Sermon:  Two Roads

Summary:  God gives us a choice between 2 and only 2 paths in life.  One path is associated 
with the world and ends in death, the other is associated with God and his instruction and 
ends in true blessedness.  We need to take time to consider which path we are on and to build 
a relationship with God where we "delight" in his instruction.

Know:  We need to make a conscious choice to stay on God's path by meditation on God's 
instruction and especially by learning to "delight" in God.

Feel:  The futile nature of walking in the paths of the world, and the blessing of walking in God's 

Do:  Reflect on the image of the cultivated tree and the image of chaff and the implications of the 
images for our choices.  Compare our culture's message of how to find "blessedness" and 
compare it to this passage.  Formulate a plan to stay on God's path, which includes time for 
meditation/introspection based on God's instruction and learning to "delight" in God's instruction.

Text:  Psalm 1

Scripture Reading:  Prov 9:10

1.  Choices - Some people love choices, sometimes I hate them
	a.  Go and buy some toilet paper - Simple enough right?
	b.  I go and there are 20 different kinds!
	c.  I used to laugh at the commercial of guy calling his wife on the cell 
	     phone at the store, not any more!
		- It's not just the toilet paper
		- It's cereal, paper towels, air freshner, etc.
	d.  Fortunately for us - God gives us only two choices
2.  New Series on the Psalms
	a.  Psalms are different
		- Primary difference - Rather than words spoken to us, these are 
		   words spoken to God
		- They are still regarded as scripture by Jesus and New Testament
	b.  Why have words written to God?
		- A guide to worship
		- Model for how to relate to God
		- Demonstrate the important of meditation and reflection
	c.  There is a progression in the Psalter
		- Moves from lament to praise
		- Perhaps this is to highlight frailty of human condition & need to 
		  choose God
3.  Psalm 1 & 2 forms an introduction to the Psalter
	a.  Wisdom Psalm - Choose God or choose evil
	b.  Cannot approach God straddling the fence
4.  Text: Psalm 1
	a.  As a wisdom Psalm, it makes no direct appeal
	b.  It simply presents the state of things on each path
	c.  It is left for us to decide which path we are on

I.  (v.1-3) The blessed path
	A.  The Psalm begins with the blessed path
	B.  Examine the text
		1.  How blessed is the man
			a.  Hebrew - "Oh the blessednesses of the man…"
			b.  What does it mean to be blessed?
				- Related to the word for, "going straight" or "advance"
				- Idea of life making progress, going on or doing well 
				- Happy, at peace, contentment, joy, prosperity
			c.  It means a good, fulfilling life
		2.  Who is blessed? Those who do not hang out with the wicked
			a.  Those who do not walk in the counsel of the ungodly
				- Those who do not take the advice of the ungodly
				- Includes ungodly celebrities, singers, actors
					- Ever notice how people regard celebrities as 
					  experts sometimes?
				- Includes ungodly psychologists, teachers
				- Includes ungodly friends
			b.  Those who do not stand in the path/way of sinners
				- Or "take a stand" - implies acceptance of their path
				- Not saying, "everyone does it…"
				- Whether lying, cheating, even if no one is looking
			c.  Those who do not sit in the seat of scoffers
				- What is a scoffer?  One who scoffs
				- We have all heard that sound before haven't we?
				- It scoffs at wisdom, instruction, says "I know it all"
		3.  Who is blessed?  Those who delight in Yahweh
			a.  The one who delights in Yahweh's instruction
				- "Law" or "Torah" often means "instruction"
				- Implies more than bare list of dos and don'ts
				- To delight in them is to be blessed
			b. The one who meditates in his instruction day and night
				- Means to muse, ponder, contemplate
				- Meditate is an onomatopoeia "hagah" in Hebrew
					- It also means to mumble, growl, or purr
					- Similar to pigeon "cooing"
					- Similar to cat "purring"
				- It means being saturated with God's instruction
		4.  Like people with headphones
			a. See them walking around with them all the time
			b. They can recite lyrics to so many songs
			c. Sort of that way here
				-  Ps 119:49-56 - God's word becomes our song
				-  Result - Ps 119:1-2 - Blessedness
	C.  IMAGE:  A Tree by the water
		1.  What kind of tree do you picture?
			a.  Some picture a huge tree in lush countryside
			b.  Sheep or cows on the hill grazing
			c.  Old tree with roots in the bank
		2.  But the picture is not a wild tree that sprang up by accident
			a.  It is a tree "planted" by the streams of water
			b.  Several words for "stream," here it is "peleg" - canal
				- This is not a naturally occurring river
				- It is a canal that has been dug
			c.  Image of a place without much water, irrigation canal
			d.  In the middle of the dry place is this flourishing fruit tree
				- It has been cultivated
				- It is watered by the canal and gives fruit
				- It is healthy, vibrant, and doesn't whither
		3.  ILL:  Ever been to an apple orchard before?
			a.  Use to love to go to Kiser Orchards in Nebraska
			b.  Walk into the barn, smelled like apples
			c.  The trees in the orchard didn't happen by accident
			d.  A lot of hard work goes into those trees every season
				- Pruning, making sure they healthy, water, etc.
		4.  The tree here is one that work goes into
			a.  If the canal is not dug and maintained, tree not produce
			b.  If the tree is not pruned, tree produce little
			c.  But this tree produces a joyful crop
	D.  If you delight in God's instruction, then you are that tree
		1.  When you read, meditate, contemplate, think about, journal, 
		     etc., you will flourish
			a.  You sink your roots into the water of life
			b.  You will have joy, peace, prosperity, blessedness 
			c.  Your leaf with not whither - you will flourish
		2.  And at the right time you will bear fruit!
			a.  You will see the results of your delight in God
			b.  May not see it now, but you will
		3.  Isn't it great when trees produce fruit?
			a.  It means prosperity and joy for the gardener
			b.  Your will increase and flourish  
		4.  But that is one of two paths…

II.  (v.4-6) The popular path
	A.  Sharp contrast -- NOT SO the wicked
		1.  The wicked are exactly opposite of the righteous
		2.  They are anything but a cultivated tree
	B.  IMAGE:  Chaff.  What is chaff?
		1.  At harvest time, they would bring the grain together
			a.  Usually on a hilltop or some other exposed place
			b.  Usually have Donkeys walk all over them
			c.  Separates the grain from the husks, which are light
			d.  Toss it up and the wind carry away the chaff
				- No one is sorry to see the chaff go
		2.  Opposite of the cultivated tree which is secure and fruitful
			a.  Chaff is not the fruit, but what you throw away
			b.  It suggests the idea of unstableness, fleetingness
		3.  ILL - Look at the contrast.
			a.  Need a volunteer:  Try to blow this tree over
			b.  Another volunteer:  Blow this out of my hand
	C.  Wicked are gone in one puff of the wind
		1.  If there is any seeming prosperity of the ungodly, it is short lived
		2.  Ps 119:70 - The arrogant, their heart is covered with fat, but I 
		     delight in your instruction
			a.  Arrogant is well fed, but their end is destruction
			b.  I delight in your instruction, not the wicked, sinner, scoffer
			c.  Even though they may instruct me on how to be happy
				- Wear something, look a certain way, lie a little…
				- Work really hard at the career, overtime, get rich
				- Don't work hard, that's not cool, just be laid back
				- Choose only popular friends, ignore everyone else
       				- Don't be too goody goody, but be cool at expense of 
				   being godly
		3.  The way of the wicked may seem stable, but it is not
			a.   Prov 1:18 - They ambush their own lives
				- Caught by own lies, plans, etc.
			b.  (1 Thess 5:1-4) - They say peace and safety, then 
			      destruction will come suddenly
	D.  If this is me - ungodly - I will be gone in a puff
		1.  The wicked will not stand in the judgment
		2.  They will be blown away from the assembly of the righteous 

III.  That's it, there are ONLY two ways
	A.  (Matt 7:13-14) Jesus highlights this toward the conclusion of the 
	      sermon on the mount
		1.  The majority way is not the way that leads to life
		2.  The majority way is chaff
		3.  There are ONLY two ways
	B.  The sermon on the mount highlights the blessed way that leads to life
		1.  This is the abundant, flourishing life of contentment and peace
		2.  Jesus not just talking about something after you die, but now
			a.  John 10:10 - He came that we might have life, and have it 
			     more abundantly
			b.  Life begins now and extends to eternity
		3.  To delight in his instruction is a tree of life
		4.  To reject the way of the wicked is a tree of life
			a.  When you don't hang with the wicked and ungodly
			b.  Even though it may seem they prosper
	C.  God calls you to the store
		1.  There are not 20 different items to choose from
		2.  There are two items on the shelf, and only two
		3.  One is very popular, everyone has it.  
			a.  It promises happiness
			b.  It promises to help you get ahead in life
		4.  The other item is not so popular
			a.  It promises, peace, contentment, happiness
			b.  It is rooted in God and his word
	D.  Which item will you choose?

1.  There are only two…
	a.  You are blessed and will flourish if you delight in God's instruction and 
	     don't hang out with the wicked
	b.  You will be blown away with just a puff if you live like the ungodly
2.  Which way are you truly on? (Invitation)
3.  If you are already a Christian then you are blessed
	a. When you meditate - contemplate - ruminate - reflect on God's 
	     instruction for every aspect of your life
	b.  When you delight in God's instruction
		- When you look forward to thinking about it and reading it
		- When you desire to live it out
		- When you have a passion to share it
4.  Oh the blessedness of you oh Christian….


Small Group Questions:  Two Roads

Summary:  God gives us a choice between 2 and only 2 paths in life.  One path is associated 
with the world and ends in death, the other is associated with God and his instruction and ends 
in true blessedness.  We need to take time to consider which path we are on and to build a 
relationship with God where we "delight" in his instruction.

- What is a tough choice you have had to make between more than on option?  What is an easy one?

Explore:  (Psalm 1)

1.  Discuss and describe what it means to be blessed and have the blessing of the Lord.

2.  Discuss the characteristics of the one who is blessed.  

3.  In addition to the description, what metaphor or image is used for the blessed person?  What 
does this suggestion about the blessed person?  (What are the implications of the fact the 
Psalmist uses a "planted" tree?)

4.  In what ways are the wicked different from the blessed?  What does the image used for the wicked 
here suggest about the wicked?

5.  If you could choose your own metaphor for the righteous and the wicked from your own personal 
experience, what would you use?


6.  What does our culture say is the way(s) to blessedness?  How does that message compare 
with the message in this Psalm?

7.  What do you typically "delight" in or find "joy" in?  What does this say about your desires, values, 
and priorities?  

8.  What metaphor might you use to describe your spirituality?  (Car, rock, desert, mountain, Mall, 
Shoes, etc….)

9.  What ongoing plan can you make to ensure you stay on God's path and not in the path of the