“How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!”— Psalm 1:1
They say the pursuit of happiness is a fundamental right. Everyone is free to pursue joy and live life in a way that makes them happy, as long as they don’t do anything illegal or violate the rights of others. And I believe there isn’t any right we all exercise like this one. Every day when we wake up, we at least in planning, plan to pursue joy and happiness, even though it may elude us that day. No one in their right mind plans to pursue sadness or sorrow. This pursuit, I believe is intrinsic to our nature, although some people are not concerned about the latter part- not doing anything illegal or violate the rights of others- in fact, I believe that points to how strongly this desire to be happy drives us all, that some don’t mind having it at the expense of others.
This is why I love Psalm 1. Because it also infers this sentiment that we are all pursuing joy and happiness, even though it may elude us because of the route we are taking. We are all very familiar with Psalm 1, especially the first verse and you probably can recite the entire six verses. But I think our familiarity and simplicity of this Psalm may probably be the reason why, for many, the true meaning and richness has evaded them.
Today and in the coming weeks, I want us to look at this psalm together and dig up the gems in it (2Tim 3:16-17). I’ll like us to see how in describing the truly happy man, the psalmist teaches us what the true path to lasting happiness is. I am convinced that if there is anyone you really want to be like, it’s the man described in this psalm because the third verse tells us that “And in whatever he does, he prospers”. Isn’t that what we all want? To prosper in everything we do, everything!
The Happy man Described
Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! (Psalm 1:1)
But what does it mean “not to walk in the counsel of the wicked”? To answer this question, we must first understand what the Psalmist means by the word “wicked”.
A wicked person, or ungodly as the ESV puts it is a person that has little or no regard for anything sacred. God doesn’t inform anything he does, which makes him hostile to God. He is unconcerned about God’s view of matters. He looks to life without reference to God. He doesn’t use God nor His word as a source of information or manual for life.
Now in 2020, that’s about everything and every piece of information we are given overtly or covertly. Everything we know and have been taught about standard of living, modesty, material possessions, love, relationships, justice can be truly termed “counsel of the wicked” because they didn’t come from God’s word or people who regard God in any way.
An ungodly man isn’t just the rapist or robber. Keeping a small list of wicked people is probably why we have ingested ungodly counsel all of our lives. Our list should include every and all forms of information both overt and covert that is either boldly or subtly opposing what the bible teaches either clearly or by inference. When such a person or medium counsels you, he definitely isn’t telling you anything from God’s perspective. Any advice he gives is not given with consideration of what God thinks. A man that doesn’t have regard for God can’t speak a word/information/counsel that has regard for God.
And to “walk” in such counsel is a figurative way of speaking about “living”.
A happy man doesn’t live his life on the counsel or advice from people/mediums who do not regard God or consider His word as the manual for life.
The question I want you to consider my friend is in what way and to what degree have you been living in and on the counsel, advice, or information of people and mediums who overtly or covertly have no regard for what God has said, who are unconcerned about God’s view, and who in so doing actively oppose God even though they choose a passive means of ignoring Him and not referencing Him?
You should be wary of the world systems, news media, social media, friends, which are constantly giving you both solicited and unsolicited advice. They do not love God nor do they in any way side with God’s view on any matter. Because they can’t. The carnal mind is hostile to God (Rom 8:7).
These counsels are like the fungi that cause dry rot in wood. These fungi digest parts of the wood which give the wood strength and stiffness. The wood is left weakened and brittle, often with a blocky appearance.
This is what these counsels would do to you. They eat away the fiber of your conscience little by little. Taking away your strength and resilience and leaving a blocky appearance. Meanwhile, you no longer have faith, no piousness, you no longer read your bible like you used to nor pray with excitement like you used to. Like the fungi, these counsels won’t come as a violent assault but subtle advice targeted at your pure, sometimes naive conscience. Because you have to be naive to turn and listen to these wicked counsels (Prov 9:16)
The thoughts of the righteous are just, But the counsels of the wicked are deceitful. (Proverbs 12:5). Friends, there’s nothing the world wants to tell us that isn’t deceitful. Do not enter the path of the wicked And do not proceed in the way of evil men. Avoid it, do not pass by it; Turn away from it and pass on. (Proverbs 4:14)
The world is constantly setting and dictating its standards to us and expects us to live by it. They are violently pushing their standard for living, dressing, leisure, work, ethics, and much more unto us. But we are expected to live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God (Matt 4:4).
What should we do now?
We have to hate the life of the ungodly. We have to hate the standard they are setting and the counsels they give. Don’t let it appeal to you. When you see it, remember they can only give deceitful counsels. There is nothing true about it. Search out in your own life now where you’ve been following the counsel of the wicked, confess your sins, and repent today. Pray, resolve, and ask the Holy Spirit for help to make good on your resolutions.
Friends, the world is working double shift to wear you down, barraging us every minute of every day, targeting the fiber of our conscience, testing our resolve, persistently and subtly launching different attacks on us, but we must remember what God has said in Proverbs 3:5-7
Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and turn away from evil. (Emphasis added)
Remember, if happy is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, then cursed is the man who walks in the counsel of the ungodly.