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  "That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;"
 . . .  Colossians 1:10  . . .
The First Hymn In The Hebrew Hymnbook

Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D.
Sermon Delivered 2/9/03
Psalm 1 

I love singing and hearing sung the hymns of the faith. Ardith Cutsforth sang one of my favorites last week: We Shall Behold Him. Last year Linda, Karla, Sarah and I had the opportunity to vacation in England. While I have been there several times before I never had the opportunity to visit Olney, England. So, what is important about Olney England? John Newton and William Cowper lived there. Newton was the pastor of the church and Cowper was a parishioner, who lived across the field from the church. Each week Pastor Newton and William Cowper would meet in the garden cottage and compose a new hymn for the congregation to sing that week. In this little cottage, only big enough for two people, these two men composed scores of songs and ultimately published them in a hymnal titled The Olney Hymnal. Some of my favorite compositions are There Is A Fountain Filled With Blood, Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken and Amazing Grace, which was originally titled Faith’s Review and Expectation.

In our message today, we are going to look at the first hymn from the Hebrew hymnbook, called the book of Psalms.

First, let’s consider the books name – Psalms.

Psalms is the name our Lord called these hymns in Luke 24:44 "And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me." The word psalms is a translation of the Greek word qalmov psalmos. The Hebrew calls it Tehillim, which properly signifies Psalms of praise, because many of them are songs of praise. But Psalms is a more general word, meaning all metrical compositions fitted to be sung, which may be historical, doctrinal, or supplicatory, as laudatory. The purpose of singing the Psalms was not only to express praise to the Lord, but also to assist the memory, and both to express and to excite all the gamut of emotions. Colossians 3:16 makes it clear that we are directed not only to praise God, but to teach and admonish ourselves and one another in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs.

  • A Look At The Book

The book includes one hundred fifty independent compositions. Most often there is no connection between one Psalm and the next. The Jews divided it into five books, corresponding to the Five Books of Moses (First, Psalms 1-42; Second, Psalms 43-72; Third, Psalms 73-89; Fourth, Psalms 90-106; Fifth, Psalms 107-150), many attempts have been made to discover, in this division, some critical or practical value, but in vain.

  • The Author(s)

The penman of most of them was David the son of Jesse, who is therefore called the sweet psalmist of Israel, 2 Samuel 23:1. Some that do not have his name in their titles yet are ascribed to him in other places, such as Psalm 2 (see Acts 4:25) and Psalm 96 and 105 (see 1 Chronicles 16). Psalm 90 is clearly said to be the prayer of Moses. Some of the Psalms were penned by Asaph (see 2 Chronicles 29:30), where they are said to praise the Lord in the words of David and Asaph, who is there called a seer or prophet. Some of the Psalms seem to have been written at the time of the Babylonian captivity. An example is Psalm 137.

With this as our background, let’s take a closer look at the first hymn in the Hebrew hymnbook, Psalm 1.

Early writers looked at Psalm 1 as an introduction to the book. Whether that is true or not, it does pack a powerful message, and that message is how to have contentment and peace of mind.

As we begin, we need to look at key word in this psalm, blessed. In many of the translation it is translated by the word happy. My dictionary defines happy as "the pleasurable sensations derived from the gratification of sensual appetites render a person temporarily happy. This is what most people think of when they think of being happy. However, real happiness, permanent happiness, referred to as blessedness in Psalm 1, refers to a person who enjoys peace of mind because they are in the favor of God.

Let’s examine Psalm 1 and see how to have contentment and peace of mind.

  • Reject The Advice of Those Who Ignore God & Disregard His Word

"Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly…" Psalms 1:1a

Those who will have contentment, peace of mind and fellowship with God must not walk in the counsel of the ungodly. What does that mean? It means, rejecting the advice of the world, which is diametrically opposed to the teaching of the Word. When I refer to the advice of the world, I have in mind the beliefs and philosophies the world.

How are these beliefs and philosophies promoted? Two of key promoters of worldly beliefs and philosophies are the entertainment industry and television.

What is the purpose of the counsel of the ungodly? It is to recruit followers to rebel against the Lord as we read in Psalm 2.

Those who will have fellowship with God and those who will have peace of mind will reject the counsel of the ungodly.

  • Refuse To Adopt The Habits of The Unsaved

"…nor standeth in the way of sinners…" Psalms 1:1b

The word standeth carries the idea of being a servant of. Next, consider the word way. It means habit; pattern of life; moral character. If you will have the blessing of God on your life, you must refuse to adopt the habits, lifestyle and character of the unsaved!

  • Resist Giving Any Ground To or Associating With Skeptics and Scoffers & Their Teachings

"…nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful." Psalm 1:1c

"Sitting in the seat…" to settle, to marry, and to dwell with. Scornful means a scoffer or a mocker. In focus are those who associate with those scoff at the teachings of the Bible. They are friends with this crowd.

Let’s review the negatives we have covered. If you will be happy and have the blessing of God on your life you must… 1) Reject The Advice of Those Who Ignore God & Disregard His Word 2) Refuse To Adopt The Habits of The Unsaved 3) Resist Giving Any Ground To or Associating With Skeptics and Scoffers & Their Teachings

These first three things are negative, however our next point is positive.

  • Refresh Yourself In The Word of God

"But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night." Psalms 1:2

The word delight means to take pleasure in; to long for; to desire. The word meditate means to study; to mull over in your mind.

  • Results Contrasted Between The Righteous and Ungodly

"And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. 4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. 5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. 6 For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish." Psalms 1:3-6

What results do you desire?

"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. 4 Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength:" Isaiah 26:3-4


Please click here for the Most Important Message of the Bible Concerning You. "
Is any of the following a blessing to you today?
"Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away."
Matthew 24:3

"Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."
Acts 4:12

"But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him."

1 Corinthians 2:9

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First Baptist Church of Oak Creek

10550 S. Howell Ave. - Oak Creek, WI 53154

Phone: 414-762-7575

Pastor: David L. Brown, Ph.D.

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