WHAT PATH AM I TRAVELLING
The Psalms are in the Scriptures to unlock the inexhaustible
riches of God’s glory and His providential
plan to save sinners by His grace.
Robert Godfrey wrote “The realism of the Psalter in facing the great difficulties of the Christian life is one of its most appealing and refreshing features. The Psalms don’t sugar-coat the life of faith. They state problems and struggles openly and clearly. The serious emotions evoked by the disappointments, pains, and frustrations of life are expressed strongly and honestly. At the same time, the Psalms present powerful responses of faith.”
This is what makes the Psalms so precious to the child of God. They put God’s presence in midst of our trouble, and we see the King who reigns over our lives, as we walk through the circumstances of this life. Throughout the Psalms we see God’s steadfast love and deliverance as we continue to trust in Him, as He leads and guides our lives.
The Psalm that is before us this morning is a Psalm written by an unknown…. to set the stage to the entire book of the Psalms. When you read this Psalm you are reminded how truly blessed we are beyond measure. When you read this Psalm you see that the gospel not only blesses; it also separates us from this world system and people. Godliness denounces ungodliness
Charles Spurgeon wrote “Walk with God, and you cannot mistake the road; you have infallible wisdom to direct you, permanent love to comfort you and eternal power to defend you.”
As the Sons of Korah sang “For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. O LORD of hosts, blessed is the one who trusts in you!” Psalm 84:11-12
The Psalm before us this morning describes that there are many paths that a person can take, but in reality there are only two.
The high…. way
The low…. way
John Owenham, British hymn writer of “There Is No East Nor West” also wrote a poem “The Ways”
To every man there openth
A Way, and Ways and a Way.
And the Low Soul climbs the High way,
And the Low gropes the Low,
And in between, on the misty flats,
The rest drift to and fro.
But to every man there openth
A High way and a Low,
And every man decideth
The Way his soul shall go.
These Are A Series Of Choices……..So Choose Wisely! This Psalm explains this truth clearly by these two paths of life. One high and one low. One road leads to blessing, the other road leads to cursing. One road leads to salvation, the other road leads to destruction. One road leads to life and the other to death (spiritually darkness). We saw this coming when Adam fell; and this cursed us all spiritually speaking. “The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, "You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." Genesis 2:15-17
God had every right to kill Adam on the spot when he disobeyed. But the death the LORD was speaking of was spiritual death, separation of fellowship from a holy God who created us in His image. In Adam we all died and we are all counted as sinful and spiritually dead. “For as in Adam all die,” 1 Cor 15:22a But that’s why the gospel has to power to restore and resurrect. Paul goes on to say right after that “so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” 1 Cor 15:22b
What path am I travelling?
1. The Path Of The Righteous, The High And Godly Way.
The opening declaration expresses the abundant of favor God shows to His child that walks along the path of the godly. (v1) “Blessed is the man” The word translated “blessed” is a very expressive one. Spurgeon wrote “The original word is plural, and it is a controverted matter whether it is an adjective or a substantive. Hence we may learn the multiplicity of the blessings which shall rest upon the man whom God hath justified, and the perfection and greatness of the blessedness he shall enjoy.”
“Blessed” here is intensified, it could say “O how Happy”, or “the happiness”. Blessed are those rests upon His unlimited, inexhaustible supply of grace. God’s abundant favour rest upon the child of God who live a truly God-centered life. See! True happiness is the experience of all who are just in the LORD. In Psalm 16:11 we read “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” Psalm 21:6 we read “For you make him most blessed forever; you make him glad with the joy of your presence. For the king trusts in the LORD, and through the steadfast love of the Most High he shall not be moved.” Psalm 34:8 we read “Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!”
The righteous in Christ are blessed and genuinely satisfied in Him. “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil 4:4-7
The opposite of this is revealed in the opening of this Psalm. (v1) The world seeks after happiness in the all the wrong places and it leaves them empty, temporal and fleeting. The godly who at their happiest is never satisfied by what the world seeks after.
The Godly Don’t Practice Daily By….
1. “Walks not in the counsel of the wicked.” He/She refuses the secular philosophy and humanistic values of the godless. He/She refuses to accept the worldview that places man at the center of the universe. They refuse to accept that we are entitled live by our own standards of morality, and pursuit of pleasures. The high….way, takes and seeks wiser counsel, and walks in the commandments of the Lord his God. The Apostle Paul wrote “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. "For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ.” 1 Cor 2:14-16
2. “Nor stands in the way of sinners” He/She refuses or resists the temptation, the lure of window dressing of the mob mentality. He/She refuse to participate in their carnal living and activities. The High…..way, takes company of a choicer sort, than they once took before the gospel came in. Although a sinner! But now a blood-washed sinner, quickened by the Holy Spirit, and renewed in heart through the gospel. We now stand by the rich grace of God, in the congregation of the righteous. (v5b) The joy filled fellowship of the saints because His redemptive work. We read in Matthew’s Gospel this truth that the rebellious will be excluded, cursed from this fellowship. "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Matt 25:31-34
3. “Nor sit in the seat of scoffers.” He/She refuses to associate with those who scoff at God. What does that look like? Paul answers that question “And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.” Romans 1:28-32. They avoid close relationships with the Blasphemous, Unregenerate, False religious, and haters of God. Paul warned the believer about this. “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever?” 2 Cor6:14-15
The believer find no rest in the atheist's scoffing, the scoffers who make a mock of sin, of eternity, of hell and heaven, and of the Eternal God. The seat of the scorner may be very proud, but it is very near to the gate of hell. We are to be careful we are not deceived because it ends in destruction, which will swallow up the man who sits there. Why? Paul said “Do not be deceived: "Bad company ruins good morals." 1 Cor 15:33. Spurgeon said in his commentary “When men are living in sin they go from bad to worse. At first they merely walk in the counsel of the careless and ungodly, who forget God - the evil is rather practical than habitual - but after that, they become habituated to evil, and they stand in the way of open sinners who wilfully violate God's commandments; and if let alone, they go one step further, and become themselves pestilent teachers and tempters of others, and thus they sit in the seat of the scornful. They have taken their degree in vice, and as true Doctors of Damnation they are installed, and are looked up to by others as Masters in Belial.”
But as this Psalm reminds us…….
2. The Path Of Righteous, The Godly Practices This Daily. (2)
“Delights and Meditates” on His Word. He/She is not under the law as a curse and condemnation. But because of the gospel they delight to be in it as their rule of life. They delight to meditate in it, to read it by day, and think upon it by night.
Let me ask you!
Is the Bible your delight?
Do you delight to meditate on His Word?
Do you make it the source for your life?
This delight and meditation is not just a dabbling of your time when you have time in your busy schedule. This is an all-consuming delight and meditation upon the Word, it’s a life consumed by the pages of Scripture. Again I share Spurgeon’s commentary with you “He takes a text and carries it with him all day long; and in the night-watches, when sleep forsakes his eyelids, he museth upon the Word of God. In the day of his prosperity he sings psalms out of the Word of God, and in the night of his affliction he comforts himself with promises out of the same book. “The law of the Lord” is the daily bread of the true believer.” This is what Paul told the pastor to share with the congregation “Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.” I Tim 4:15-16
Why the importance of this? The Psalmist says “He is like a tree planted by streams of water.” (v3)
“Stream” identifies…. the abundance, overflowing supply of strength and sustaining grace of God through His Word. And this stream produces deep roots into… His reservoir which will never run dry, no matter what you face in this life. Jeremiah wrote this to remind us “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit." Jer 17:7-8. Though you and I go through seasons and times of heartache and pain, suffering, disappointments and it seems that God is distant and not caring.
That is furthest from the truth according to the Scriptures. Though we go through times like these, the stream of His grace sustains us and produces deep roots to handle what tomorrow brings. It’s a stream….. that refreshes, revives, renews, cleanses and satisfied those who draw upon it. Remember what Paul told the church “as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,” Eph 5:25-26. It’s God’s Word that sustains us and that is why we delight and meditate on it. “The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.” Psalm 19:7-10
This Living Word produces fruitfulness in every season of your life. (v3) This means….good and bad times, in sickness and in health, triumphs and trials, joys and disappointments. God’s Word proper’s in the heart of the child of God; that produces spiritual fruit that this world knows nothing about or cares to seek after.
This is why we are so blessed
3. The Path Of Righteous, The World Does Not Seek (v4-v6)
A person outside of God and the gospel is a person who lives without God. This is a person who is spiritually, morally, corrupt and the will be condemned and dammed forever. Steve Lawson said “Are the ungodly blessed? Not so! Are they happy? Not so! Fruitful? Not so! They sound outgoing and look successful, but they are not so! The ungodly actually do what God forbids verse one. They walk in the counsel of the wicked; they stand in the way of sinners; and they sit in the seat of mockers. therefore, unlike the righteous who are a tree whose leaf does not wither, and the wicked are like chaff that the wind blows away.”
See! This is a picture during harvest time. The part of the grain known as chaff was discarded as worthless and having no value. This worthless, empty, void, futile, unsubstantial, shallow, worthless chaff will be burned in the fire. Spurgeon said “Every Church has one devil in it. The tares grow in the same furrows as the wheat. There is no floor which is as yet thoroughly purged from chaff. Sinners mix with saints, as der-oss mingles with gold. God's precious diamonds still lie in the same field with pebbles.”
The Psalmist says “The wicked will not stand” (v5) This means they have no defence, or case to plead in a court of Law. They will not have God’s acceptance when they stand before Him in the Last Day. What does that mean? What will happen is they will not stand with the righteous, and they will be exposed for who they truly are. “Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” Rev 20:11-15
This ends with the ungodly who took the low road, the low way, being separated from those who are saved by grace. John penned these sad words “But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death." Rev 21:8. And in His last section of this book he penned these words “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.” Rev 22:12-15. The wicked, the sinner, the scoffer will be righteously condemned forever by a holy and just God if they do not confess to the one true gospel. “The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead." Acts 17:30-31
The question we all need to ask and answer honestly is this…
What path in life am I travelling?
Have I entered through the
narrow gates through the grace of the gospel that leads to life?
Or am I traveling a road that is broad and confessional but not genuine?
The broad road leads to destruction and eternal damnation as Jesus said in His Sermon On The Mount.” And those who enter by it are many” Matt 7:13.
How do I know what path I’m on?
Is their evidence of a transformed life that can confirm
such a claim?
Are you experiencing the blessedness of God’s favour over your life despite your circumstances?
Are you living a separated life, distant from the beliefs
and practices of the ungodly?
Do you delight to rest, read, cherish, and meditate
upon the Written Word?
Not so you can know how to talk Christianize; but seeking after Him, to be more like Christ and to know Him more.
The answer to these questions will be revealed by the road you’re presently on. The Christian life isn’t about mystical experiences, or emotional rushes that make you feel warm and fuzzy. What the Christian life is…. someone who has been transformed and changed by the power of the gospel through the Spirit.
The Gospel produces healthy fruit of…..
1. Personal holiness…. “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.” Rom 6:22
2. Christlike character…. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” Gal 5:22-23
3. Good works…. “So as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” Col 1:10
4. Ministry…. “I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles.” Rom 1:13
5. Stewardship…. “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace” 1 Peter 4:10
And most of all praising God for saving me from myself. The Hebrew writer penned these words “Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” Heb 13:13-16
May the LORD cleanse our hearts and our ways. So that we may escape the doom of the ungodly, and enjoy the blessedness of the righteous! The Gospel made this all possible for you and me.
“Blessed is the man and woman”
who rest here for life and godliness.