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Doesn’t Make Sense?
My brothers and sisters, as we’ve said before: if you want to get the most out of Microsoft Windows, doesn’t it make sense to follow the instruction of Bill Gates, the creator of Microsoft Windows?
If you want to get the most out of an iPhone, doesn’t it make sense to follow the instruction of Apple – the creator of the iPhone? If you want to get the most out of a Civic, doesn’t it make sense to follow the instruction of Honda – the creator of the Civic?
My brothers and sisters, if you want to get the most out of your life, does it not make sense to follow the instructions of the LORD – the Creator of Life?
And believe it or not, life is a lot more complex that smartphones, computers, and cars!
Why would you take the advice of creatures over the directions of the Creator? 1
Do You Read Instruction Manuals?
Now what is the first thing you do when you buy something new and you see the instruction manual? If you are anything like me, you toss that bad boy to the side and try to figure things out on your own.
I don’t need no instruction manual! The only time I look at the instructions, is when I have a problem. And many times, people don’t even read God’s instructions until they have a problem.
Many don’t read the Bible until they’re in trouble. Many don’t pray until disaster strikes. We’ll live our lives not listening to God’s word, and then turn around and want God to listen to our words. Especially when we’re in trouble.
Many people don’t want to believe in Father God; they want to believe in a Fairy Godfather – a god who helps us overcome our personal problems and reach our personal dreams. They want to believe in a God who lives to serve them, not a God who wants us to live to serve Him.
God is Sovereign. He can do what He wants, when He wants, and how He wants to do it. He may answer the prayers of the wicked. But, my brothers and sisters, be forewarned. As we find in Proverbs 15:29:
The LORD is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous. (Pr 15:29, NIV)
The LORD detests the sacrifice of the wicked, but the prayer of the upright pleases him. (Pr 15:8, NIV)
And Proverbs 28:9 says:
If anyone turns a deaf ear to my instruction [torah], even their prayers are detestable. (Pr 28:9, NIV)2
The word says that if anyone ignores God’s directions, their prayers are an abomination (cf. Pr 28:9, NRSV).
This is why it’s important to follow God’s directions, to meditate on His instruction manual day and night (Ps 1:2) – not just when we have problems. By doing so, perhaps we can avoid some problems in the first place.
Interestingly, some communities took this literally (i.e., at Qumran) and would rotate people so someone was literally expounding upon Scripture every hour of the day and night.3 But this is likely metaphorical language (hyperbole or merism).4
In any case, when we need direction in life, we often want to hear from the LORD. We want voicemail. But have we checked His text messages? Have we read His divine directions? Have we studied His instructions?
These are not mere commands between Master and slaves,5 but instructions from Creator to creature – that we creatures might fulfill the purpose for which we were created.
Psalm 1, Step 1
As we’ve said, Psalm 1 is an introduction to all five books of the Psalms. Psalms that are full of worship and cries of joy, as well as pleas and cries of anguish.
By placing Psalm 1 in the beginning, this likely implies that before we come to praise the LORD, before we come to pray to the LORD, we better be following the principles of the LORD6 (cf. Pr 1:1-7; Psalm 15, 24).7
The psalms are the songs of God’s people.8 Before they sing them, people must make sure they’re walking godly.
In conclusion, my brothers and sisters, do we determine our life’s purpose or do we discern our life’s purpose? Are we walking our own way in life or are we walking in the unpopular but ultimately more fulfilling way of the LORD?
We must follow God’s directions. When we cook, when we take medication, when we operate heavy machinery: we know it’s important to follow directions. Not doing so can have catastrophic consequences.
And not following God’s directions can have everlasting catastrophic consequences.
Many parents know how frustrating it is when children don’t follow their directions – even when parents know that their directions are for the best.
How much more do you think our heavenly Father is frustrated with us, when we don’t follow His directions – even when He knows they’re for the best?
So, let’s make our heavenly Father proud and follow His directions. Let’s not let His instruction manual just sit on the shelf.
As we’ve seen and as we know, music can move us. And, I hope this Psalm 1 moves you and becomes one of your favorite songs. I hope it becomes a song that sticks with you even when you’re at the twilight of life.
For there are ultimately two ways to live life: the way contrary to God’s character, and the way conforming to God’s character. We can live life as directed, or live life as selected. We can Walk His Way or try to walk our own way.
Let’s not try to be the lords of our own lives, let’s let the caring LORD be the Lord of the lives He gave us. We have to give up our autonomy, and surrender our self-centeredness.11
We Americans love to be independent. Our Declaration of Independence tells us we have the divine right of “the pursuit of happiness”.12 But we really have the divine requirement of the pursuit of holiness.13
True happiness entails rejecting the ways of the wicked and accepting the way of the Waymaker —14 not living life according to our own selections, but according to God’s directions.
With the help of the Holy Spirit, who empowers us to bear the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23), and by meditating on the instruction of the LORD day and night, let us not be comfortable or walk in the counsel of the wicked, but in the way of the Wonderful Counselor.
3 And they are like a tree (trans)planted by streams of water;
which gives fruit in its season;
and whose leaf does not wither;
whatever they do prospers. (Ps 1:3, AT)
4 Not so the wicked;
but rather, they are like chaff that the wind blows away. (Ps 1:4, AT)
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment;
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. (Ps 1:5, AT)
6 For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish. (Ps 1:6, AT)
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