Theme: The Way of the Righteous
In these lessons we see that our growth in holiness is dependent upon our being grounded in the Word of God, which points us to the Lord Jesus Christ as the only source of salvation and sanctification.
Scripture: Psalm 1
Over against the way of the ungodly, the psalmist sets the way of the righteous. And everything that is said to be lacking in the case of the one is present in the other. Is it true that the wicked will not stand in God’s judgment? Yes. Then, the righteous will stand; he will be justified by the work of Jesus Christ. Is it true that the wicked will be like chaff that the wind blows away? Yes. Then, the righteous will not be like chaff, but rather like grain.
Moreover, he will be “like a tree, planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither” (v. 3). The difference here is the difference between life and death. Chaff is dead, dried out, worthless. The tree that is planted by the rivers of living water is alive and brings forth fruit in its season. It prospers. The psalmist says that the righteous man is like that.
This brings us to the big question of the psalm: How do we prosper? Obviously, we have to have the right relationship to God, but how do we establish that right relationship? What makes the difference between the two ways? The answer is no mystery. It is found in the center of the psalm. “His delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night” (v. 2). That is the stream of living water beside which the fruitful tree is planted. That is the source of life. The man who prospers is the man who meditates on the Word of God. For him the Bible has become a way of life.
You may say, “Well, I have known some Christian people who have not prospered in material things.” That is true. But that is not the kind of prosperity about which this psalm is speaking. Sometimes God leads the righteous through difficult times. But there is a prosperity that flourishes even in difficult times. It is the prosperity of the soul. The soul that is nurtured on the Word of God is life, joy, and beauty to all around it.
Have you ever thought of what the Word of God provides in our lives if we allow it to do what God intends it to do?
The first thing is the administration of life itself because it is through the Word that we are born again. I think of 1 Peter 1:23 where Peter says, “You have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring Word of God.” When we think of the word “seed,” we think of seeds in the ground, the kind we plant. That is not what Peter had in mind. Peter is using sexual imagery. He is using the word “semen.” He is saying that the Word of God is the spiritual seed of God, which enters our hearts through the preaching of the Word and brings forth life. That new life is the life of God. I believe one can say that nobody ever came to faith apart from the ministry of the Word, for it is through the Word that we find life.
Second, the Word of God is responsible for our sanctification or growth in holiness. The Lord Jesus Christ spoke about it Himself in John 17:17 when he said, “Sanctify them by the truth.” Then, lest we misunderstand what He was referring to, He continued, “Your Word is truth.” In other words, “make them holy by your Word.”
How do you become holy? David asked that question. He asked, “How can a young man keep his way pure?” He answered, “By living according to your word” (Ps. 119:9). When we read the Word of God, the Holy Spirit speaks to our hearts to show us the sin that is there and then brings us to the point of confessing the sin. Then He sets the way of blessing before us.
What are the streams of water in this psalm?
What does it mean for the Christian to yield fruit in its season?
From the study, how does the Christian prosper?
What are the first two things the Word of God provides?
Reflection: What things do you struggle with that keep you from delighting in the Word of God?
Application: How will you try to cultivate a delighting in the law of the Lord?