December 9, 2012    Psalm 1   The Word 

        How do you view the word of God?   For some Christians it is their life and that is so awesome.   Every day they are in the word and everyday they are thinking about the bible.   For some it is a means to justify themselves.  They look in the bible and see how good they look when in reality they should look in the bible and see how good God is.   For some there can be pride on how much they know the scripture.  When I was in my 20”s I memorized hundreds of verses and 3 whole books of the bible but a lot of it was a pride issue for me.  I became proud of what I knew.   Boy is that a dumb trip.  But we do want to know the scriptures.   We need to know the scriptures not to argue doctrine but to live life.  

    The Bible explained by kids - truth has been redefined!   A church aims to give children a solid background in biblical history. At the end of each year, the children are given pencils and paper and ask them to chronicle what they have learned.   This assignment never fails to elicit some intriguing responses.   Here is an piece that they wrote.     

      In the beginning, which occurred near the start, there was nothing but God, darkness, and some gas.   The Bible says, 'The Lord thy God is one,' but I think He must be a lot older than that Anyway, God said, 'Give me a light!' and someone did    Then God made the world.    He split the Adam and made Eve.    Adam and Eve were naked, but they weren't embarrassed because mirrors hadn't been invented yet.    Adam and Eve disobeyed God by eating one bad apple, so they were driven from the Garden of Eden.     Not sure what they were driven in though, because they didn't have cars.    Adam and Eve had a son, Cain, who hated his brother as long as he was Abel.    Pretty soon all of the early people died off, except for Methuselah, who lived to be like a million or something.  One of the next important people was Noah, who was a good guy, but one of his kids was kind of a ham.    Noah built a large boat and put his family and some animals on it.   He asked some other people to join him, but they said they would have to take a rain check.   After Noah came Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.     Jacob was more famous than his brother, Esau, because Esau sold Jacob his birthmark in exchange for some pot roast.    Jacob had a son named Joseph who wore a really loud sports coat.   That is there comments on Genesis.   I plan to share some more of that in the future.   You will have to come back to hear it.  

     That is kind of humorous and it is ok for children but adult Christians should know the bible.  Some adults who have gone to church for years could not do as good as these kids did in the OT and that is really sad.  Why aren’t we in the scriptures more?    We are busy and life is full.   One survey said that Americans spend 80% of their life working for money or spending money or thinking about money.  That hurts and kind of speaks into our life.   Money or mammon can be an idol.    That is not supposed to be true in a Christian’s life.   We are to be in the bible.    If you read 3 chapters a day in one year you would have read through the NT 4 times.  That would be a great goal for us as a church next year.    God expects and has commanded us to read his word.    II Timothy 2:15 study to show yourself approved or NIV do your best to present yourself to God as one approved a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.   Jesus said if you continue in my words then you are my disciples indeed and you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.   People are in bondage who do not know the book – this book – the bible.  A lost man is not free.   A person who is headed for hell is not free.   We tend to look at some people and say wow that guy has money.   The reality is if he does not know the bible and walk in its truths he is in bondage.     That is what God says about us.  We need to know the book.  And as you get to know the book the bible you will be set free.   Billy Graham said the bible will keep you from sin or sin will keep you from the bible.   In John 15 Jesus told the disciples now you are clean through the word that I have spoken unto you.   The words of Jesus washed and cleansed and changed them.   They were different men because they walked with Jesus.  The Jewish leaders in Acts said that the disciples were unlearned and ignorant men but noted that they had been with Jesus.   My life is different because of Jesus.   Your life is different because of Jesus. You are here today because Jesus has changed you.    In Acts 2 the people devoted themselves to the Apostles teaching.   They devoted themselves to the things of God.   The Bereans.   God was an important part of their life.  

    God wants us to know his word.   It is God’s love letter to us.   The Psalmist here tells us what a man of God does.   The man of God is in the book.  He meditates on it.  Probably what they had back in those days was the law because for one reason he is writing the Psalms and the NT was certainly not written then.   There is more than one author of Psalms by the way though David wrote most of them.   God’s word was hand written in those days – it certainly was before the printing press, and the people were taught and had at least some access to the law.  They had access and copies of the first 5 books of the OT that Moses wrote and he says blessed is the person who does not walk in the wisdom and counsel of the wicked nor goes in the way of sinners or sits around mocking.  It is not good to mock, ridicule and complain. 

     The person is blessed who does not do that.   The blessed person is thinking about God’s word.   He or she is chewing on it.  She is thinking about it.   This person absorbs and meditates on what God has said.  They ponder the word of God.   They think about how it fits into her life.   They apply the words to their life.   They obey what God has said.   They study the bible so they may be more like God.   What is the value of doing that?   Well God blesses them.   They are blessed not by partying in the world.   Not by having a great time doing their own thing.   It is not the world that is filling their cup but God is filling their life.  Blessed is the man who walks with God.    People can look for happiness in all the wrong places.   They may find some quick joy but sin always has a bite to it.   Sin always has the last word.   For those who walk with God there is an atmosphere of God around them and sweetness in their presence.   God tells us here and in Joshua 1 that we will prosper in everything we do.   Those that want God to bless them will get into the book.    David says in Psalm 19 your word is better to me than honey and it is sweeter than honey.   It is also more precious than gold yes it is better than much fine gold.   The word refreshes me and builds me up.    This book is worth more than gold yes much fine gold.  

      Did you ever watch the Antiques Road Show?   One show I watched the person bought a home and one day he found an old helmet that was stuck in rafters in the attic.   It had all kinds of precious stones in it and it was determined that it was several hundred years old.      This helmet or crown was worth about ¾ of million.   There must have been a real story behind that.   Someone must have hid it and probably suddenly passed away and the house was sold not knowing what was in it.   Attics must be a good place to hide things.   There is not much in my attic I know because we rebuilt the house by taking the roof off.    The value of this book is hidden from so many people.   It is precious, precious, precious.   They do not know how important and valuable it is.    We have an old treasure that has passed through the ages of times and the changes of cultures.   It is a great treasure the word of God.   Jesus said my words will not pass away.   This world will pass away and my house will pass away some day but not the word of God and the souls of men.

     Those that commit to learning and applying God’s word to their life are wise.   They are building into eternity.   Do you want a full and fruitful life then dig into the word of God.  John tells us that the word became flesh.   Jesus took upon him the form of man born of a virgin.   Peter in the NT tells us that we are born again by the word of God.   But I want you to know that we do not worship this book.   This book is made of ink and paper.   This book is not Jesus.  We worship Jesus.   This book comes alive to us by the power of God’s spirit.  God’s word and his spirit can live in us.  The man who lives in this book and absorbs this book is blessed.  He is blessed by God.  He is impacting eternity.   He is being used to establish God’s will on earth as we apply God’s word to our life.  

     The Psalmist said this man is planted by the rivers of water and that he is fruitful.  This tree is planted.   It did not just spring up.   It is not there by chance.   The tree has a purpose.   Our life has a purpose.   God has put us where we are at.   There is meaning and purpose to this tree and to our life. This tree is fruitful.      He or she brings forth fruit in his or her season.  His life does not wither.  I personally believe that does not mean that there are not dry times in our walk with God but I believe even in the dry times that God is doing a great work.  Fruit that abounds into eternity is produced when the vines are pruned by the Father.    I also believe that in those dry times God uses us.  God has answered my prayers even in my dry times.   I suspect that in July and August when the ground tends to be dry that the trees push those roots down deeper into the soil to get water.   There is a purpose for those dry seasons.   Do you think that churches have dry seasons and winter seasons?  I see periods of great growth in Acts with the early church.  There were periods of persecution and times when the church was dispersed.     There were times of great growth and times when it seemed like there was rest.   Trees rest.     The broad leap trees around here have dropped their leaves for the winter and it is a season of rest.  

    A large apple tree can absorb 95 gallons of water a day in the summer.   That is a lot of water when there is not much water around.   That is like 20 five gallon buckets of water.   That is a lot of water.  The trees have produced their fruit for the season.   We need our rest also and some of that rest comes from spending time in God’s word.   The word points us to God.   The word encourages us.   The bible helps us to deal with life’s issues.  Our inner man is renewed and refreshed by the bible.   We dig deep into his word to grow strong and mature as Christians.   I don’t know if you noticed the trees around here but they are tall.   They grew together so they push up to get sunlight.     If you cut the other trees around it and a strong wind or storm comes most likely the tree will fail.   It needs a few seasons to strengthen its trunk.   Brothers and sisters the winds blow in our lives also.   The trials of life will hit us.   Those winds are meant to prepare us for the next thing and the next battle.  

     This Psalm says not so the wicked.   The wicked will not stand.  They will be like the chaff that the wind blows away.   They would take an ox or two and put the wheat on the ground and have the ox drag wood beams over it and it would separate the wheat the heavy grain from the stems and leaves that were dried out.   They would take that mixture on a hill and throw it in the air letting the breeze blow the chaff away and then gather the wheat.    The chaff could be burned or put back into the soil.   The wicked are like the chaff.   It does not have the same value.   The sheep and the goats will be separated according to Jesus in Matthew.   The wicked will not stand before God.   Everybody will come before God and bow before Jesus but the wicked will not pass God’s judgment.   It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.   None of us want our lives to be worthless and second best.

  - Charles Reade  In a British cemetery are these words:   Pause my friend, as you walk by     As you are now, so once was I     As I am now so you will be     Prepare my friend, to follow me.    
A visitor added,   To follow you is not my intent   Until I know which way you went! 
Destiny is determined not so much by chances but by choices.   The wise man - the wise woman walks with God and walks according to the book.   Is the bible a treasure to you?   Is it more valuable than gold yea much fine gold or is there dust on your bible?   Be wise and make this book a close friend.