WELCOME TO ALL OUR NEWCOMERS! WE ARE GLAD TO HAVE YOU!
PSALM 1 BEGINS AS DOES THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT, PROMISING BLESSEDNESS
TO THE ONE WHO DELIGHTS IN THE LORD
FOR DELIGHTING IN THE LAW OF THE LORD,
IS DELIGHTING IN JESUS,
FOR HE IS THE LAW, HE IS THE WORD.
AS YOU DELIGHT IN HIM, YOU CAN KNOW INEXTINGUISHABLE JOY,
LIKE A TREE SOAKING UP SUNSHINE,
AND PUTTING ITS ROOTS INTO THE LIVING WATER
THE LIVING WATER THAT IS JESUS
If you have just joined us, welcome! You are not too late, for this week and next we will look carefully at the opening two psalms, which form the basis of all the other psalms. Just click on the getting started to the right.
There are so many newcomers — which is wonderful — and I don’t want to have any of you forgotten. I skim all comments but am also in process of assigning mentors (women who are grounded, have been with us a long time, and are regular) to each of you — just for a little extra care and prayer! Right now it is Elizabeth, Rebecca, Susan, and Nanci — you’ll be able to figure out who is yours fairly quickly. We have many women who could be mentors, and may be calling upon them too if we keep growing! Then we have wonderful prayer warriors like Joyce!
The days below are guidelines — but if you can get ahead, do. The sermon is golden and I so want you to get to it.
A paradigm changing book is Tim Keller’s Prodigal God where he awakens us to how much we might, without realizing it, be living a religious life instead of a gospel-centered life. He contrasts the way of the religious man (like the older son in the story of the prodigal sons) with the believer (like the repentant younger son in the same story.) Who becomes the happy son? No doubt about it, it is the son who repents and falls before the Father, and cherishes being close to the Father.
Last week Mike Reeves pointed out that you could misinterpret Psalm 1 to say “Blessed are the Bible readers.” While there is truth in that, we also know many Bible readers who are not happy, but instead are very much like the Pharisees who certainly knew their Bibles but were forever MURMURING.
This is is why we must find Christ in the psalms so that our hearts are melted. We must be seeking Christ and not simply knowledge so that we might impress others.
What makes a person fundamentally happy? Tim Keller will address that in the free mp-3 you will hear on Psalm 1 this week. It is golden and you must hear it.
One of Keller’s first points is that happiness is possible, but it isn’t in circumstances. Instead, our roots need to go deep into the living water so that even in a drought we will thrive. Every morning endeavor to make your soul happy in the Lord through His Word, through experiencing Christ through His kisses. In The Song of Songs she asks the King to kiss her with the kisses of his mouth. This is intimacy. As Ellen Davis points out, it is like when God spoke to Moses “mouth to mouth.” (Numbers 12:8) In part, a kiss is when the Word leaps out at you, and quickens you. Then linger, and allow yourself to be kissed.
The Shulammite said his kisses were better than wine, echoing Psalm 4:7: “You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound.” She wanted, not his gifts, but him.
Let us pray each day for His kisses, His kisses sweeter than wine. Let us pray to experience Him.
The folk song Kisses Sweeter Than Wine has origins in 19th century Ireland, but I think its inspiration might possibly go even further back, to the Song of Songs, to Psalms, where we learn that it is His kisses that are sweeter than wine. This is what put joy in our hearts.
We will consider what these kisses consist of this week — but just for fun, watch this, and see if you can see what sustained this man, despite all the trouble and strife of life. What parallel might there be for us with the Lord?
1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
2. Can you think of a recent time when you were “kissed” through the Word? Or a time recently when He put more joy in your heart than the world has when their grain and wine abound?
Monday – Wednesday: Bible Study and Prayer
I laughed with joy as several of you asked me, even e-mailed me, about last’s week lesson. I said that “Basil, Bonhoeffer, and Bono all prayed the psalms.” BONO? THE U-2 GUY?
YES! I LOVE BONO — NOT HIS MUSIC (too loud!) BUT HIS HEART, HIS WALK, HIS FUNDAMENTAL JOY BECAUSE HE IS LIVING OUT THE PSALMS HE PRAYS, THE WORD HE PRAYS. IF YOU WANT TO SEE HIS HEART, READ WHAT HE SHARED AT THE NATIONAL PRAYER BREAKFAST: LINK
Kisses Sweeter Than Wine
3. Meditate on Song of Songs 1:2 and use it as a springboard for prayer, asking God to kiss you in your study today.
4. Overview question: In both Psalms 1 and 2, there is a contrast between the righteous and the wicked. Psalm 1 deals more with the individual, and Psalm 2 with nations. Read them and see if you can see who is happy and who is not — and why.
5. Using your answer to question 4, turn it into a prayer — first for yourself, then for someone you care about, and then for the leaders of your country — whether that is the U. S., Canada, or another.
- The attitude of the younger son
- The kiss of the Father
7. Read Psalm 2:12 and describe how we should respond to this gospel kiss and why.
All gospel duty is summed up in kissing the Son.
There is a similar theme between Psalm 1 and 2. I was quickened when Keller said in his sermon that what trumps our happiness is that we disobey because we think we know a better way to be happy. In Psalm 2, they need a King, but then they don’t want to kiss the King, to obey the King, because they think that is a “yoke” when it is really freedom.
8. The gospel kiss isn’t just for entering into Christianity, but for every day, to walk in repentance. As soon as you are aware of stepping out of the light, run to the Father in repentance. Confess here (you don’t have to write it down unless you choose) and ask Him for forgiveness and a change of heart.
9. Meditate on Psalm 1:1.
A. How can you recognize the “counsel” of the wicked? Where do you hear it?
B. Pray about the above.
C. In what ways does your behavior tend to be like the behavior of those who do not know God?
D. Pray about the above.
E. Keller says “sitting in the seat” asks the question: “To whom do you belong?” Throughout the day, this is a healthy question to ask when making choices. Pray about this for yourself and for someone the Lord leads you to pray for.
Thursday-Friday Listen, Reflect, and Pray over Keller’s Sermon:
10. Listen to this free sermon (download it so it doesn’t skip: LINK), and share your notes (If you cannot sit and listen but must listen while driving or working, then share what you remember.)
11. Reflections and prayer:
A. Happiness is possible – thank God for that — that He wants us to be blessed.
B. Happiness is not based on circumstances but on delighting in the Lord. Reflect on that and then pray about it.
C. Happiness is a by-product and we trump happiness when we seek it instead of the Lord. Reflect on that and then pray about it.
D. Happiness is a choice, according to this psalm. Reflect on that and pray about it.
12. Based on this lesson, if you are not a basically fundamentally happy person, why not?
13. What is your take-a-way and why?