Today’s Text and Thoughts of Encouragement:
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me.”
“There is a valley paved with tears
Whose gates my soul must pass,
And to dim sight it yet appears
Darkly as through a glass.
But in its gloom faith sees a light
More glorious than the day;
And all its tears are rainbow bright
When Calvary crowns the way.
Jesus, my Lord, within that veil
Thy footsteps still abide;
And can my heart grow faint or fail
When I have these to guide!
Thy track is left upon the sand
To point my way to Thee;
Thine echoes wake the silent land
To strains of melody.
What though the path be all unknown!
What tough the way be drear!
Its shades I traverse not alone
When steps of Thine are near.
Thy presence, ‘ere it passed above,
Suffused its desert air;
Thy hand has lit the torch of love,
And left it burning there.”
Today’s Study Text:
“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…For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous; but the way of the ungodly shall perish.”
Psalm 1:1, 6
Psalm 1 Part 22
“It might be the devil or it might be the Lord, but you’ve got to serve somebody.”
Who is it that I have chosen to follow in my life?
What decisions have I made which will affect the pathway I travel?
“The decision we all face is this: whether to consciously lock God out of our lives or open the door of our heart and invite Jesus Christ to come in.”
“How long halt ye between two opinions?”
1 Kings 18:21
“Elijah challenged the people: ‘How long are you going to sit on the fence? If God is the real God, follow Him; if it’s Baal, follow him. Make up your minds!’”
1 Kings 18:21
The Message Bible
There are so many interesting words in the English language as I know there are in the hundreds of languages as well as dialects spoken around the globe we call earth. One of the words that I find to be powerful is the word “discernment,” which means “to be able to detect and comprehend what is difficult to perceive.”
Today’s words of inspiration are entitled “Divine Discernment.” If there’s anything that I pray for as a gift from my Father in heaven, it is the ability to discern and perceive the truth of things above. As we’ve carefully studied the book of Psalm 1, it is very important to note the repeated way the writer makes a clear distinction that there are two types of people – the ungodly and the righteous. However, the Psalmist also makes it clear that the ungodly don’t necessarily wear a flashing sign that identifies their true nature. As commentator Matthew Henry observes in his thoughts on Psalm 1: “The wicked should not have a place in the congregation of the righteous; while the righteous shall enter into the kingdom.”
This fact is found throughout Scripture. However, last time I checked, we are in a world right now where the “wicked and profane, ridicule the righteous…and despise them and care not for their company.” This is where you and I have to live right now. Face it – sometimes it is difficult to live in a world where good is mocked and the scoffers are quick to shout when the righteous are burdened with trial and pain, “What do you have to say for your God now? Where is He in the midst of your heartache?”
Sometimes, what hurts the most is the fact that as commentator Henry continues “hypocrites in this world, under the guise of a plausible profession may thrust themselves into the congregation of the righteous and remain undisturbed and undiscovered there.”
Because the hypocrites can blend in, it makes it even more difficult for the righteous to discern the true motives of those who pretend they are walking with God, yet are not! There will come a day, spoken of by Jesus in Matthew 13: 41, 43 that “The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all causes of offense, persons by whom others are drawn into error or sin, and all who do iniquity and act wickedly…Then will the righteous, those who are upright before God shine forth like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.”
The words of Jesus can lead us to draw some conclusions about the Great Day when there is a separation between righteous and the ungodly. Matthew Henry share three specifics we should be keenly aware of about the Great Day:
First, it will be a Day of Discovery. No longer will the tares grow with the wheat. The difference will be obvious for a separation will take place.
Second, it will be a Day of Distinction. God’s children, those who the Psalmist calls the righteous will be invited to the banquet hall clothed in their Savior’s robe of righteousness. The ungodly will not. The righteous will be distinctly different from the unrighteous.
Third, it will be a Day of Final Division. As Henry points out, “You will discern between the righteous and the wicked.” The Godly are “blessed because the Lord knows their way.” The division will last forevermore.
It comes down in the end to the choices and decisions made by both the godly and ungodly. And this is the foundation of Psalm 1. When we read that the godly make wise choices as to who they walk with, where they choose to stand, and finally in the end where they decide to be seated, we can truly comprehend how critical our daily decisions become. However, choices aren’t just made by the godly for we find that the ungodly are also responsible for the destruction they bring down upon themselves. As Henry concludes, “Sinners must bear all the blame. The ungodly perish because the very way in which they have chosen and resolved to walk in leads to destruction and tends toward ruin.”
As we come to the conclusion of our study on Psalm 1 we do ourselves a favor by taking a look at the very first word of this poem, “Blessed” as well as the last word “perish.” A positive emotion begins the Psalm – “happy, fortunate, prosperous, and enviable” are those who walk with God even in the most difficult times of life. Delighting in God and His word brings the rooted strength of a strong, healthy, fruitful tree. But as the Psalmist points out, we also have the choice to take the path that leads to destruction and as this way, the path is one that leads us to lose ourselves as we separate ourselves from the Light of our Life – Jesus Christ. In the end, it is about the choices we have made.
In his thought-provoking commentary on Psalm 1, Richard M. Simpon relates a story about his grandmother:
“I think of my grandmother who in spite of financial struggles chose gratitude, and who in spite of great loss in her life chose hope over despair. Her choices did not negate the fact that life is not always fair. But her choice to see blessing and offer thanksgiving, even in the face of life’s hardships, reminded all who knew her that whatever life brings can be an occasion for responding with fidelity.”
Your choices and mine can set the course of our lives on the way of the godly or the way of the ungodly. May our prayer be that of General Gordon:
“O Lord, whatever the world may say, may we only pay attention to what You are saying to us, and seek only Your approval, which far outweighs any honor or praise that the world might bestow or withhold.”
“Jesus our brother, You followed the necessary path and were broken on our behalf. May we neither cling to our pain where it is futile, nor refuse to embrace the cost when it is required of us; that in losing ourselves for Your sake, we may be brought to new life.”
may we confess Your name to the end.
May we emerge unsullied and glorious
from the traps and dark powers of this world.
As You have bound us together
in love and peace,
and as, together, we have persevered
through times of hardship,
may we also rejoice together
in Your heavenly kingdom.”
St. Cypian of Carthage
(This was written in the year of his martyrdom, to encourage his fellow Christians enduring persecution.)
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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