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June 9, 2020 10:00 pm
Dr. Steve Pettit continues a chapel series entitled “Encountering God.” This series is from the book of the Psalms. Today’s scripture passage is Psalm 1.
Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. The school was founded in 1927 by the evangelist Dr. Bob Jones Senior's intent was to make a school where Christ would be the center of everything, so he established daily chapel services today. That tradition continues with fervent biblical preaching from the University Chapel platform today on The Daily Platform. Dr. Steve Pettit, president of Bob Jones University is continuing a study series entitled encountering God, which is a study of select chapters in the book of Psalms.
If you would like to follow along in the study booklet you can get one on Kindle or you can order a printed copy from the website.
The Daily Platform.com. Let's listen to today's message where Steve will show how to discover true happiness from Psalm one well I like to ask you take your Bibles today in turn with me to Psalm chapter 1 this morning.
I'm already encouraged and excited by your enthusiasm about this study this semester as we are looking at encountering God through us a study through the songs and God is given us this wonderful book that can give us this instantaneous link up to heaven from our hearts is like putting a spiritual IV in your bloodline.
That's what the book of Psalms does for all of us and God meets us right where we are with this truth.
This morning we like to do our first of our 10 Psalms were studying this semester are we going to begin with Psalm 11 it is actually quite familiar, but one that is extremely important. So let's read this morning. Psalm one you read along silently as I read out loud. Blessed is the man that walk is not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stand it in the way of sinners nor Senate in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord and in his law doth he meditate day and night, and he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that bringing forth his fruit in his season is eat his leash also shall not wither. And whatsoever he do it shall prosper. The ungodly are not so butter like the chaff which the wind drive it the way. Therefore, the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment or sinners in the congregation of the righteous for the Lord know with the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly, shall perish. Psalm one is been called the preamble to the book of Psalms. In other words, it simply serves as the introduction to the rest of the Psalm so you could say we just read the introduction to the book. So what is written in Psalm one is foundational for everything else that we read in the book of Psalms Charles Spurgeon, the famous Baptist preacher from England said the matter of the first song which may be looked upon in some written specs as the tax upon which the whole of the Psalms makes up a sermon so it's like this is the tax is going to be preached in the rest of the song so understanding. Psalm one is not just for the Psalm itself, but as for the other hundred and 49 Psalms that we find in this book. So as we see this Psalm is the introduction to the rest of the Psalms. We are immediately surprised to discover something something to me that is actually not only amazing but is is very intriguing and bad is David address is not the deepest desire of God's heart, but the deepest desire of your heart in the very first word David addresses what we all want and what is that will look at the first word the first word is can you say it with me said I said little more enthusiastic. It is why well if you knew what it meant to be really excited. The word blast here simply means to be happy.
At the very core of the human heart is the desire to experience happiness in this life. So what is the book of what is Psalm chapter 1 about it's all about how to be happy. How important is it for you to be happy, the great philosopher Aristotle believed that happiness is the ultimate end and purpose of human existence.
He advocated a strong liberal arts education that stressed the education of the whole man is necessary to produce a society of happy and productive people. So we want our graduates to go away happy.
How important is it to be happy. He was so important to the founding fathers of the United States that they wrote life, liberty and pursuit of happiness is our constitutional right. How important is it to be happy is very important for. That's a scary thought. It's very important to the book publishing industry because in the year 2050 books were published on happiness in 2000 and a 4000 books in that year were published on happiness and currently Amazon holds 66,000 books on the subject of happiness. And yet one Paul says only one in three Americans consider themselves very happy so he starts out to all of us. God's people, and he says happy are blessed is the man so you may say, does God really want me to be happy because he really is. That really is concerned. Not only does God want you to be happy, but he actually want you to be perpetually happy because the word Blessed is in the plural in the original Hebrew language, you could say this way he wants you to be perpetually happy. You could say blessedness says our happiness is happiness is is the man. So here's the question this morning. How then can I be happy happy happy so he tells us Psalm one is what we call wisdom Saul because David is showing us that happiness is based on making right choices for what is wisdom is making right choices in alignment with God's will. And since wisdom is directly related to God that we have to make sure that our happiness is his way.
So here's what David sets forth in Psalm, he sets forth two ways of life. One way is we could say the right way but will say the way of happiness and then the second way is the way of misery will focus primarily this morning on happiness in the will close out with what he concludes about misery Celeste noticed first of all the way to happiness. What's the right way it is. We read Psalm 1P captures a basic teaching that is in both the old and the New Testament.
And that is your direction in the outcome of your life are based on your choices and that's that's a whole foundational teaching in the Scripture.
For example, Psalm 30 verse 19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you that I set before you life and death, blessing and cursing. Therefore choose life, did not Jesus say something similar in the book of Matthew chapter 7 he said enter ye in at the strait gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat because strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leads to life, he says there's two destinies based on two directions based on two decisions. Any saying choose life, so should be no surprise to any of us that David is showing us the way of happiness based on the choices that you make as my children were growing up at home. I constantly said to them what you're going to be in life is can be based on your choices. My dad used to say son you make up your own bad therefore you have to sleep in it. So where you are going to go in the future is based on the decisions you're making today.
So David lays that out and is he lays it out for us in the way it of happiness.
He works almost like a battery for a battery has two poles. The negative and the positive and he starts with the negative and then he goes to the positive. So what's the negative pole we see this here in verse one, where he gives us a warning and immediately we see that there is a threat to the health of your happiness. There is something that can deeply affect you and what is this is the danger of you being affected by wrong right relationship interpersonal relationships, your college to me is so interesting. Time of life because in college it's really the people who he develop his friends.
You have your rights and when you're in high school you live with your parents and you visit your friends in college you live with your friends and you visit your parents. The biggest influence in your life are not so much your teachers not so much her parents not so much a pastor, although they still have influence.
The greatest influence in your life or your friends and what David is saying here is choose your friends well because your happiness cannot be separated from those who influence you and Psalm one here is actually warning a certain kind of people to avoid people, I would say who are toxic. Blessed is the man that walks not Blessed is the man that stands not Blessed is the man that sits not. Who are these threats fundamentally, they are people who are pursuing to be blessed in life without God set simple. These are people who see life through the lens of a self-centered viewpoint where their desires, their pursuits, their dreams are about them apart from God. So with regard with regards to God. Either God's ways are ignored or their scorn or they held in contempt regarding God's moral law. All they treated is irrelevant or archaic, or unintelligent, and essentially they do not buy into the fact that the way to be happy is through God.
If I were to ask you, do you believe God's way is a way to be happy most of you with your math would say yes but that's not the issue. The issue is, what is your heart really and essentially, there is always a step of faith and trust in God's way as being vast, even against the way you naturally think and feel.
Because of the sinfulness of our heart, we naturally think our way is the best way and what God is saying is the best way is my way and is saying happy is the person who walks with people who are going that way today was warning us because these people the ungodly calls them centers because I'm scornful and he is saying that their influence is actually very very powerful. It starts out with a simple wall to hang out together you wall with the ungodly. Soon their influence starts to rub off on you and you find yourself agreeing with their values and their direction of life and then you stand with them. That means you associate and you identify with them, you start to become like them and finally the day comes that you become one of them by joining them and sitting with them.
David is warning us of the slippery slope of wrong friends that take us downward and the irony is this that those who pursue happiness without God, they never find it.
It's in a lucid dream like a mirage in the desert. So David is warning us and saying to us that the way of happiness is by decisively avoiding those negative and toxic influences that we can have in our life. Read the story that Amanda dialed a wrong phone number.
One day he got the following recording. He said I am not available right now, but but I thank you for caring enough to call. I'm making some changes in my life.
Please leave a message after the beep.
And if I do not return your call. You will know that you are one of the changes I would have to say that one of the happiest and most important decisions I ever made in my life was at the age of 19 years old. As a freshman in college, I became a Christian and right after that I made a decision to change my friends and as a sophomore in college diet. Axa came into my sophomore year of college. My sophomore year I started looking for people that were godly and I met junior that year was I was a sophomore who became one of my two closest friends in college that friend is here today. Jim, would you stand this Dr. Jim Smith from he is the president of leadership systems. Jim is a professional executive coach. He has been doing this for 30 years. He's had over 14,000 interviews. He traveled all over the world helping people grow and become better leaders and he was one of my two closest friends in college, I would not be where I am today. Had it not been for his influence in the thing that you eat and it was a happy day when I met Jim Smith let me ask a question who your friends who is influencing you. Here's what he saying, Blessed are those people who have really good friends who walk with God who love God and they greatly influence you to find your joy and delight and happiness in God. But then there's a positive side to happiness. And that's what he tells us here beginning in verse to notice what he said happiness is based upon nurturing a deepening relationship with God's word.
But his delight is in the law of the Lord hears what he is saying I happy person discovers the Bible as a source of pleasure and happiness. His delight is in and when he says the law of the Lord is not speaking about the 10 Commandments. Predominantly he speaking about the first five books of the Bible, the Torah's of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, where God reveals himself as creator and what God is like a covenant keeping God what David is saying is in the reading of this wall. He said I find delight because in this Bible. I find God in 1988 I had the privilege of going overseas to Kenya East Africa to do evangelistic work. We were invited to go into a village. Well let me put this way the missionary was invited to go into a village where they had never had a missionary before and actually the young people and never seen a white man.
So we make that a part of our trip and it essentially was about a 2 1/2 hour ride on a road. Essentially, the road ended and we had to hike down and escarpment into a village and the tribal people were called the mama sign the Messiah very primitive. They wear loin" clause carry big spears in the really scary looking dudes and so we got in and spent some time just visiting with them getting the beat them and then we were able to actually preach the gospel to them and I was with my good friend, evangelist Tom Farrell and both of us preach that they Tom preach Genesis 1, two and three. I remember very clearly the men sitting here the women over here with the children sitting underneath trees and they listen for one hour as we preach to them and time preached on God's creator made creating man man falls in the sand and God promises a Redeemer and when he finished preaching he turned it over to me and I began to preach from John chapter 3 that Jesus was the fulfillment of God's promise. He was the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world and that we could have eternal life through his death and resurrection.
We came to share the good news with them and then the missionary got up and closed out with a story from bonsai culture that when one man is with and at odds with another man and their and they want to make reconciliation. The offending man has to go to the home or the hot of the man that he offended in calling out and publicly ask for forgiveness, which is very humbling and then he had to bring a goat from his own herd and slit the throat of the goat and as the blood came rushing out. He then looked at the man that he offended and he said as the blood goes out, so does the offense and suddenly they got it.
The blood of Jesus cleanses us from all of our sense, and on that day six adult monocyte elders accepted Jesus as their Savior and they started a church there, and as we were leaving one of the elders said to me a statement I will never forget.
He had never read the Bible never heard the gospel but he expressed his emotions and his feelings at the moment and he said we now have the taste of honey in our mouths.
Please send them another missionary because we don't want this taste to spoil. I fell sweeter also than honey.
That's the word to me. She has delight is in the wall of the Lord, O taste and see that the Lord is why he is good as you get into the word then you discover who God is and you find that your happiness meter goes through the presence of the Lord.
So how do you learn to delight and David tells us notice what he says. He says, but his delight is in the law of the Lord and in his law.
He's explaining what it means to the light that the meditate day and night, so meditation is the pathway to finding delight in the word so what does it mean to meditate well is the difference between swimming on top of the water and putting on some goggles and going underneath the water and seeing what's down there that probably is a kid you swim a swimming pool. You had goggles on which you it's really fun is to is to be able to go to a place we have Clearwater and actually go snorkeling. My wife and I whenever we have vacation were able to go to place like that is one of the things we enjoy doing renting out snorkeling gear and hiding places to go a couple of years ago we celebrated our 35th wedding anniversary. We actually flew overseas for Bob Jones University. We were in the we were in the Asia area, Korea, China, and so forth. And on the way back airplane just had to stop in Hawaii so we decide to get off the plane and go over to little island called Maui and hang out for week and so we found a place where we could go snorkel.
Harley anybody was there. If you never snorkeled to look out and you see the ocean and all looks the same especially on the surface but then you put your Masco and you drop down underneath the water and it's it's got this amazing wow factor, we remember very clearly going out to this place and we started snorkeling and we dropped underneath the water in the course is huge, massive sea turtle like bright clear.
We were like freaking out under the water. Know what you say in the water and it was believable. You know, for a lot of people there, their knowledge of God is very surface. He you know why because they really don't read the Bible.
They may read something else I may read devotional books and it's all good, but is not like snorkeling is not like going deep in to the word. So what is meditation. It's going down it's it's really thinking about it. It's getting your mind engaged in out of this comes from in this truth.
Enjoy some of compare meditation to a cow chewing its cud. Cows have one stomach with four compartments over that would not be wonderful that you a clump of grass they swallow. It drops down in the first stomach they think about and they think, man. I really like that so they bring it up for seconds that you that allow this walls it goes down in the second and they repeat the process goes down to the third and finally into the fourth stomach and then you end up drinking the leftovers is called milk.
What is meditation. It's constantly chewing over the Scriptures thinking about how do you know if you delight in the law of the Lord.
How would you even know well in asking this question. What is your mental default mode. Let me put it this way when you don't have anything to think about. You're not in class you not studying when you don't have anything to think about where do you send your freefall. Where do you go to preoccupy or satisfy your mind.
If I could say this way.
Keeping from being bored for many today the default mode is what everybody does it scold your cell phone is not wrong, but it becomes your it becomes your meditation. So what you do you look at your tax you look at Instagram you look at Snapchat emails you download. You look at Google searches. You do you to think one of the problems that were facing today in the spirituality of God's people is that technology has replaced meditation on Scripture. So in reality people's viewpoint about Scripture is like super surfacing and therefore they really haven't found a joy in a July in the law of the Lord. Happiness is found when we get to that place, that there is a default mode.
I go back to the word and what is that you say is the result of this meditation. What happens to this person. Notice since he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water was at me when he says he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water were planted by the rivers of water is not referring to a natural tree sitting next to a natural stream like you see out in the woods. Rather, it's a planted tree. It's being cultivated by water that is being brought to the tree by means of irrigation. Let me put it this way you're talking about an apple orchard. An orange grove of vineyard. In other words, trees that are made in such a way is that they are intended to produce and what he is saying is this, that when you and I have intentional times in our life in the God we learn to delight in it.
We are like a cultivated tree and God has an intention. He wants you to be productive and what is a tree produce. It produces fruit. What is Africa biblically. It's a change of character you become more like Christ is actually having influence in the lives of others so that actually people are being changed, or converted to what God is doing in and through your life, folks, happiness is found in a productive life.
Everybody wants to be productive in every Christian can through the word of God. And here's what's so neat is that you can continue to bear fruit throughout all of your life even when you go through the most difficult seasons for he says his leaf also shall not wither.
What is that mean in times of drought in times of hardship. When you go through valleys. God is able to turn it into a well when you go through hard times for believer they can become the most productive times, because we all know that fruit is not grown on the mountaintop is always grown down in the valleys, even in the hardest times of life, we can have joy and blessing.
Because God is working through the tough times because when were weak. That's when he strong and what is the end result of this life is a life that is enriched and valuable and useful.
They prosper in everything they do. That's a happy but just real quick. As we finish. What about the miserable man without saying a lot since he's like chaff, what is chaff chaff is that aspect of wheat that has no purpose is useless. He will never prosper in the sad thing that we discover here is that he misses out on the ultimate happiness because it says he will not stand in the judgment or sinners in the congregation of the righteous in what he is ultimately saying is eternally. He will not live with God for what is the ultimate happiness.
The ultimate happiness is spending eternity with God in his presence in this life.
Here's what we get.
We get a little foretaste you're so cool about Psalms is that you get a little bit of foretaste of heaven as you read them as you link up with God directly. As you spend time with him and what you're doing is you're getting a little taste of heaven in your soul. I hope this will be a great semester for you as you encounter God father, bless your word and thank you for our time together in Jesus name, amen. You been listening to a sermon from Dr. Steve Pettit, president of Bob Jones University from the study series encountering God, which is a study from the book of Psalms. Thanks for listening and join us again tomorrow as we continue the study of Psalms here on The Daily Platform