Jump Start # 2364
Psalms 1:2 “But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.”
Recently I preached in a couple of places from this first chapter in Psalms. It is a description of the righteous man. This is why he is righteous. The chapter begins by telling us what he doesn’t do. The righteous does not walk in the counsel of the wicked. He does not stand in the path of sinners. And he does not sit with scoffers. You see a progression there. Walking, standing, sitting. Hearing, thinking, and joining.
The righteous knows what is right. He’s not interested in what advice the wicked has to offer. He is going a different direction. He follows the Lord and he is aware that the outcome of the wicked is bad. The chapter ends with the wicked perishing. The righteous knows this.
Our verse today, the second verse in this chapter, describes what the righteous man does. He doesn’t do some things, but then on the other hand, he is busy doing other things. He is delighting in God’s law and he is chewing or meditating upon that law. That law is making a difference in his life. It is shaping his heart and molding his character. He is becoming righteous because of God.
What is fascinating about verse one and verse two is the one-two description of the righteous man. I find that missing today. So often we like verse one. We will define our faith in negatives. What is a Christian, someone asks? We respond, “A Christian doesn’t cuss. A Christian doesn’t tell lies. A Christian isn’t a cheat. A Christian doesn’t believe in abortion.” And, all we have done is explain what a Christian doesn’t do. For some, that is the totality of their faith. They are a “do nothing” group of people. We don’t do nothing. Some churches are just like that.
But, here, we are given verse two. Our verse today. It’s positive. It’s action. It’s what a righteous person does. We need to be reminded of this. The righteous man is doing things. He is not doing what the wicked does, but he is busy. He is busy doing what God wants. At the end of the parable of the good Samaritan, Jesus said, “Go and DO thou likewise.” Go and do this. He didn’t say, “Go and tell this.” Nor, “Go and believe this.” Paul told the Galatians, “as you have opportunity let us DO good to all men, especially those of the household of faith.” Let us DO something. Both James and John wrote about seeing needs but not acting upon them. We have turned Christianity into a white collar thinking proposition. We sit around and think things. We debate things. We argue about things. Talk. Talk. Talk. Long on the talk but short on the doing. Looking at the New Testament, we get a different picture. It’s a blue collar, roll up your sleeves, and get busy type of faith. The judgment scene in Matthew 25 was not based upon a test of their knowledge, but rather what they had done. There were some hungry, did you feed them? What about the thirsty? What about those in prison? It was all about action.
The righteous man, from the opening chapter of Psalms, is doing things. And, these things have a positive result in his life. He stands like a tree firmly planted. He has a foundation. He is prosperous, not in a selfish way, but in a godly way. He endures. Year after year, that ole’ tree is still standing. Through the snows. Through the violent spring storms. Through summer’s droughts. Year after year. It’s putting out fruit, shade and hope. That righteous man is just like that tree.
We must wonder if our families and the world has ever seen the positive side of Christianity? Have they seen good being done by our hands? They probably know what we’re against, but do they know what we are for? Have they seen anything valuable being done by us for the kingdom?
I remember being in antique swap shop and looking at a gizmo that was very odd. The owner tried to get me to buy it. It didn’t cost that much, but my question was, “What does it do?” It was sitting on his shelf and I think he wanted me to pay money so it would sit on my self. He wasn’t sure what it did, but he sure thought I needed it. The world sure needs Christians, but sometimes we wonder, what do they do?
Here is a short list of the upside of Christianity:
- We illustrate God’s word. We take it off the pages and are living it daily in our lives. Some see forgiveness, kindness and hope for the first time. They see marriages that are strong. They see the heart of a servant. It’s one thing to poke your finger in the air and declare these things. It’s something else to show them by the way you live.
- We show worship that is Biblical, helpful, practical and useful. Worship doesn’t have to change to golden calves and strange fire to be connected to lives today. Sermons that are answering today’s questions. Bible classes that bring the Scriptures alive. Singing that is meaningful and robust. Prayers that touch the heart of God. For too many, church is either lifeless or turned into a rock concert. There is little connection between Sunday and Monday morning. Our faith touches every day of our lives. Christ truly lives in our hearts. It shows by our choice of words. It shows by our attitudes. It shows by how we handle a difficult day.
- We bring hope into a world of hopelessness and fantasy. Contentment because we are Heaven bound. Hope because God is upon the throne. Christians go through bad days. Christians have car accidents, surgeries, pets that die, kids that mess up, loss of jobs, parents that are demanding, and stress and heartache. However, in the midst of all these things, the Christian has God. He has hope. He sees past the darkness of the storms. Even though he travels through those dark, dark valleys, he knows that God is with him. This hope is seen in how he handles troubles. This hope is seen in funerals and emergency waiting rooms, and late night phone calls. Trouble brings the Christian to his knees in prayer. Trouble takes the Christian to Scriptures. Trouble leads the Christian to call upon his brethren for help. Trouble doesn’t defeat the Christian. He has a greater help and hope, God.
- The Christian brings light to a dark world. The Christian brings hope to a world of despair. The Christian brings absolute answers to a world of questions. The Christian changes the environment of a work place. The Christian is the first to apologize and to forgive. The Christian is ethical before he even takes ethics in college. The Christian doesn’t talk bad about others. The Christian is color blind when it comes to race. He is upbeat. He is positive. He’s smiling. He’s looking forward, first to Sunday, and then to Heaven.
What are you doing? That’s a fair question to ask. If the answer is, “I don’t know,” then get busy and start doing what Christians ought to be doing.