the serpent). Eventually we all know where the human race is now. (Genesis 3:1 – 6)
· Absalom listened to the evil advice of Ahitophel and revolted against his father. He lost his life and a chance to be the king. (2nd Samuel 16:20 – 23)
Greener Pasture Mentality
There is usually a temptation of Christians to adapt to the trending fashion in business, education etc without express direction from God.
Elimelech, Naomi and her two sons moved to live outside Israel (much against God’s plan for them not to mingle with the other nations). Eventually they lost everything and Naomi returned home empty-handed (Ruth 1:1 – 6). On the other hand, Isaac stayed in Israel during the period of famine. He planted and reaped that same year. He prospered even during those very difficult circumstances. (Genesis 26: 1 – 3; 11 – 12)
· Most workers pursue MBA because everyone is doing it
· Some Ghanaians believe that they can only succeed in life if they study or travel outside. Meanwhile a lot of expatriates troop into the country to do business; and they succeed.
· Others also believe that they can only prosper with a specific school/ job or salary.
b) WRONG COMPANIONSHIP
The ungodly/godless person is characterized by a life which rejects anything that has got to do with God, his people or his authority.
God had promised Abraham that out of him a nation shall arise, and consequently this nation shall give birth to the Messiah and that through him, all the nations of the earth will be blessed. Who wouldn’t have liked to be part of this Messianic lineage, but a condition was that his seed were not to intermarry with the pagan Gentiles.
But Esau the firstborn of Jacob, and the natural heir to the birthright traded his position in the lineage for a bowl of soup (Gen 25:27 – 34), thereby showing total disregard/contempt for this promise (Hebrews 12:14 – 17). He also chose to marry strange women, just to spite his parents (Genesis 26:34 – 35).
A lesson learnt is that, it was Jacob who received the blessing, yet at the end of their lives, both brothers were materially wealthy. Esau was also wealthy, though he wasn’t the blessed son. Thus being wealthy is not the true test of a person’s prosperity. (Genesis 36:6 – 7).
c) FELLOWSHIP WITH SCOFFERS/MOCKERS
A scoffer is one who shows contempt
· The Jews during the time of Jesus Christ mocked at the possibility of anything good coming out of Nazareth. Greatness and the carrier of God’s blessings to mankind walked daily in front of them for 3+ years, yet they missed it. (John 1:45 – 46)
· Zacharias (father of John the Baptist) could have missed a blessing because he doubted the message of the Lord. He was made dumb for a while as a sign for himself (Luke 1:11 – 20)
· Many people/Christians have missed their blessings because they failed to recognize the carrier. Apostle Paul realized that if he only related to Jesus Christ in his humanity, he would miss the blessings associated with the deity and lordship of the savior.
(2nd Corinthians 5:16)
What are the dangers in scoffing or mocking at the promises or the Word of God?
· We mock at the very personality of the One making the promise
How do other people /we also scoff/mock at God?
· Do we believe in the Rapture and His 2nd Coming? (2nd Peter 3:)
· Do we believe in the Deity/Lordship of Christ? (Jude 1:8)
· What respect is accorded the people who represent God in our lives?
If VRA generates the electricity, GRIDCO transmits and ECG distributes the power, we would expect to see power in our houses. If this doesn’t happen, we call in an electrician to check if our sockets are working, then our wires/cables before we even check if the transformer supplying our area is working.
In similar manner, we know that God has blessed us. If we do not fully see the blessedness of God in our lives, let us examine ourselves and see if we have not conspired against our own persons. God entreats that we avoid the categories of people who are listed above since they can inhibit the free flow of God’s blessings in our lives.
Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what fellowship does righteousness have with lawlessness? And what partnership does light have with darkness? And what agreement does Christ have with Belial? Or what part does a believer have with an unbeliever? And what agreement does a temple of God have with idols? For you are the temple of the living God, as God has said, "I will dwell in them and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people." Therefore come out from among them and be separated, says the Lord, and do not touch the unclean thing. And I will receive you and I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty. (2nd Corinthians 6:14 – 18)