The world has slowed down, or at least that is the way it feels. At the date of this writing, the United States is in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, as it has been called. Many people are scared and confused. Our lives changed over night. The social distancing has opened the door for a lot of introspection, and self examination. The bigger questions are being asked, and many are at a crossroads. This is the perfect time to explore our passage in Psalm 1.
For context sake, we just saw in the previous installments, what a blessed person looks like. How a lifestyle of devotion and focus on God can create a strong and resilient life. If you want more detail, go back on the blog and read the previous Exploring The Psalms posts. This passage contrasts the culmination of a lifestyle of righteousness versus the lifestyle of the wicked. A godly person, rooted in Christ, can look forward to a long life, and even an eternity, of joy, and the good life, with God. But the life of the wicked is very temporary, and leaves nothing of lasting value. Just a down in the dumps life, always seeking happiness, and never finding it. The end of this kind of life is an eternity of worthless nothingness. Hell isn’t terrible just because it’s hot. Hell is terrible, because God gives you what you want. An eternity without Him. That eternity is just as empty and painful as the life you hated on earth. Being without God is against creation, and how God made everything good. You are created to worship, and be in God’s presence. Without that, you can never be happy and fulfilled, nor can you do anything of lasting value, not in life, or in death.
Let us dig into the passage together. Psalm 1:4-6 says,
“But not the wicked! They are like worthless chaff, scattered by the wind. They will be condemned at the time of judgment. Sinners will have no place among the godly. For the Lord watches over the path of the godly, but the path of the wicked leads to destruction.”(NLT)
To understand this passage, we must define what it means to be the wicked person. The wicked person doesn’t just mean sinner in the general sense. Every person born, has been born a sinner, and that sin nature is why all are called sinners. The sin nature is what makes you desire wrong, bad things, instead of good, right things. All are born sinners, but not all stay that way, nor do they express the inner desires though external action. The wicked in this passage are the people, who choose to live a life of self focus, and self gratifying through sin. They are people who do what they want and what they feel, instead of being born again, and living with God, and by His standards. The wicked, time after time choose selfish choices(aka sin), and eventually that is what defines them. If you are wicked, you have chosen a lifetime of compounded choices to sin. The good news is you don’t have to stay that way. There is grace in Jesus. He died and rose again, so that you can be saved, healed, and delivered from your wickedness. You can move categories, from wicked to righteous. From cursed, to blessed. The key is Jesus, and trusting Him, and His work for your salvation.
The blessed person prospers in all they do( verse 3), but the wicked prospers in nothing in the ultimate sense. Even short term success doesn’t last for the wicked. They end up alone and forgotten. Money doesn’t last. Wealth doesn’t matter in eternity. Being popular fades. Few are remembered more than a generation after their death. But the godly last forever. The Christian has an eternity to be in truly loving fellowship with other people and God. An eternity in community to remember the good that was done in life, and glorify God for His grace and empowerment to do it. Hell on the other hand, is a group of people, together, but alone. People who get to be eternally as selfish as they want to be, which means no one else cares about you in hell, and you rejected the loving God who wanted to be with you from everlasting to everlasting. God doesn’t send people to hell as much as people choose hell because they don’t want God.
The Lord watches over the path of the Godly. That means that He is involved. He is active. God’s hand is working in your life. God watches, guides, and protects. God loves the godly, and is near to the godly. Why is God near to the godly but not the wicked? Does God love one more than the other? No, the godly have come to Christ, and been made righteous by the blood of Christ. Jesus made the way to be close to God, because He removed all sin, and all barriers between man and God. If you draw near to God, He draws near to you. If you seek God, you find Him, because God wants to have union and communion with you. The godly desires God and His presence, so God gives it. God gives people what they want. If they want God, He is near. If they don’t want God, he is distant. God doesn’t force His way into your heart and life.
The path of the wicked leads to destruction. This path leads to destruction because the wages of sin is death( Romans 3:23). Sin kills and destroys. Sin doesn’t just send you to hell. Sin brings hell to your life. The path of the wicked brings destruction, because a lifestyle of sin always produces the experience of hell. If your life is like a literal hell on earth, perhaps you should change your path. Move from sin to God. Repent and give your life to God. Abandon sin, so that you can abandon death and destruction in life. The path of the wicked leads to destruction because it leads to hell. Sin hardens the heart, and reproduces in your life. What used to bother you, no longer does. Your conscience is numb. You destroy all the relationships in your life, whether friends, family, or significant others. And eventually you reject, and keep on rejecting, your Creator. You harden yourself to God, and don’t want Him either. That leads to hell. God made you for heaven. Heaven is only heaven because God is there and His will is done. If you don’t want God, there is nothing left, but hell. So if you are on the wrong path, get on the right one by receiving Christ and what He has done for you. Here are some scriptures to leave you with.
“Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.”
John 3:3 NLT
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”
John 3:16 NLT
“Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved. They will come and go freely and will find good pastures. The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.”
John 10:9-10 NLT
If you don’t know Jesus, I want to give you the opportunity to trust Him for your salvation and receive His finished work by faith. If you want to make Jesus the Lord of your life, simply pray this in your heart, as a way to put your faith in Him. Say, “ Jesus, I make you the Lord of my life. I know I’m a sinner, but I believe. I believe that You are the Son of God. I believe You died on the cross for my sins, and I believe that You rose on the third day for my justification. I ask you to save me now. I receive you by faith. In Jesus’ name. Amen”