One of the most interesting books in the New Testament is the book of Acts. Acts has a primary focus with regard to the emerging Christian movement from its Jewish matrix into a redemption movement to all the nations. It is all about, ‘For God so loved the world.’
Acts is also about ‘putting on Christ.’ The message of salvation in Acts is a constant with regard to salvation. The beauty of Acts is also found in its Hebrew thought form. This is why I’ve designed a series of studies to help believers uncover the treasures of this book.
The studies are not a commentary on each Scripture. The focus is allow believers see how the ancient faith unfolds into the work of the cross. (Acts covers 35+ years of early church history.)
Now with regard to the ancient faith let’s use Psalm 1, as a backdrop. This Psalm sets the tone for the entire book of Psalms. It encapsulates the heart of a true walk of faith with the Lord, and is replete with prophetic insights of God’s Messiah.
Seeking the Ancient Path
To appreciate the depth and beauty of Psalm 1, we must approach it from a Biblical-Hebrew perspective. To the ancients, religion was defined as an individual walking the road of life. The believer’s relationship is with God. Torah (God’s Word) is the road map. Thus we hear David say, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105)
How does the ancient walk carry over into the new covenant? The ancient faith is fully realized in Jesus Christ. The Lord said, “I am the light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
When Jesus said, ”I am the way”, or made reference to, ”broad is the way,” these terms were familiar to the Jews of His time. There has always been but two ways. You have the way of the righteous. Or you have the way of the wicked.
And so Psalm 1, and the Sermon on the Mountain are similar. Psalm 1:1, says, “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked.” The very first thing Jesus says on the mountain is, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3)
Then we have this characteristic of the righteous man and woman. The righteous person delights in truth. Psalm 1:2, says, “But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.”
The righteous person loves the truth. His bend, pleasure, and delight is towards Torah (God’s Word.) When Jesus said “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied,” it is very likely that His Jewish audience would be reminded of Psalm 1.
The thing to understand is that God’s written Word is a living Word those who believe. It is full of wisdom and power. It works itself into our very nature and spreads its healing love throughout our being.
This is why the apostle Peter said, “Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation.” (1 Peter 2:2)
Peter was speaking of our attitude towards God’s Word. Just as an infant instinctively seeks its mother’s breast for nourishment, new covenant believer instinctively seeks the nourishment of God’s Word.
Notice that Psalms 2:2 says, “In His law he meditates day and night.” Here we need to bring out the Hebrew. The word for meditate is ‘hagah.’ This word means to mutter, to emit a sound, to speak in undertone. To the ancient this word meant to articulate with God from the heart.
It is not uncommon to hear a believer saying, ‘Thank you, Jesus’, in a low tone. He is not trying to impress anyone. This is a natural outflow of a heart that is filled with the love for Life. To love Life is to love Jesus.
A dove coos. A lion rumbles. We pour out our heart with quiet talks to the Lord throughout the day.
Then we see the characteristic of the righteous man in Psalm 1 – “He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season.”
But for the ungodly, there are three words describe the ungodly man. “Wicked.” “Sinner.” “Scoffer.” Wicked is from a root word which means to be agitated; confused; in motion; restless. The wicked are ethically loose & unstable.
In another Psalm we read, “God makes a home for the lonely: He leads out the prisoners into prosperity, Only the rebellious dwell in a parched land.” (Ps68:6)
Psalm 1, ends with, “For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.”
The Hebrew term for knows, ‘yada’, is a very strong word. It means to watch over; be deeply involved with. The righteous man walks with God. The righteous man is always watched over by the Lord God. This is true Biblical prosperity.
The righteous shares the joy of walking with God. while the sinner is agitated and confused. The sinner has no one but himself.
There has always been but one path for the righteous. The righteous path has always been a walk with the Lord. And when Jesus came into our world, the path of the righteous is summed by Jesus; “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but through Me.”
To complete this study let’s take one more look at how the righteous man’s delight is in the Word of the Lord.
A Love for God’s Word
The working principle of faith always begins with learning to rightly divide the written Word of God. Ignore this beginning place and you subject yourself to all kinds of interferences in your faith walk, including your own emotions, and desires.Cf. 2 Co. 3:3-6,18.
Those who get in trouble spiritually are almost always those who place esoteric experiences above God’s Word. While dreams, visions, and prophecies, can play a part in our walk with the Lord, nothing is ever to take the place of learning truth from the sacred Word of God. It is a love of truth (a delight in God’s Word) that will put the believer into a true faith walk. Cf. Jeremiah 23:20,22,28,29; John 14:15,23,24.
Think about these things. Do you truly love God’s Word? Do you love it enough to set aside all other voices and learn to listen to Him alone?
What is the ancient path really all about? Let the prophet tell us —
“But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel.
“His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity. Therefore He will give them up until the time when she who is in labor has borne a child.” (Mic 5:2-5)
Take time this song by ‘The Isaacs’, titled, the Living Years. It will touch the memories of your heart.
In Christ Always,