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Pondering the Psalms (Psalm 1, Part 8)

My friend Frank and I have an agreement, a covenant, which we have followed for several years. We read the same chapter in God’s Word each day for a week and then drop each other a short email about what we have learned. We then move to the next chapter the next week. I describe our modest online Bible study here. You might want to try this with a friend or relative.

We’ve now embarked on a journey of reading through the book of Psalms! So this week we’re reading Psalm 1 each day for a week, then on to Psalm 2, etc. Whew! I’ll post a few comments on our Psalm of the week that I pray will be an encouragement to you.

Let’s think about the last verse of Psalm 1 today.

1. We get God’s conclusion of the whole matter in this last verse! We’ve learned that the blessed person makes several key negative choices. But he is also marked by delighting in God’s Word and using his mind to meditate on God’s truth.

2. We discover that God loves similes. The righteous are fruit-bearing trees while the wicked are like wind-blown chaff.

3. The wicked will not survive God’s judgment but be separated from God and His people forever.

4. Now we learn of God’s summary of the matter. All of humanity will be divided into two and only two categories: (1) those who are described as “righteous” and (2) those who are described as “wicked.” And God responds to both groups. He “watches over the way of the righteous,” we are told. This certainly seems to imply His approval, His protection, His covenant love. But, we are told, “the way of the wicked leads to destruction.” Destruction in the Scriptures is not annihilation. When my son was a teenager he “destroyed” our car by running it into a ditch. But the car still existed.

Today’s Challenge: If the gospel is true — and it is — then all of humanity falls into one of two categories. If you are in the category of “the righteous”, may I ask you for whom in the category of “the wicked” are you praying?

 
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Posted by on October 19, 2021 in Psalm 1

 

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The Theology of Calvin . . . and Hobbes (Parenting Guilt)

 
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Posted by on October 18, 2021 in Calvin & Hobbes

 

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Pondering the Psalms (Psalm 1, Part 7)

My friend Frank and I have an agreement, a covenant, which we have followed for several years. We read the same chapter in God’s Word each day for a week and then drop each other a short email about what we have learned. We then move to the next chapter the next week. I describe our modest online Bible study here. You might want to try this with a friend or relative.

We’ve now embarked on a journey of reading through the book of Psalms! So this week we’re reading Psalm 1 each day for a week, then on to Psalm 2, etc. Whew! I’ll post a few comments on our Psalm of the week that I pray will be an encouragement to you.

Let’s think about verses 4-5 today.

1. Please notice that a simile is also used of “the wicked.” While the blessed person is likened to a productive fruit tree, the wicked person is “like chaff.” And not just any chaff, but chaff “that the wind blows away.” They have no stability and, needless to say, they don’t produce any edible fruit! Try living on chaff for a while!

2. It is certainly true that our good works play no part in saving us. However, believers are called to good works once they are in God’s family. The normal Christian life is to be one of fruitfulness, both personal (note the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5) and public (spreading the seed of God’s Word, doing good works both to believers and unbelievers). The last thing any of us should want is to see our works burned up as wood, hay, and stubble on the Day of Judgment (I Corinthians 3:15).

3. Don’t fail to note that “the wicked” will not stand in the judgment. This doesn’t mean they won’t be there. It means they won’t survive God’s holy judgment. These are also described as “sinners” who won’t stand “in the assembly of the righteous.” For all eternity evil and evil doers will be excluded from the people of God.

Today’s Challenge: All who have not yet trusted Christ are in the category of “the wicked.” What steps are you taking to reach “the wicked” that you know? Are they on your prayer list? Let one of them know that you are praying for them today!

 
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Posted by on October 17, 2021 in Psalm 1

 

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The Theology of Calvin . . . and Hobbes (Vacation)

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Posted by on October 16, 2021 in Calvin & Hobbes

 

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Pondering the Psalms (Psalm 1, Part 6)

My friend Frank and I have an agreement, a covenant, which we have followed for several years. We read the same chapter in God’s Word each day for a week and then drop each other a short email about what we have learned. We then move to the next chapter the next week. I describe our modest online Bible study here. You might want to try this with a friend or relative.

We’ve now embarked on a journey of reading through the book of Psalms! So this week we’re reading Psalm 1 each day for a week, then on to Psalm 2, etc. Whew! I’ll post a few comments on our Psalm of the week that I pray will be an encouragement to you.

Let’s think about verse three today.

1. I love good metaphors, don’t you? While both similes and metaphors are used to make comparisons, the difference between similes and metaphors comes down to a word. Similes use the words like or as to compare things—“Life is like a box of chocolates.” In contrast, metaphors directly state a comparison—“Love is a battlefield.” In our verse this morning, the believer who chooses not to side with the wicked but instead delights in and meditates on God’s Word is described as “like a tree.” That’s a simile.

2. My earliest memories of trees are not so positive. I remember slamming into a tree on my bike. And the tree won. On my 10th birthday I wanted to climb a tree in my backyard and my friend Tate was already climbing it. I pulled him down and proceeded (on my birthday) to climb that tree. A wasp nest fell on me and I was stung numerous times.

3. But here being compared to a tree is a very positive thing! Notice (1) this tree is planted by streams of water. Not in the desert or near a dried up creek bed or by a stagnant pond. But “by streams of water.” How refreshing! Notice also (2) that this tree is fruitful! It produces appropriate fruit when it should and even its leaves don’t wither and die. So it’s a fruit tree!

In a world obsessed with prosperity, this kind of fruitfulness is commended by God Himself. And this kind of simile ought to make us smile!

Today’s Challenge: Do you see yourself as a fruitful, well-nourished tree that is prospering in your walk with Christ? Don’t miss this challenging figure of speech about your life. And mine.

 
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Posted by on October 15, 2021 in Psalm 1

 

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The Theology of Calvin . . . and Hobbes (Death-2)

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Posted by on October 14, 2021 in Calvin & Hobbes

 

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Pondering the Psalms (Psalm 1, Part 5)

My friend Frank and I have an agreement, a covenant, which we have followed for several years. We read the same chapter in God’s Word each day for a week and then drop each other a short email about what we have learned. We then move to the next chapter the next week. I describe our modest online Bible study here. You might want to try this with a friend or relative.

We’ve now embarked on a journey of reading through the book of Psalms! So this week we’re reading Psalm 1 each day for a week, then on to Psalm 2, etc. Whew! I’ll post a few comments on our Psalm of the week that I pray will be an encouragement to you.

Let’s think about verse two for a little while.

1. Although the Psalm began with some negatives in the Christian life, we now are challenged with a strong positive: “but whose delight is in the law of the Lord . . .” Doesn’t “delight” surprise you a bit? In place of siding with the wicked and the mockers, the blessed person has something he or she can really rejoice in — God’s law!

2. But what if a person doesn’t “delight” in God’s law? If God’s law refers to His truth, His guidance about what is honorable and worthy of praise, how could one not delight in it? If one’s delight is wasted on anything else, what does that say about that person?

3. But notice also that one’s delight in God’s law is acted on. How? By meditating on God’s law day and night! We focus on what we delight in, don’t we? “Delighting in” means we esteem something greatly. And what we esteem greatly we think about, we ponder, we mediate on.

Today’s Challenge: Would you say you “delight” in God’s law, in His truths? Does that lead you to take the time to meditate on what He has revealed to us? If not, why not?

 
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Posted by on October 13, 2021 in Psalm 1

 

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The Theology of Calvin . . . and Hobbes (Death)

 
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Posted by on October 12, 2021 in Calvin & Hobbes

 

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Pondering the Psalms (Psalm 1, Part 4)

My friend Frank and I have an agreement, a covenant, which we have followed for several years. We read the same chapter in God’s Word each day for a week and then drop each other a short email about what we have learned. We then move to the next chapter the next week. I describe our modest online Bible study here. You might want to try this with a friend or relative.

We’ve now embarked on a journey of reading through the book of Psalms! So this week we’re reading Psalm 1 each day for a week, then on to Psalm 2, etc. Whew! I’ll post a few comments on our Psalm of the week that I pray will be an encouragement to you.

Let’s think about this first verse just one more time this morning.

1. We’ve noticed that there are some negatives in the Christian life. The third negative is that the blessed person does not “sit in the company of mockers . . .” What does that mean? We know that those who mock the things of God, especially if they continue throughout their lives to reject the gospel, will be eternally separated from God and the people of God. Many verses in Scripture testify to the fact that unbelievers will have no part in the Kingdom of God but will be cast out of His presence at the judgment.

2. If that final exclusion is true, then believers should not now join mockers in their rebellious rejection of the truths of God. Allow me to emphasize that this does not mean that we can choose to isolate ourselves from sinners. That is not the Jesus way. He was a friend of sinners (Mt. 11) and we should be as well!

3. So what does this verse mean? “Sitting in the company of mockers” implies agreement with, support of, those who not only turn away from God, but ridicule those who trust in Him. And that the blessed believer is not supposed to do!

Today’s Challenge: Watched any late night comedy TV? Have you noticed how they will often mock the things of God? Don’t laugh with them! Pray for them.

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2021 in Psalm 1

 

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The Theology of Calvin . . . and Hobbes (Habits)

 
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Posted by on October 10, 2021 in Calvin & Hobbes

 

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