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Psalm 1 1
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. 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. 3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. 4 Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away. 5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. 6 For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

clip_image117Background 2

This first Psalm stands as a kind of introduction to the rest of the Psalms. Its subject matter is very general and basic, but it touches on two subjects that continually occur throughout the Psalms. It declares the blessedness of the righteous and the misery and future of the wicked.

Man’s spiritual life is set forth negatively and positively, inwardly and externally, figuratively and literally. Above all else, it summarizes all that is to follow in the rest of the Psalms, and, for that matter, in the rest of Scripture.

It presents two ways of life: the way of the righteous and the way of the wicked. However, the key subject is the centrality of God’s Word to the life and fruitfulness of the righteous who truly love His Word. Two great thrusts flow out of this: (a) the importance and absolute necessity of the Scripture, and (b) the changed character, stability, and fruitfulness it promises to those who make Scripture the core of their lives.

Biblical Truths 3

Psalm one drives home its truth by the use of contrasts.

  1. There is the way of the godly and their blessedness in contrast to the way of the ungodly (1:1-6).
  2. The way of the godly is set forth by way of a contrast: negatively, what the godly do not do (1:1), and positively, what the godly do (1:2).
  3. Then there is the contrast between the results of the two ways of life; the godly are stable and fruitful, but the ungodly are unstable and face sure judgment. Here is a contrast between character and destiny.

Psalm one is a wisdom Psalm. There are praise Psalms, lament Psalms, and enthronement Psalms and all contain wisdom, of course, but as an introduction and door to the rest of the Psalms, this Psalm declares in just a few words some of the most basic but profound truths and propositions of the Bible.

In essence, God says there are two ways of life open to us: one means blessedness, happiness, and fruitfulness, but the other means cursedness, unhappiness, and judgment. The choice is ours. Blessedness is a choice, but to be blessed, one must by faith obey the conditions; he must pursue the way of blessedness as described in this Psalm.

Items for Discussion

  • This psalm is filled with imagery. Describe why these images are so perfect for someone who is following our God’s laws?
    • He is like a tree planted by streams of water
    • which yields its fruit in season
    • whose leaf does not wither
    • They are like chaff that the wind blows away.
  • What is it that we must do to be like the images that the psalmist describes?
  • This psalm also uses contrasts. What contrasts do you find?
  • Why are the psalms, with such great imagery and contracts, so effective for teaching?
  • How does the fact that psalms were written first as lyrics and sung help their effectiveness?

 

John 17:6-19
6 “I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. 7 Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. 8 For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. 9 I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. 11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name—the name you gave me—so that they may be one as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled. 13 “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify£ them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

Background

The Gospel of John is one of the four Gospels which the early church authorized as being based on the evidence of eyewitnesses to the life of Jesus. John, one of His Apostles, had a unique opportunity to learn what Jesus taught in His most intimate conversations. Indeed John was one of the ‘inner three’ among the Apostles. It was John who questioned Jesus at the last supper about who would betray Jesus. This made John a very suitable author of a Gospel, that is, of an interpretive life of Jesus. John’s writings consist of the Gospel and three letters. There is little reason for doubting that all were written by the Apostle John.

Biblical Truths 4

John 17:6-10. 

Christ prays for those that are his. Thou gave them me, as sheep to the shepherd, to be kept; as a patient to the physician, to be cured; as children to a tutor, to be taught: thus he will deliver up his charge. It is a great satisfaction to us, in our reliance upon Christ, that he, all he is and has, and all he said and did, all he is doing and will do, are of God. Christ offered this prayer for his people alone as believers; not for the world at large. Yet no one who desires to come to the Father, and is conscious that he is unworthy to come in his own name, need be discouraged by the Savior’s declaration, for he is both able and willing to save to the uttermost, all that come unto God by him. Earnest convictions and desires, are hopeful tokens of a work already wrought in a man; they begin to evidence that he has been chosen unto salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth. They are thine; wilt thou not provide for thine own? Wilt thou not secure them? Observe the foundation on which this plea is grounded, All mine are thine, and thine are mine. This speaks the Father and Son to be one. All mine are thine. The Son owns none for his, that are not devoted to the service of the Father.

John 17:11-16

Christ does not pray that they might be rich and great in the world, but that they might be kept from sin, strengthened for their duty, and brought safe to heaven. The prosperity of the soul is the best prosperity. He pleaded with his Holy Father, that he would keep them by his power and for his glory, that they might be united in affection and labors, even according to the union of the Father and the Son. He did not pray that his disciples should be removed out of the world, that they might escape the rage of men, for they had a great work to do for the glory of God, and the benefit of mankind. But he prayed that the Father would keep them from the evil, from being corrupted by the world, the remains of sin in their hearts, and from the power and craft of Satan. So that they might pass through the world as through an enemy’s country, as he had done. They are not left here to pursue the same objects as the men around them, but to glorify God, and to serve their generation. The Spirit of God in true Christians is opposed to the spirit of the world.

John 17:17-19

Christ next prayed for the disciples, that they might not only be kept from evil, but made good. It is the prayer of Jesus for all that are his, that they may be made holy. Even disciples must pray for sanctifying grace. The means of giving this grace is, “through thy truth, thy word is truth.” Sanctify them, set them apart for thyself and thy service. Own them in the office; let thy hand go with them. Jesus entirely devoted himself to his undertaking, and all the parts of it, especially the offering up himself without spot unto God, by the eternal Spirit. The real holiness of all true Christians is the fruit of Christ’s death, by which the gift of the Holy Ghost was purchased; he gave himself for his church, to sanctify it. If our views have not this effect on us, they are not Divine truth, or we do not receive them by a living and a working faith, but as mere notions.

Items for Discussion

  • When someone gives you something to watch or to protect, how do you respond?
  • Christ is telling us that God gave you to Him. How should the Christian feel about that?
  • Why is it good to have Christ watching over us?
  • What are the primary responsibilities that Christ lists as His when it comes to us?
  • What are Christ’s goals for us? What is He praying for?
  • When Christ prays for all of us to be as one like He and His Father are one, what would the Church look like if we met that goal?

Discussion Challenge

  • To protect, one must be active and involved. Therefore, Christ must be here to offer His protection, prayers and intercession. This is in essence what faith is, belief that Christ is with us today. How should the Christian demonstrate their belief that Christ is alive?
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