[Sermon preached at Kum Yan Methodist Church on 1.6.08. Click here to listen to KYMC sermon podcasts.]
“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.” (NIV). The word “blessed” is translated as “happy” in some modern translations.: “Happy are those who reject the advice of evil men, who do not follow the example of sinners or join those who have no use for God.” (TEV)
Blessedness is not the same as happiness. Happiness depends on happenings and when there is nothing happening, there is no happiness! Blessedness depends on God and is a consistent experience of divine favour whatever happens.
THE WORLD PROMISES THE HAPPY LIFE
We are bombarded daily by TV and commercials telling us what constitutes the Happy Life. For adults, happiness is getting your pay rise and your promotions. For students, happiness is getting into the premier schools, polys or universities of your dream. For children, happiness is getting the PSP for your birthday or unbirthday! But such “happiness” does not live long—probably after a few weeks of looking at your new office and namecards, or sitting in the classroom of your dream college or university, or PSP, the initial thrill is gone!
But God promises us something better than just the Happy Life—the Blessed Life! The Blessed Life brings true happiness from within and does not depend on our possessions. It is inward and will not be taken away from us—even in death.
STEP 1: WHAT WE MUST NOT DO
1 Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.
The blessed one does not
1. walk in the counsel of the wicked: To walk with someone is to go towards the same destinations or goals in life. The goals of the ungodly are different from the blessed. In our generation, consumerism defines the goal of life. The blessed person does not listen to worldly advice to get his bearings in life. The world's counsel comes in the form of consumerism promoted by TV and Internet commercials, telling us what we must have to be happy.
2. stand in the way of sinners: To stand with someone is to share the same value system, so we say, "We stand together." The world's standard and value is largely marked by moral relativism as against God's absolute standards. The blessed does not stand together with sinners in their moral relativity. The world thinks what is wrong for you may be right for me, e.g. gay and lesbian values.
3. sit in the seat of mockers: To seat with the mockers is to share not only the direction and value but to participate in the lifestyle. The blessed does not seat with mockers whose lifestyle makes a mockery of God’s will and love. The world mocks God and His goodness and reject the God-centred lifestyle in favour of a self-centred lifestyle: “It’s all about me” (Me-ism). Unfortunately, Me-ism has also crept into the churches.
The “world” is defined by three cravings:
(1) the lust of the eyes – “I want what I see” (money)
(2) the lust of the flesh – “I do what is fun” (sex)
(3) the pride of life – “I demand respect” (power)
STEP 2: WHAT WE MUST DO
v.2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.
The blessed life is defined by a passion for the Word of God.
Such a blessed life is defined by two attitudes towards God’s Word:
1. He loves to study it – “his delight is in the law of the Lord”
The blessed person does not consider studying God’s word a chore but a delight.
2. He seeks to put it into practice: “on his law he mediates day and night”
He not only studies the Word, but he also meditates (reflects and chews over it to understand how to apply the principles to life). Lk 6:46-49
STEP 3: WHAT WE WILL BECOME
The Blessed Life is compared to a tree planted by the rivers, connected to the Source of Life, the Water of Life itself.
1. Fruitful: “which yields its fruit in season"
The first mark of a life centred of God’s word is fruitfulness--Christlikeness and multiplication of disciples. John 15:7-8; Mt 13:23
2. Evergreen: “whose leaf does not wither.”
The second mark of a life centred on God’s Word is evergreen.
Illustrations: The Word of God is compared to mirror to see the spots and water to cleanse it (Jas 1:23-24; Eph 5.26). When read daily, it reveals our sin and cleanses us from it.
3. Successful: Whatever he does prospers.
We all want to be successful and prosperous. The promise of the blessed life is that whatever God has us do, we will do it successfully.