Samuel Schultz says ‘Psalms express the common experience of the human race. Composed by numerous authors, Psalms express the emotions, personal feelings, attitude, gratitude and interests of average individuals, universally people identify with the book of Psalms’.
Psalms contain passionate praises, prayers and laments of despair, as we read above, Psalms touches were people are at.
In every experience of our own, no matter how deep the pain or how great the frustration or how exhilarating the joy, we can find Psalms which echo our inmost being; Psalms which God uses to bring comfort or to confirm release. The Psalms were written over an extended period of time, most probably coming between 1000 and 400 B.C. They were written by different authors, and at several times new groups of Psalms were added to the collection. Seventy-three of the Psalms were written by David. Forty-nine are anonymous. The Psalms were used in public worship in Israel, as well as for private devotions. They show us how intimate and free our relationship with God can be, as we share every thought and feeling with Him.
Psalm 1 talks about the two paths that we can walk in life, in this study we will look at three aspects of this:
- Look Around – How am I being Influenced?
Read Psalm 1:1-2
“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.”
Blessed in the Amplified version means happy, fortunate, prosperous, and enviable.
The Christian life represents blessing – through out the Old Testament from Adam to Abraham, and in the New Testament, Jesus re-enforces (Jn 10:10), a life with God bought blessing, and Psalms starts talking about blessing – knowing Christ is hallmarked by blessing, God’s blessing and unmerited favour!
Discuss: what are some blessings in your life that you are thankful to God for.
A hindrance to God’s blessing is found in verse 1 in the area of sin. Sin has been described as a slippery dip – if there is anything that can rob you of blessing and God’s best for your life it is sin, described here as a process of walking to standing to sitting with anything ungodly.
Two key words in verse 2 are ‘delight in the Lord and meditate on His Word’
Discuss: How can we delight in the Lord?
The second word is meditate. To meditate means we should ‘recall to our attention or to draw to mind’. The things that we meditate upon are what we will literally become like.
Romans 12:1-2 tells us that we are ‘transformed by the renewing of our mind’; to renew your mind literally means to meditate upon God’s Word and His promises continually. That God’s Word would capture our full attention and become the single standard for faith and practice within our lives.
Meditate is a figurative word and has been described like a cow chewing cud. A cow has several compartments to its digestive system, so as a cow eats during the day this may be moved to a different part of the digestive system to gain nutrients or fluid depending on the needs of the day – the grass consumed is continually being consumed. Similarly for us, we should aim to literally chew over God’s Word as we go through our day.
Discuss: How can we continue to meditate upon God’s Word, discuss some practical suggestions.
- Look Inside – What am I becoming?
Read Psalm 1: 3-4
“He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away.”
A tree that is planted by streams of water has stability, capacity, and history; exactly opposite to chaff which is blown about by literally anything and when your life is not planted in God’s stream you don’t have a foundation.
Trees take time to grow, Psalm 1 highlights that growth comes from allowing God’s Word time to grow within your life.
The idea here is that the tree is not just planted but transplanted near the river – from a place of barrenness to a place of abundance and blessing. Streams of water refer to artificial irrigation channels that gave a continuous source of water for vegetation - when near this supply; it becomes a matter of course that fruit is produced. One writer says that ‘blessing is not a reward but a bi-product of living the way God intended’.
God blesses those who are separated from the world, saturated in His Word and situated by the river.
Discuss the benefits of being planted in the House of God.
- Look Ahead – Where am I going?
Read Psalm 1:5-6
“Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgement, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.”
“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and sorry I could not travel both…I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference” (Robert Frost)
There are two roads we can take in life, one that pleases God and one that follows our own desires or choices.
What are some practical steps that we can take to lead us closer to His plan for our lives?
When our Delight is in the Lord and we meditate on His Word, we set ourselves up to experience His blessing and walk in His Path.
Take a few moments to pray and ask for God’s blessing over the lives of each participant and family.