Revive Our Hearts Podcast

A Portrait of Christ in Psalm 1

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Learn more about the Bible study: Elizabeth: Dealing with Disappointment

Leslie Basham: The Psalms say the wicked are ultimately unproductive, like chaff blown away in the wind. So Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth points out that when Jesus took our sin, He became . . .

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: . . . for our sakes like chaff, refuse, rubbish, no value. He took the judgment that we deserved. He endured the scoffing of sinners so that we would not have to perish.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of A 30-Day Walk with God in the Psalms, for Friday, January 11, 2019.

Today, Nancy's wrapping up the series, "How to Have a Happy New Year."

Nancy: Well, hasn’t this been a rich time? Six little verses, Psalm 1, at the start of a new year, the way of the righteous and the way of the wicked. God has so filled my heart as I’ve studied and prepared for this series. I hope that you’ve been reading Psalm 1 here at the outset of the year; maybe you’ve memorized it. If not, it's not too late. I get the most . . . I get more than anybody else out of these series because I have to spend so much more time preparing than you do who are listening. But even up through this week, the Lord has been showing me new things in this passage.

I hope that you’re also planning to take the Daily Bible Reading Challenge with us this year. It’s simple. Just read the Bible every day.

Let me also ask, at the end of this series now, if you would let us know how the Lord has spoken to you through this study. You can send us an email. You can go on the daily program, and at the bottom there’s a comment blog, and you can post comments about what the Lord has said to you through this series. We’d love to hear from you to know how God has spoken to you over these last couple of weeks.

Now, we’ve talked during this time about the characteristics of the righteous and the characteristics of the wicked. We’ve seen from Psalm chapter 1 that there are two different paths that these two different kinds of people are on. There are two very different outcomes for their lives. The righteous are blessed, and the wicked will perish. That is so clear in this passage.

We have today one final day in our journey through Psalm 1. You say, “What’s left? You’ve covered all six verses.” Well, I want to look at this psalm from one more important perspective or lens, and that is to see how it points us to Christ, as does all of Scripture.

The Psalms are part of the wisdom literature in the Scripture, and Christ is the wisdom of God, as opposed to the foolishness of man. So the wisdom literature points us to Christ who is our wisdom, and it reveals the wisdom and the ways of God to us. So the Psalms generally are full of Christ.

But Psalm 1 in particular, in describing the righteous man, gives us what I think is a magnificent portrait of Christ. It also gives us an Old Testament foreshadowing of the gospel that’s unveiled more fully in the New Testament.

So let me read the psalm as we’ve done many times over these last several days and then talk about how the portrait of Christ is seen in Psalm 1.

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; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. 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.

The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

Now, the fact is, as we’ve been looking at this passage over the last couple of weeks, no one who has ever lived has ever perfectly fulfilled the requirements of Psalm 1. All of us have at times and from birth walked in the counsel of the ungodly, as it says the wicked do.

Not only do we not delight in the law of God as we should, not only do we not meditate on it day and night as we ought, but the fact is, at points of our lives, we have despised God’s law in the choices that we have made. And day and night we have fixed our minds on everything other than God and His Word.

We are law breakers. We are not naturally righteous, and even once we’ve been made righteous through Christ, we often live like unrighteous people. Am I right?

Romans 3 puts it in no uncertain terms. It says, beginning in verse 10,

None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless (vv. 10–12).

Remember we said the wicked were like chaff, worthless? Romans says all of us together have become like chaff, worthless.

No one does good, not even one. . . . Their mouths are full of curses; their feet are swift to shed blood. In their paths are ruin and misery. The way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes (vv. 10, 14–18 ESV paraphrased).

Let me say, that's not talking about somebody else out there. That’s talking about us—you, me. Apart from Christ, that’s the description of our lives.

So, if it’s the righteous who are blessed and happy, as Psalm 1 says is the case: “Abundant blessednesses be to the one who is righteous,” so if that’s the case, no human being could ever be blessed or happy because the fact is from birth we are the wicked described in this passage not the righteous.

From birth we go rejecting God, walking contrary to Him. And left to ourselves, our souls will shrivel and die rather than be flourishing and prospering. We are like the chaff that blows away. On our own we could never stand before God in the final judgment. Apart from Christ we are all destined to perish—which Psalm 1 says is the final end of the wicked. But thankfully, here’s the good news, the gospel: is that there is one Person (capital “P”) who has perfectly fulfilled the righteous requirements of this psalm. His name is Jesus.

My friend Dr. Bruce Ware has written a new book called, The Man Christ Jesus. In that book he calls Jesus “the Psalm 1 prototype.” He’s the one who perfectly lived out and fulfilled the conditions of the righteous as they’re spelled out in Psalm 1.

The early church fathers agreed that the description of the righteous in Psalm 1 was really the description of Christ, and many commentators throughout history have agreed with that interpretation.

Augustine, for example, said that Psalm 1, verse 1: “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,” that “Psalm 1, verse 1 is to be understood of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord man.”

Now, let’s walk through the psalm and see how that is true, how this really is a portrait of Christ and how Christ fulfills this psalm.

Verse 1: "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.”

The first word, blessed—we talked about that a couple of weeks ago. Who is the source of all blessing, from whom all blessings flow? It’s Jesus Christ who is the Blesser, the one who blesses. So we see Him there in that first word.

And then it says, “Blessed is the man.” Aren’t you thankful that Jesus became a man? That’s what we just celebrated at Christmas, the Incarnation. He is the God-Man, God who took on flesh, took on our flesh, became one of us so that He could save us. Blessed is the man. Jesus is the God-Man.

“The man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked.” Jesus never once—think about it—never once walked in the counsel of the wicked. He lived with wicked men. He lived surrounded by them, but He never once walked in their counsel. He never once sinned against the will or the Word of God—not in thought or word or deed—never once! We have all sinned in those ways, but Jesus never. He never once mocked or scoffed at righteousness.

To the contrary, He always perfectly walked in accordance with God’s Word and God’s way—perfect, brilliant, beautiful, unimaginable righteousness and obedience and purity and holiness. That is Jesus Christ who not only was perfect as God, He lived as a perfect man—God in the flesh.

As a result, He was blessed. “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked.” Was Jesus blessed? In Hebrews 1, verse 9, it says of Jesus Christ: “You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”

Who was the most blessed person who ever lived? It was Jesus. Who had the most joy more than any other of His friends or companions? It was Jesus. Because He did not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the way of sinners, or sit in the seat of scoffers, God anointed Him with the blessing, the oil of gladness above all other people. “Blessed is the man.”

And then verse 2 says: “His delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night.” And we know that Jesus delighted in God’s Word. He loved it. He meditated on it day and night. To Him it was bread and water and sustenance and life.

We see Him when He was twelve years old in the temple. What are most twelve-year-old boys doing? You think they’re interested in going and having theological discussions at church? Not many of them, but Jesus delighted in His Father’s Word. He delighted in discussing the things of God. He’d been meditating on it since, probably since earliest childhood, and it came out in the overflow of His conversation, what He enjoyed talking about.

His delight in God’s Word and His meditation on it came out when He was in the wilderness for forty days being tempted by Satan. He was able to say “no” to the deceiver, “no” to the tempter, and all the delicacies that the tempter offered Him because He had meditated on the Word of God day and night, and He knew what God’s Word was. He was obedient to it. He chose the pathway of righteousness.

And, by the way, when we think of Jesus succeeding in that wilderness temptation, it’s easy for us to think, Well, of course He didn’t sin. He was God. But could I suggest that the reason Jesus didn’t sin in the wilderness, or any other time, was not because He was God. It was that He chose as a man to meditate on the Word of God day and night and to obey the Word of God as a man.

Let me read it to you from my friend Bruce Ware who’s written this great new book on the Man Christ Jesus. He says,

Jesus did not sin, not because He relied on the supernatural power of His own divine nature or because His divine nature overpowered His human nature, keeping Him from sinning, but because He utilized all of the resources given to Him in His humanity.

He loved and meditated on God’s Word. He prayed to His Father. He trusted in the wisdom and rightness of His Father’s will and Word. And, very significantly, He relied on the supernatural power of the Spirit to strengthen Him to do all that He was called upon to do.

You say, “So what? What’s the point of all that?” Here’s the “So what?” Because Jesus loved God’s Word, meditated on it day and night, ate it as His necessary bread—it was His food and water and sustenance because it gave Him the strength and the power to overcome sin by the power of the Holy Spirit, as a man.

We have the same resources available to us in our battle against sin. We have just what Jesus had—the grace of God, the Word of God, the Spirit of God, the truth of God. We can love God’s Word, meditate on it day and night, and have victory over sin as Jesus did as a man. He didn't just obey as God; He obeyed as man. He delighted in God's Word.

In fact, that’s what it says in Psalm 40, verse 8, prophetically of Jesus Christ: “I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.” Jesus had the law of God in His heart, and He got it the same way we get it—by reading it, studying it, memorizing it, meditating on it, asking God for grace and strength to live it out. Jesus meditated on God’s Word.

You say, “He knew God’s Word.” Yes, as God He did. But as man, in some mysterious way that we can’t fully understand, He went through the same process to meditate on God’s Word that we have to go through. We see the fruit of that in His life—the joy, the obedience, the righteous choices, the love of righteousness and the hatred of wickedness and the oil of gladness with which God anointed Him. He was blessed because He obeyed God's Word as a man, and so can we be.

Throughout His ministry He was quoting the Scripture. He was pointing people to the Old Testament Scriptures, that they might be fulfilled. And then He goes to the cross, and what is He still doing? Meditating on Scripture that He has memorized and meditated on for years, for the words that He speaks on the cross indicate that on the cross He was mulling over Psalm 22, and other Old Testament passages. “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" That’s Scripture that was in His heart that He had there at that moment.

All through Jesus’ life, His ministry, and even through His death, we see Him delighting in God’s law, meditating on it day and night. As a result, He was “like a tree planted by rivers of water,” always bearing fruit, giving life to others. His leaf did not wither regardless of the circumstances, the opposition, the suffering that He endured. In whatever He did, He prospered, in fulfillment of Psalm 1.

And again, remember what it means to prosper, to accomplish, to finish well, to accomplish what God has sent you here to do? He prospered. Isaiah 53, verse 10. Isaiah 53, that great passage about the suffering Savior, says, “The will of God shall prosper in his hand.” That’s why He was able to say at the end of His life, “I have finished the work You gave Me to do.” That’s what it means to prosper.

Prosper doesn’t mean you die with a lot of money in the bank. It doesn’t mean you die with great health or never having had earthly tragedies or been through natural disasters or pain in your family. To prosper means you die saying, “It is well with my soul, and by God’s grace, His purpose for my life has been completed.” Jesus prospered, and the will of God prospered in His hand.

So we see Jesus being the fulfillment of the first half of Psalm 1, but what about the second half, the part about judgment? Well, I think there’s a reflection of Christ given in the second half of the psalm as well.

It says, “The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.”

How does that show Christ to us? Well, what we know about Jesus is that He took the place of the wicked. The righteous, sinless Son of God came and offered Himself up as a substitute for those who were wicked. As a result, He was separated from the congregation of the righteous. He endured on the cross an eternity of separation from God and from the righteous.

He died outside Jerusalem—just a picture of being separated from the righteous—outside of the temple, outside of the holy place. He was condemned. He was separated. He became, for our sakes, like chaff, refuse, rubbish, no value. He took the judgment that we deserved. He endured the scoffing of sinners so that we would not have to perish.

Do you know another famous verse with the word “perish” in it? John 3:16, “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish but have everlasting life.” He took the death we deserved so that we could have the life we never could have had apart from Him.

It makes me think of that old hymn:

Bear shame and scoffing rude
In my place condemned He stood.
Sealed my pardon with His blood.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

("Hallelujah! What a Savior! by Philip P. Bliss)

Second Corinthians 5 says it this way: “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin.” You see, Jesus fulfills both the first part—the righteousness part of Psalm 1—but also the condemned part of Psalm 1. We cannot fulfill both. We’re righteous or condemned. Jesus was righteous; He became condemned. “He made him to be sin who knew no sin so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

Let me just make two quick final observations about this passage. Some scholars believe that Psalms 1 and 2 form a pair of psalms that together function as an introduction to the whole book of Psalms. If that is the case, then in Psalm 1, which we’ve been studying over the last several days, we see Christ as the righteous man.

In Psalm 2, which we haven’t looked at, but I encourage you to do that, we see Christ the King, God’s anointed one, His beloved Son, the Messiah. The mockers and the wicked in Psalm 1 that we’ve talked about, they are those who refuse to submit to the King that we see written about in Psalm 2.

Now, if you look at the beginning and end of these two Psalms together, you get a nutshell version of the whole message of Scripture. What does Psalm 1:1 say? “Blessed is the man.” What is the last phrase of Psalm 2 say? “Blessed are all who take refuge in him.”

Ladies, that’s the gospel. Jesus Christ is the blessed righteous man of Psalm 1. Those who renounce all trust in their own righteousness, those who confess and forsake their wicked way, those who’ve turned to Him for refuge will never perish but will be eternally blessed. “Blessed is the man . . . blessed are all who take refuge in Him.” And those are the ones who truly will live happily ever after.

Oh Lord, thank You that You sent Your Son Jesus Christ to take on the form of a man and come to this earth and to live that perfectly righteous life and then to die the death of the wicked so that we might become righteous.

Leslie: That’s Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth was showing us how Jesus perfectly lived out Psalm 1. His example shows us how we can live in dependence to God this year and be close to Him through His Word. If you act on what you’ve heard in this series, just think what a significant difference it could make in 2019.

Today we heard Nancy give us a challenge—to spend some time in the Bible each day for the rest of 2019. One way to stay committed to reading your Bible is to go through a Bible study with a friend or in a group.

If you’re looking for a good study, we’re offering a brand new one here on Revive Our Hearts. It’s the second in our Women of the Bible series, and it’s called Elizabeth: Dealing with Disappointment. When you order now, you should get it in time for the launch of a new podcast from Revive Our Hearts in February. It’s called “Women of the Bible,” and season one—the first six episodes—will be a discussion of each chapter from this study.

We’ll send you the new Elizabeth resource as our way of saying “thanks” when you support the ministry of Revive Our Hearts with a gift of any amount. You can find out more about this study and learn how to make a donation by visiting ReviveOurHearts.com. You can also give us a call at 1–800–569–5959.

When you face disappointment, is it necessarily because you’ve done something wrong? Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth says even godly people experience disappointment. You’ll have to come back on Monday to hear what that is. That’s next week on Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants you to delight in the Word. The program is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the ESV.

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