Yesterday Eastbrook Church gathered to celebrate God’s goodness over 40 years with an outdoor worship service and picnic. It was an amazing time with folks across all four of our regular worship services gathering together as one, worshiping the Lord and celebrating with one another.
I brought a message from Psalm 145:3-8, which reads:
3 Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;
his greatness no one can fathom.
4 One generation commends your works to another;
they tell of your mighty acts.
5 They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty—
and I will meditate on your wonderful works.[a]
6 They tell of the power of your awesome works—
and I will proclaim your great deeds.
7 They celebrate your abundant goodness
and joyfully sing of your righteousness.
8 The Lord is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and rich in love.
I spent some time talking about celebration, God’s power, God’s goodness, God’s love, and our response to it all. You can view the message, which is a stand-alone message and not part of any series, below.
The book of Psalms in the Old Testament is a collection of prayers and songs that show us what it looks like to live a life with God. The psalms were used in the worship of the people of Israel, both in the Temple and later in the synagogues. The Christian church continues to utilize the Psalms as avenues of prayer and worship to God.
This week, I want to walk through some reflections on Psalm 1. This psalm sets the tone for the entire book of Psalms by contrasting two different ways of life: the way of the righteous and the way of the wicked. Or, to put it more plainly, the way of growing life with God or the way of atrophy apart from God. Let’s look at the first verse:
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.
Psalm 1 begins with an important biblical word: blessed. The word ‘blessed,’ as one Bible teachers says, basically “means ‘happy’ in the rich, full sense of happiness rooted in moral and mental and physical wellbeing.”
Being ‘blessed’ is to have the fullness of God’s joy brought into our lives.
Throughout the psalms this idea of being blessed shows up in relation to the way a person lives their lives:
- “Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.” (Psalm 32:1)
- “Blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, who does not look to the proud.” (Psalm 40:4)
- “Blessed is the one you discipline, LORD, the one you teach from your law.” (Psalm 94:12)
Throughout the psalms, both in these other places and in Psalm 1, the concept of being blessed is a gift from God. On the one hand it is a direct gift from God of His goodness into our lives, while on the other hand it is the indirect result of God’s guidance when we live life in a way that reflects God’s truth. Either way, whether directly or indirectly, blessing is a gift from God.
In Psalm 1, the emphasis found in the contrast calls us to a recognition of a powerful idea: there is a way of living that actually brings us into God’s greatest generosity and goodness to us. As we continue with Psalm 1, we will receive an even more full picture of the blessed life.
[This is the first in a series of posts on Psalm 1.]
Here I am again in this place to meet with You. There are always so many thoughts on my mind about how I should spend my time here. In all of those things, which I do want to talk with You about, I simply say that I’d like to draw near to You today.
How priceless is Your unfailing love, O God! People take refuge in the shadow of Your wings. They feast on the abundance of Your house; You give t hem drink from Your river of delights. For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light we see light. (Psalm 36:7-9)
Draw me, Lord, into the light of Your presence.
Make me to feast on Your goodness, oh God.
Quench my soul-thirsts with Your river of delight
And drench me beneath Your fountain of life.
All my life’s goodness is found within You.
All my life’s sadness is lifted by You.
All my soul’s hunger and thirsting for life
is met beyond measure in You.
[This is part of a series of prayer posts in 2012 that began here.]