Ron Graham was called home on March 14, 2013. He began writing this commentary before his death and had asked me, Nathele Graham, to continue his service to our Lord by finishing what he began.
The Psalms are probably one of the most read books of the Bible, but the least studied. King David wrote most of them and he was a man who took his joy, sorrow, anger, and confusion before the Lord. Many, many centuries have passed since the Psalms were written, but we still find strength and guidance in them.
When we are in need of comfort we go to the 23rd Psalm. When we commit sin and fall short of what we know God expects of us we humbly turn to Psalm 51. One of my favorite psalms is the first one:
“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful” (Psalm 1:1).
The word “blessed” is translated from the Hebrew word, esher and it means happiness or blessedness. The psalmist tells what a blessed man doesn’t do. He doesn’t take advice or follow in the steps of someone who doesn’t love God. He also doesn’t stand in the way (follow) of sinners.
This means we are to be careful who you go through life with and the friendships we make. If we join ourselves to non-believers they will have a strong influence upon us. The “seat of the scornful” is the atheist mocker. Atheists not only deny the existence of God but also harass and make fun of believers.
We all need advice once in a while but if we go to someone who does not base decisions upon God’s ways we will get ungodly answers. The apostle Paul wrote many letters and one was written to Titus and it was written to advise him on how to be a better pastor. Paul had left Titus in Crete to bring order to the Ekklesia there. Crete was a rather wild place and Paul’s advice echoes Psalm 1:
“But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1).
From there he goes on to tell how to advise older men:
“That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience” (Titus 2:2).
This is the kind of advice Christians need to take to heart. How about the women?
“The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed” (Titus 2:3-5).
This doesn’t sound like advice you will get from “Dear Abby.” This is solid Christian teaching. Next he tells Titus how to advise the young men.
“Young men, likewise exhort to be sober minded. In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you” (Titus 2:6-9).
People who do not know God cannot give godly advice, so to be happy one must walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly or follow their ways. Even believers can be walking outside the will of God and their counsel should be avoided.
“But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night” (Psalm 1:2).
Although the word “meditate” is used, this isn’t talking about the eastern religions that encourage you to empty your mind and allow whatever demon happens to be passing to fill the void. This means to study God’s Word and think about it day and night…to chew on it in order to understand and take delight in it. If you are following worldly ways you will never be truly happy.
When you please God, you find His peace. Sure, you may look at worldly people you know who seem happy and think they have things pretty well figured out, but do they have God’s peace? So many celebrities have fame and fortune, but the reality is they are not happy. So many take many drugs or drink to excess, always searching but never finding the blessed happiness they think money can buy. They are walking in the counsel of the ungodly. It would be so much better to delight in the law of the LORD.
“And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper” (Psalm 1:3).
Trees grow strong and tall. A tree that is near the water has an abundant supply of water and nutrients. We take shelter under its limbs, we cool in the shade of its leaves, and we are nourished by its fruit. Christians have a source of water that will never fail.
“In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water” (John 7:37-38).
The more we allow the Holy Spirit to work in us the more fruit we will bear.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is not law” (Galatians 5:22-23).
If we stand in the way of sinners or sit on the seat of the scornful we will never be like the tree planted by the rivers of water. We will not bear the fruit of the Spirit.
“The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away” (Psalm 1:4).
The chaff is the part of the wheat that is useless. The wheat is gathered from the fields but before it is able to be used for flour the chaff has to be removed. John the Baptist used the chaff as an example when he was asked if he was the Christ.
“John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable” (Luke 3:16-17).
There will come a day when Jesus will call His followers Home, and those who do not know Him as Lord and Savior will be left behind and burned in the fires of damnation. It will be their choice, because today is the day to make a decision to accept Christ’s free gift of salvation. The offer is there for everyone, but it will not be forced upon anyone. It is a choice each individual has to make.
“Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous” (Psalm 1:5).
Ungodly people cannot stand upright before Jesus. Judgment will come all too soon.
“For it is written, ‘As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God’” (Romans 14:11).
Saint and sinner alike will bow before Jesus. The truth is, we are all sinners and no one is righteous. As Christians we know that our righteousness is only through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. The ungodly have a choice and can accept Him or reject Him. The sad truth is that many will never accept Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection and will be as the chaff thrown into the unquenchable fire.
Christians must stand strong on our faith and allow our example to influence those who have not found salvation. The lost of this world need to come to us for advice rather than us going to them. We need to take our advice and guidance for God’s Word.
“For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish” (Psalm 1:6).
Jesus made it very clear that He is the way:
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).
That means that a guru cannot lead you to heaven, nor Mohammed, Joseph Smith, or a New Ager. There is only one way. Jesus is the Way. Do you know Him? If you are concerned about where you will spend eternity, don’t walk in the counsel of the ungodly. Their counsel will only lead to you to choose to spend eternity in the Lake of Fire. Turn to God for guidance; seek the counsel of a Christ centered Christian. Our righteousness only comes from Jesus and our joy is sharing Christ’s finished work on the cross.
God bless you all,