Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

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Psalms Saturday #14 – Psalms 1 – Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked


Psalms Saturday #14 – Psalms 1 – Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked – 05/07/2016

Psalms 1:1 (ESV) Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 2 but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. 3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. 4 The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. 5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; 6 for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

Thanks for looking at our Psalms Saturday article; I plan to go through this Psalm verse by verse starting in verse one…

V1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 2 but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.

To look at this appropriately we have to look at the Hebrew word “esher” which is the Hebrew word for “Blessed” and that talks mainly of happiness and contentment. Gives a much fuller meaning to the text don’t you think? If we replaced the word “blessed” with fulfilled or contentment then you will see what the Psalmist is driving at. I say that having read this Psalm many times and not bothered to dig any deeper than the words on the page. We see three things that make a man happy and content…

  • He walks not in the counsel of the wicked – The company you keep is important as you will modify your behavior to match the ones that you are trying to impress. When I became a Christian I slowly lost the friends that I had clung onto in my wilderness years because they did not want to do what I wanted to.

    Conversely now I take great delight in a Wednesday morning meeting I have at a local coffee house with likeminded believers as we sharpen each other and keep each other accountable. Finding friends like that is vital as you progress through your Christian life. The counsel you keep affects the way you think.

  • Nor stands in the way of sinners – Not just the counsel you keep but if you are living your life in the way of sinners then you will do what they do. The friends you have affect the way you behave. If you have trouble with alcohol will you still go to the bar rooms 4 times a week?
  • Nor sits in the seats of scoffers – If you dwell with the scoffers and mockers you will become just like them, you will start to belong there and it will erode your Christianity. How can you be happy and blessed in your Christian walk if you are always criticizing or tearing down (and often times this can be fellow Christians)

Like most Jewish poetry the Psalmist offers a contrast in the next verse and does not stop with what we should not be, but continues in what we should be. We see that “his delight is in the law of the LORD” that he is happy in the whole counsel of God, not just the first five books, that the word of God is a delight in his life and if you are not happy or excited to study the word of God then you may need to take a barometer of where you are as a Christian. Is there a hunger, a desire or even a willingness to get in the word regardless (and in some cases especially) of the circumstances?

This hunger us that real that “on his law he meditates day and night.” And that puts me to shame personally and that is something I want to do always, I do however ponder the word of God and a lot of thought and prayer goes into personal study as well as the articles here and I know that the crux of what he is saying is that we ponder it, understand it and commit it to our hearts and lives. I just wished that I did it day and night!

V3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.

We see with the correct application of scripture the Psalmist uses the picture of a tree that if it is planted next to a place that will allow it to be fed, then it will continue in strength and it prospers and the application here would be that with that correct grounded knowledge of the word of God that has been meditated we will continue to grow and thrive in our Christian walk. Paul makes the same comparison in the letter to the Galatian church…

Galatians 5:19 (ESV) Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

The fruit comes naturally from the tree because of what is going into the tree (streams of water) and I would ask would the same tree be as strong in say a desert where the water supply was a bit sparse? Or would it be more like a tree that is all withered and dead? Then you have to examine what type of Christianity you have, is it a by the cool streams or is it a desert Christianity? How strong is your tree? Will it withstand a few storms or will it break in the first sign of trouble?

V4 The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

Again we see an example of the opposite. Have a look at this passage in Jude…

Jude 1:12 (ESV) These are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; 13 wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever.

As strong as the tree is, the wicked are not strong. To understand what chaff is it is the shell that has to be removed before the grain is useable for the purpose intended, traditionally one of the ways of removing chaff from grain was to allow the air to go through and it separates on its own. I am convinced that this was not used in accident as it is the polar opposite and a good reminder that although we are in the world we are not of the world.

V5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;

And we are concluding with these remarks and the Psalmist uses terms that we are familiar with from the book of Daniel when he spoke to King Belshazzar…

Daniel 5:13 (ESV) Then Daniel was brought in before the king. The king answered and said to Daniel, “You are that Daniel, one of the exiles of Judah, whom the king my father brought from Judah. 14 I have heard of you that the spirit of the gods is in you, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom are found in you. 15 Now the wise men, the enchanters, have been brought in before me to read this writing and make known to me its interpretation, but they could not show the interpretation of the matter. 16 But I have heard that you can give interpretations and solve problems. Now if you can read the writing and make known to me its interpretation, you shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold around your neck and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.” 17 Then Daniel answered and said before the king, “Let your gifts be for yourself, and give your rewards to another. Nevertheless, I will read the writing to the king and make known to him the interpretation. 18 O king, the Most High God gave Nebuchadnezzar your father kingship and greatness and glory and majesty. 19 And because of the greatness that he gave him, all peoples, nations, and languages trembled and feared before him. Whom he would, he killed, and whom he would, he kept alive; whom he would, he raised up, and whom he would, he humbled. 20 But when his heart was lifted up and his spirit was hardened so that he dealt proudly, he was brought down from his kingly throne, and his glory was taken from him. 21 He was driven from among the children of mankind, and his mind was made like that of a beast, and his dwelling was with the wild donkeys. He was fed grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, until he knew that the Most High God rules the kingdom of mankind and sets over it whom he will. 22 And you his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, though you knew all this, 23 but you have lifted up yourself against the Lord of heaven. And the vessels of his house have been brought in before you, and you and your lords, your wives, and your concubines have drunk wine from them. And you have praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood, and stone, which do not see or hear or know, but the God in whose hand is your breath, and whose are all your ways, you have not honored. 24 “Then from his presence the hand was sent, and this writing was inscribed. 25 And this is the writing that was inscribed: Mene, Mene, Tekel, and Parsin. 26 This is the interpretation of the matter: Mene, God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end; 27 Tekel, you have been weighed in the balances and found wanting; 28 Peres, your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.” 29 Then Belshazzar gave the command, and Daniel was clothed with purple, a chain of gold was put around his neck, and a proclamation was made about him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom. 30 That very night Belshazzar the Chaldean king was killed.

Scary stuff huh? How is your relationship with God? Have you taken up his free gift of salvation so you are not found wanting? We see that the Psalmist talks about sinners in “the congregation of the righteous” and we will see the ones who persist in their sins and do not wish to change their lives peel off from our church congregations in the short term, however I do also believe that we will be surprised with some of the folks that we thought we would see in glory who were as religious as religious could be and did not know Jesus as their savior, that is scarier stuff!

V6 for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

I have peace like a river that I am being guided by the creator of heaven. I know that whatever befalls me in this life and however I am chosen to be removed from it that I have a loving father waiting to welcome me home with the words I long to hear “Well done my good and faithful servant” but I do lament for those who are my neighbors, in my streets and in my city and the cities that are close by me who tonight are dying in their sins. One thing is assured is that you have that choice to choose heaven or to reject God and deal with those consequences for all of eternity. My prayer is that if you have not done so then please contact me and I would love to talk to you.

Lord willing, in our next article in Psalms we will look at Psalms 13 looks at the sorrow of David and trusting in the Lord through trials. I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.

TTE Advent Calendar Day Seven – December 7th


TTE Advent Calendar Day 7 – December 7th

Thank you for reading our seventh installment of our advent series, please check out our advent page for more articles in this series.

In the last few days we have looked at the genealogy of the Messiah, we have narrowed it down from a woman, to a virgin, to being born in Bethlehem, to being from Abraham, Isaac and also Jacob and today we look at the prophecy that he was to come from the tribe of Judah. We learned yesterday all about why the LORD was called a scepter. We see this also in this scripture in Genesis chapter forty nine.

Genesis 49:8 (ESV) “Judah, your brothers shall praise you; your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; your father’s sons shall bow down before you. 9 Judah is a lion’s cub; from the prey, my son, you have gone up. He stooped down; he crouched as a lion and as a lioness; who dares rouse him? 10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples. 11 Binding his foal to the vine and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine, he has washed his garments in wine and his vesture in the blood of grapes. 12 His eyes are darker than wine, and his teeth whiter than milk.

So we read here that “the scepter shall not depart from Judah” so in one sentence we have just stated that the messiah will not come from any other tribe than the tribe of Judah, that is 11/12ths of the tribes taken away in one fell swoop.

But prophecy is so vague?

If you look at today’s article coupled with the articles from the last few days then you will see that these articles really combat that sweeping statement and generalization. With each article we are becoming more and more specific and adding more criteria that really can only be fulfilled by one man.

If it was just some vague prediction it would not call for 11/12th of the candidates to be dismissed completely. God had a plan all along and he set it up so that only Jesus could fulfill this prophecy. So as you can see, it is not so vague after all!

Did Judah deserve this blessing?

Sounds like Judah was a stand-up guy then? Actually he wasn’t, in Genesis 37 when his brother Joseph was being sold into slavery that eventually took him all the way into Egypt, as we look at the passage, they had thrown him into a pit and then Judah had a great idea.

Genesis 37:25 (ESV) Then they sat down to eat. And looking up they saw a caravan of Ishmaelites coming from Gilead, with their camels bearing gum, balm, and myrrh, on their way to carry it down to Egypt. 26 Then Judah said to his brothers, “What profit is it if we kill our brother and conceal his blood? 27 Come, let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and let not our hand be upon him, for he is our brother, our own flesh.” And his brothers listened to him. 28 Then Midianite traders passed by. And they drew Joseph up and lifted him out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver. They took Joseph to Egypt.

So he sold Joseph in the same way that Jesus was sold, for a few coins of silver. He also did not deal righteously with Tamar his daughter in law in Genesis 38, she was supposed to be promised to Shelah and she was without heir, let’s look at this passage.

Genesis 37:13 (ESV) And when Tamar was told, “Your father-in-law is going up to Timnah to shear his sheep,” 14 she took off her widow’s garments and covered herself with a veil, wrapping herself up, and sat at the entrance to Enaim, which is on the road to Timnah. For she saw that Shelah was grown up, and she had not been given to him in marriage. 15 When Judah saw her, he thought she was a prostitute, for she had covered her face. 16 He turned to her at the roadside and said, “Come, let me come in to you,” for he did not know that she was his daughter-in-law. She said, “What will you give me, that you may come in to me?” 17 He answered, “I will send you a young goat from the flock.” And she said, “If you give me a pledge, until you send it—” 18 He said, “What pledge shall I give you?” She replied, “Your signet and your cord and your staff that is in your hand.” So he gave them to her and went in to her, and she conceived by him. 19 Then she arose and went away, and taking off her veil she put on the garments of her widowhood. 20 When Judah sent the young goat by his friend the Adullamite to take back the pledge from the woman’s hand, he did not find her. 21 And he asked the men of the place, “Where is the cult prostitute who was at Enaim at the roadside?” And they said, “No cult prostitute has been here.” 22 So he returned to Judah and said, “I have not found her. Also, the men of the place said, ‘No cult prostitute has been here.’” 23 And Judah replied, “Let her keep the things as her own, or we shall be laughed at. You see, I sent this young goat, and you did not find her.” 24 About three months later Judah was told, “Tamar your daughter-in-law has been immoral. Moreover, she is pregnant by immorality.” And Judah said, “Bring her out, and let her be burned.” 25 As she was being brought out, she sent word to her father-in-law, “By the man to whom these belong, I am pregnant.” And she said, “Please identify whose these are, the signet and the cord and the staff.” 26 Then Judah identified them and said, “She is more righteous than I, since I did not give her to my son Shelah.” And he did not know her again.

So basically we can say that he did not deserve this accolade. He is about as righteous as you and I. Prior to needing a plank-ectomy I would have to say that God extends his favor regardless of the performance of the said individual. This is true of Abraham, Sarah, Jacob, Isaac and now Judah.

I love this about the Bible, there are no “Super heroes” the characters are there and they show the flaws as well as the good stuff. To a guy like me that is really encouraging.

The New Testament confirmation

In the same way that we can confirm the family tree of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, we see that Jesus came through the tribe of Judah in verse thirty three of the third chapter of Luke. We also know that it was the Judah that we are talking about as in Genesis 37; one of the twins that were born of Tamar was called Perez.

Luke 3:23 (ESV) Jesus, when he began his ministry, was about thirty years of age, being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli, 24 the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph, 25 the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli, the son of Naggai, 26 the son of Maath, the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein, the son of Josech, the son of Joda, 27 the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri, 28 the son of Melchi, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmadam, the son of Er, 29 the son of Joshua, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, 30 the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim, 31 the son of Melea, the son of Menna, the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan, the son of David, 32 the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Sala, the son of Nahshon, 33 the son of Amminadab, the son of Admin, the son of Arni, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah, 34 the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor, 35 the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber, the son of Shelah, 36 the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech, 37 the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalaleel, the son of Cainan, 38 the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.

With all of this entire flawed DNA in the family, I see that the LORD came into a family that was far from perfection. However this was not required for the messiah as he was just as much God as he was man. He was perfection. Let’s look at the epistle to the Hebrews in chapter seven to see the contrast between heavenly perfection and man-made perfection.

Hebrews 7:11 (ESV) Now if perfection had been attainable through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need would there have been for another priest to arise after the order of Melchizedek, rather than one named after the order of Aaron? 12 For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well. 13 For the one of whom these things are spoken belonged to another tribe, from which no one has ever served at the altar. 14 For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, and in connection with that tribe Moses said nothing about priests.

The Levitical priests were there to help people worship the LORD and to conduct the worship in a correct way. The priests were selected from a select few, these men knew the law, and they had it memorized. They were the ones that visited the Holy of Holies; they tied a bell around their ankle with a rope in case there was any sin in their lives and they had to leave feet first, that is how holy they strived to be.

But regardless of how holy they strived to be, this was nothing compared to the holiness of the messiah. The SON OF GOD. A priest could not give you eternal life, but Jesus can. This is the point of these blog articles, to show you the messiah that I believe in is the fulfillment of prophecy and the only way to ensure eternal life with your God your creator. I pray this article leads you to investigate further.

Melchizedek had a unique place in the order of things, he was named “Priest of the Most High God” (Genesis 14:18-20) He blessed Abraham, but regardless of his exalted state, he still was not in the same ballpark of holiness as Jesus. Such as Jesus special place as the messiah of the world. I am reminded of the lyrics of the song “How many Kings” by the band Downhere.

“Cause how many kings, stepped down from their thrones?
How many lords have abandoned their homes?
How many greats have become the least for me?
How many Gods have poured out their hearts
To romance a world that has torn all apart?
How many fathers gave up their sons for me?”

That is how much God wants to see you in heaven!

God bless you one and all, I thank you for reading this article. Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads you too.

TTE Advent Calendar Day Two – December 2nd


TTE Advent Calendar Day Two – December 2nd

Thank you for reading our second installment of our advent series, please check out our advent page for more articles in this series.

Micah 5:2 (ESV) But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.

Thank you for reading day two of the TTE advent calendar, today we look at a verse which was often quoted in the time of Jesus being on this earth.

Where was the messiah to be born?

In yesterday’s article we looked at how the messiah was to be born of a woman, really, the skeptic among you may say “well that could apply to anyone” and that would be true. However passages in the bible really narrow it down to who is the messiah. They also point to the trustworthiness of the bible.

This passage was quoted in Matthew 2 when Herod asked where the Messiah was due to be born, we read…

Matthew 2:1 (ESV) 1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” 3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; 4 and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5 They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: 6 “‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’”

Herod didn’t get the point of the messiah, he assumed that in the volatile political climate that he lived in that this Messiah would take away his limited power that he had. He already had to concede power to Rome and was essentially a puppet of Rome but he did not wish his power to be diluted any further by this religious messiah.

We can learn from this, we get so involved in our lives and our problems that we fail to observe or notice the messiah. We resolve to fix our issues ourselves instead of allowing the one who takes our burdens to bear them for us.

Why Bethlehem?

We are told Bethlehem, in the land of Judea was to be the place, what an honour for the place that was also the birthplace of David, the mighty King of Israel and a man after God’s own heart.

Historically this was a period that the nation of Israel were not proud about, they were ruled by a foreign Roman power, they were ruled by an unjust king in an uneasy political balance where Jerusalem was a melting pot between Roman, Herodian and religious authority.

So in these humble times, how fitting that God used a humble city, one that was not even regarded as much within it’s own borders to prophesy and deliver a messiah from. I see this in my life, that when I have been in the most humble of places, that is when God has used me and delivered abundance through me.

Ruler in Israel

This is where Herod got scared, he seen his power going away. Historically I find this laughable that he thought this way as the Messiah was known to be God. He could have taken out Herod with one word, however as we learn from the later part of Matthew 2, Herod was not going to last forever and he passed away while Jesus was in Egypt.

Jesus kingdom was not temporary, Jesus confirms this in his trial in the dialogue with Pontius Pilate, we read in the Gospel of John…

John 18:36 (ESV) Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”

What amazing humility to submit to those he had created. This truly blows my mind on so many levels. Jesus will rule, but when he comes back at the end of the world. The religious leaders thought they had snuffed out the problem when they coerced the Romans to crucify him. They did not want to face that he was God, but as Jesus proved at Calvary – YOU CAN’T KILL GOD!

Coming forth of old, from the ancient of days

This part shows that he was not just a man, limited by a finite span on earth. He was there of old, he was there at the beginning, he was there at the end, and he was and is and is to come. This gives further credence to the fact that Jesus was there at the beginning of creation.

This tells us that although Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the story did not start there. He is the ALPHA and OMEGA, the beginning and the end. (We read this is Revelation 22.) Being a third of the trinity he is as timeless as God.

The Gospel of John in chapter 1 (Quoted fron Genesis 1) .tells us when Jesus began…

John 1:1 (ESV) In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Who was Jesus?

He was all of this and more, he was God, he had humanity, he had humility, he was perfect, he was sympathetic to man, he was love, we was sacrificial, he was glorious, he was the fulfillment of prophesy, he was the creator and he was and is and is to come the only way to heaven. He was all this and much, much more. He is my Savior and is the LORD.

My hope is that this look at a messianic passage was a help to you and my hope is that this blessed you and hopefully stirred some questions about Jesus being your messiah.

God bless you one and all, I thank you for reading this article. Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads you too.