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The Happy Man

The Happy Man
By Richard Nichols

Published in
The Christian Informer
February  2008


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ONE translation of Psalm 1:1 -3 reads, “Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path that sinners tread, or sit in the seat of scoffers;  but their delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law they meditate day and night.  They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper.  From this beautiful picture of the righteous man we clearly see the following...

CONSIDER HIS CHARACTER
This is a person who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly.   His conduct is not guided by the instruction of wicked men.  He does not listen to the advice of men who are morally wrong or are actively bad.  His counsel and advice comes not from ungodly men.  God “brings to nothing the counsel and plans of men.  (See Psalms 33:10-12).  Those who trust in the Lord for guidance will reap the Lord’s inheritance.
 
One translation has the apostle Paul teaching the Ephesians Christians, saying, “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.  But fornication and impurity of any kind, or greed, must not even be mentioned among you, as is proper among saints.”  Paul insists, “Entirely out of place is obscene, silly, and vulgar talk; but instead, let there be thanksgiving.”  This leaves no room for such things among the children of God no matter what the occasion or situation.  It doesn’t matter if it is a party, shower or tea.  It doesn’t matter if it is a hunting trip with only the “boys” or a party with just the “girls,” vulgar acts and suggestive talk is still a sin.
 
The apostle tells them that those who are “lost” will try to tell you that there is nothing wrong with these things.  He says, “Be sure of this, that no fornicator or impure person, or one who is greedy (that is, an idolater), has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.  Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes on those who are disobedient.  Therefore do not be associated with them.  For once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light.  Live as children of light” (Eph. 2:1-8).
 
CONSIDER HIS PATH
The man of God is happy because he has chosen a different path than the one sinners tread (Psa. 1:1).  “Standing with sinners” means to be in association with or to take part with sinners.  This is the kind of teaching that the Lord always gave His people.  Fellowship with “sinners,” means to indulge with those who are living in and devoted to the practice of sin.  They will encourage the child of God to be like them and participate in the things they do.  The Scriptures warn: “Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of evildoers” (Proverbs 4:14)
 
To Christians Peter writes, “Since... Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same intention (for whoever has suffered in the flesh has finished with sin), so as to live for the rest of your earthly life no longer by human desires but by the will of God.  You have already spent enough time in doing what the... [world likes to do], living in licentiousness, passions, drunkenness, revels, carousing, and lawless idolatry....”  Don’t go back to the things left behind.
Wicked people will be... “surprised that you no longer join them in the same excesses of dissipation, and so they blaspheme [you and God].  But they will have to give an accounting to him who stands ready to judge the living and the dead” (1 Peter 4:1-5).
 
One translation of Paul’s teaching the Corinthian Christians says, “Do not be mismatched with unbelievers.  For what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness?  Or what fellowship is there between light and darkness?  What agreement does Christ have with Beliar? Or what does a believer share with an unbeliever?  What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, ‘I will live in them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.  Therefore come out from them, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch nothing unclean; then I will welcome you,  and I will be your father, and you shall be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty’” (2 Cor. 6:14-18).  Be careful about relationships with those who live in wickedness!
 
CONSIDER HIS SEAT
The Christian does not sit in the seat of the scornful.  To “sit in the seat” simply means to align with or be in league with or hold the same position as the openly scornful.  Scornful are those who scoff, hold in contempt, and ridicule.  Here it means to hold in contempt and to ridicule the things of God.  Some who do openly ridicule are even in the Church.  Since we obviously live “in the last days,” we are all exposed to the ridicule of evil men who undermine the truth of God.
 
Peter warned, “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive opinions.  They will even deny the Master who bought them–bringing swift destruction on themselves.  Even so, many will follow their licentious ways, and because of these teachers the way of truth will be maligned.  And in their greed they will exploit you with deceptive words.  Their condemnation, pronounced against them long ago, has not been idle, and their destruction is not asleep” (2 Peter 2:1-3).
 
You may know someone who will malign the teaching set forth here.  Do not align yourself with them; do not keep quiet, but chastize them with God’s word.
 
CONSIDER HIS FOOD
The man of God has an insatiable appetite for the Lord and His word.  He delights in the law of the Lord.  Why does he delight in it?  To him it is a valuable thing, a thing to be desired.  The psalmist said it beautifully, “As a deer longs for flowing streams, so my soul longs for you, O God.  My soul thirsts for God, for the living God” (Psalms 42:1, 2)
 
Peter tells Christians, first, “Rid yourselves, therefore, of all malice, and all guile, insincerity, envy, and all slander.  Like newborn infants, long for the pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow into salvation” (1 Peter 2:1-2).  Again, James teaches, “Get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.  Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.  Do what it says” (James 1:21,22). 
 
The child of God delights in, that is, he loves the word of God.  As Psalm 119:97 says, “O how love I thy law! it is my meditation all the day.”  Why?  It keeps him from going astray and being lost.  David wrote, “Concerning the works of men, by the word of thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer” (Psalms 17:4).  The Christian is warned, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour”  or “Be self-controlled and alert.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
 
To meditate or ponder on the Truth of God day and night leads the honest child of God to practice the Lord’s will. 
 
CONSIDER HIS FRUIT
The blessed or happy man of God is pictured in Psalm 1 like a domestic fruit tree; he is planted by the grace of God in a most favorable location.  To the people of God Isaiah wrote, “To proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor ... to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.  They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor” (Isa. 61:2,3).
 
In the New Testament Jesus is pictured as a river of water.  John writes, “Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, ‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.  Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him’” (John 7:37,38).  Planted in Christ the child of God is in a position to and expected to “yield his fruit in his season.” 
 
In John 15:5 Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit...”  Paul wrote, “So let us not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up.  So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all, and especially for those of the family of faith” (Galatians 6:9; please read Luke 12:6-9).
 
“His leaf shall not wither” and “whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”  Jesus gives the happy believer this assurance–“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life...”  “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.  And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.  My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.  I and My Father are one” (John 6:47; 10:27-30).  We can sing, “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!”
 
THE CUP OF BLESSING
 
In Isaiah 65:8 the Bible says, “Thus saith the LORD, As the new wine is found in the cluster, and one saith, Destroy it not; for a blessing is in it...”  Here we see “new wine is found in the cluster” and that “a blessing is in it.”  How is the “new wine” (grape juice) which is in the cluster turned into an element to drink?  We see it clearly in Genesis 40.
 
The Scripture says, “the chief butler told his dream to Joseph, and said to him, In my dream, behold, a vine was before me; And in the vine were three branches: and it was as though it budded, and her blossoms shot forth; and the clusters thereof brought forth ripe grapes:  And Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand: and I took the grapes, and pressed them into Pharaoh’s cup, and I gave the cup into Pharaoh’s hand”  (Genesis 40:9-11).  By pressing or squeezing the juice out of the grapes into Pharaoh’s cup the “new wine” which had been in the cluster of grapes was given to Pharaoh to drink.
 
Jesus said, “For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name... verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward” (Mark 9:41) .  In this passage the expression “cup of water” is used by Jesus.  It is easily understood that the cup contains water.  Similarly, the apostle Paul called the communion cup, “the cup of blessing.”  It is by no accident that all these Scriptures lead us to believe that the expression “cup of blessing” includes both the cup and its contents the fruit of the vine or “new wine” from “the cluster” in which there is “a blessing.”  In waiting on the table it is not appropriate to dissect and define each individual element of the Lord's Supper.  One’s remarks should lead the congregation to think of the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross.  Leave the discussion of the various elements to another time.  It is safe to simply calling it, “the cup of blessing.”  Let’s try to always be safe by call things simply what the Scriptures call them.
– R.N.
 

SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS
 
The apostle Paul wrote, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:  According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love  Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus..."    (Ephesians 1:2-4).
 
If God gives "all spiritual blessings" to His children in Christ does He give spiritual blessings to those who are not in Christ?  If He does, then what benefit is there to being in Christ?  God sends the sunshine and rain on all people, but His spiritual blessings are reserved for only those who are in Christ.  Christians have forgiveness of sin, assurance of Heaven, prayer, and comfort of the spirit.  We can't ask God to do what He hasn't promised to do!
– R.N.

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