Monday, June 22, 2009

The Psalms: Week One

Yesterday we started our new message series titled The Psalms: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. We are going to spend six weeks studying a few individual psalms. Our first psalm of study was Psalm One.

Psalm 1
1Blessed 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.
2But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.
3He 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.
4Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away.
5Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor the sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
6For the Lord watches over the ways of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

Jeff reminded us that the Psalms are not to be read as daily devotionals but as spiritual journals. Daily devotionals are generally purposed to encourage you each day but some of the psalms have angry or depressed moods. They won't all make you feel good.

Why aren't the psalms organized according to the various moods/tones? Perhaps because life is messy and consists of a variety of moods/tones at different times. Thus, the psalms are a reflection of real life.

The psalms remind us that God wants us to praise Him but to also bring Him our hurts, sturggles, and wide variety of emotions. There's nothing we can't tell Him or that He can't handle.

What does it mean to be blessed? Supremely happy, fortunate, envied, lucky (in the way that you don't deserve what you have received).

Verse 1 talks about the relational progression into the sinful life > walk...stand...sit. An example of this progression is found in Genesis 13,19 with Lot. He chooses the land that contains Sodom and Gomorrah (even though he knew the people of the cities were wicked and sinful) and sets up his tent outside of Sodom. He then moves into the city to live. Finally we find him sitting in the gateway of the city (as a leader). He was eventually drawn into what he knew from the beginning was harmful. From this is asked, "Who influences you? From whom do you seek council?"

Verse two talks about the blessed man delighting in and meditating on the law of the Lord. Jeff explained that delighting in the law means to want to know what it says. To meditate on it is to think about it. Worry is negative meditation - thinking and mulling something over and over. If you can worry, you can meditate on God's word and it'll be a lot more productive.

Suggestions for Meditating: 1. Choose a time and place. 2. Ask God to meet you in scripture. 3. Read. 4. Meditate on a brief passage.

We were given an outline for meditating using the acrostic S.O.A.P. (Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer)

2 Timothy 3:15-17 (Message) "There's nothing like the written Word of God for showing you the way to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful in one way or another - showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God's way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us."

What a great reminder. At the end, we were challenged to follow a reading plan that was given to us to help us read through the entire book of Psalms during our series. We were also challenged to use the S.O.A.P. acrostic to meditate on scriptures within our reading.

Personal Application: I am taking up the challenge to follow the reading plan through the end of the series. I am also going to use the S.O.A.P. acrostic to meditate on what I read. Jeff mentioned that writing down what you learn helps you to apply it. I really do want to "do what it says" rather than just hear it (James 1:22). I want to be blessed. I do delight in God's Word, though I certainly don't always act like it. I also desire to yield much fruit and that comes from applying what I know. Hopefully this exercise will help.

If you'd like to hear the full message, click here. It may not be up for a few days because Neal's at camp and he is in charge of uploads.

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