Just beneath the surface of many of the best known, and some less well-known, verses of sacred Scripture, there lies a hidden treasure that many casual Bible readers may never see. Quite often just a short, prayerful pause to reflect upon the written word will allow God the Holy Spirit to open our minds to deeper revelations as to the importance of a specific verse or series of verses. New ways of applying that Scripture to our lives begin to become clear to us. For that reason, pastor and author Sam Owens invites readers to grab their spiritual shovels and dig a little deeper into the treasure that is God’s Holy Word!
Psalm 1:1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful. It seems that part of our fallen human nature is to want to seek and find that elusive thing called happiness. Admittedly, doses of it can be found at times, but it is usually fleeting. Happiness comes and goes with the various circumstances that visit us during our life. Far better than being happy is being blessed. This verse of scripture tells us how to be just that. It gives us three things to avoid if we want to live a truly blessed life. Notice the progression of things that God cannot bless and the digression of ones relationship to God. A person who wants to be blessed will not walk in the counsel of the ungodly. This means that a person desiring Gods blessings had better spend time in the Bible and in prayer so as to have the biblical basis and the spiritual guidance to know the ungodly from the godly. Human perception or attitudes will not be sufficient. Then, when coming to know who are the ungodly, this person seeking to be blessed will not listen to the things they have to say, will not allow them to shape his or her worldview and will absolutely refuse to allow them to shape ideas as to what is and what is not morally acceptable. (This may mean becoming very selective in what TV shows, movies and music one allows into ones life.) When a person begins to walk comfortably in the counsel of the ungodly, it usually is not long before that one is standing in the path of sinners. This means that the person has found a place where he/she wants to tarry awhile. It seems to signify both approval and acceptance of what the ungodly are doing or saying. Saul of Tarsus did not throw a stone at Stephen, but he stood by while others did (Acts 7:58). It may also mean actual participation with them in their evil activities. The person who takes this dangerous second step will not be blessed. If one stands in the path of sinners long enough, that place becomes more familiar and inviting until finally he/she takes a seat. They sit down in the seat of the scornful. Who are the scornful? Those who have such a low opinion of God that they feel that they can say and do anything they want. At this point the subject has strayed into a godless lifestyle. He/she may be rewarded with fleeting moments of happiness, but they will not be blessed. Many an unsuspecting victim has fallen into the trap of simply walking in the counsel of the ungodly, not knowing where that will ultimately lead. That is the first seemingly innocent step on a pathway that leads to disaster. It is a step to be avoided. As the victim progresses along this way, they get deeper and deeper into sinful activity. As a result they grow farther and farther away from God. And they will miss a life of Gods blessedness.
Sam Owens is a graduate of Davis and Elkins College in Elkins, West Virginia, and Luther Rice Seminary in Lithonia, Georgia. For the past thirty years he has served as pastor of churches in Washington, DC; North Carolina; and Italy. He currently serves as president of the International Baptist Convention, headquartered in Frankfurt, Germany. He and his wife, Adele, have been married for forty-two years.