INTRODUCTION TO THE OCTOBER CLASS
“Lyrics have melodies,” said preacher and professor Fred Craddock. This is especially true of the Psalms, the hymn book of the Bible. Most biblical psalms were sung or prayed. They have a poetic genre and appeal to every human emotion. The Psalms (the book) consists of five sections—Psalms 1–41; 42-72; 73-89; 90-106; and 107-150 – making it similar to the five books of the Pentateuch and the five discourses of Jesus in Matthew. The main imagery of the Book of Psalms is consistent with a Middle Eastern agricultural culture, and the main feature of the Psalms is parallelism (rhetorical similarity pattern). In October, students will learn how righteousness, reality, repentance, reason, and worship are “rooted” in God.
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Unit: Psalms (Part 1)
Lesson text: psalm 1
Additional text: Psalm 112; Revelation 20:12-15; Job 1:6-10
Target: Root your life in God’s righteous way.
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Download a PDF of this week’s lesson material (the study by Mark Scott, the application by David Faust, and discovery questions by Michael C. Mack): LOOKOUT_October2_2022.
Email [email protected] to receive PDFs of the lesson materials each month.
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By Mark Scott
The title of this Bible book means “praise” in Hebrew. These praises can be sung, prayed, wept, sung, or shouted. These Psalms are divided into five separate sections (or books) and cover a time frame of nearly 1,000 years. Psalm 1 contrasts the way of the wicked with the way of the righteous in a manner typical of wisdom literature. Psalm 150, the last psalm, commends one who had “a song in his heart and a pen in his hand to tell all what he thought of God,” according to Christian preacher David Erickson. There are three contrasts in this psalm for those who are rooted in righteousness.
The way against the law
On the first pass path doesn’t seem to contrast Law. But the root of the famous Hebrew word Torah actually means “to throw or throw”, like throwing something in a certain direction. Torah occurs 221 times in the Old Testament and essentially means “teaching,” but it is the idea of the teacher saying, “Walk this way.” So the contrast here is between the wicked who walk a way and the righteous who walk who are taught by the law and go a different way.
Blessed is not the normal word for praising God; Rather, it’s the normal word to bless someone else, like “goodie for you” or “happy for you.” That New international version takes a little liberty by translating “man” as well one because it is the Hebrew word for male; in its greatest application it would perhaps apply to all men. The happy man keeps his distance angry people (as with people guilty of a crime). You will also be summoned sinner and mocker (Mocker). Note progress – walking, standing or sitting. In other words, the person who obeys the law keeps aloof from the path of the law angry.
In contrast, the righteous person joys (rejoices) in the law of the Lord. He himself meditates (must, moans or mumbles) on his right day and night. The righteous have an emotional connection to Scripture (see Psalms 19 and 119). The righteous person does not get caught in the steps (counsels) of the wicked, or their ways, or the company they keep.
The tree against the chaff
Every significant person in the Bible is associated with a tree. (See Dr. Matthew Sleeths Reforestation of Faith and Shane Woods Between two trees.) It should come as no surprise, then, that in this very famous opening Psalm we see a contrast between a tree and chaff. The person who follows the law of God is like a tree planted by a stream (rivers) of water. The same picture is seen in the new heavens and the new earth (Revelation 22:1-2). Water is a precious commodity in the Middle East; Quite simply, trees that get moisture produce fruit (Offspring). Your leaves are healthy (not wither– fade or shrink). They are fertile (thrive).
The evil are not so blessed. You are like chaff. The chaff of plants is the disposable part. wind can blow it away. John the Baptist used the same imagery when describing the Messiah coming and clearing his threshing floor with his winnowing fork (Matthew 3:12). The chaff doesn’t simply blow away; it is burned with an unquenchable fire. The righteous is like a fruitful tree, but the wicked seek only the wind (Ecclesiastes 1:14, 17).
The unknown versus the known
Make no mistake, God is omniscient. . . He knows everything. He certainly “knows” (watches over) the way of the just. When we say that God “does not know” someone (e.g. Matthew 7:23), we simply mean that God does not recognize that person as belonging to Him. He knows them just (the Hebrew word tsad-deek, meaning those who conform to God’s standard). The wicked are not known to God as part of his family. Therefore it says in the text: the way of the wicked leads to destruction (that which passes). They are the unknowns.
But the familiar won’t have to stand in court with the bad guys. (The Hebrew word for judgement is mixedpawwhich means not standing in the presence of God at the end.) The known will be part of the assembly of the righteous, in which no sinners are allowed to participate. Being shut out forever from the assembly of the righteous is essentially hell (2 Thessalonians 1:9). The contrast between the wicked and the righteous could not be clearer.