There is a myth that it is God's will that we treat all people as loving brothers and sisters - some who have gone astray or have as yet failed to see the light. Never offend them with the truth, never correct them when they hack the Word of God to pieces and above all never fight back when they ridicule the truth that you believe. If you do this God will bless you for your longsuffering and your persistent efforts to awaken the spiritually dead. NOT!!!
It has always been God's desire that His people be obedient to His word so that He might bless them above all people. To that end He has directed us to study His word, to teach it to our children and to avoid and reject all things and all people that would deny, diminish, or pervert that word. We are to live our lives according to what God says and not according to the world. We are to live sanctified, set apart from the world, living for God, striving for a purity of heart, mind and body that is well pleasing to our heavenly Father.
The apostle Paul wrote to the believers in Philippi praising and encouraging their obedience to the Word to this end.
Philippians 2:15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
That crooked and perverse nation has been with man since the time of Cain. It was God's will then as it is now that a separation be made between the believers and the non-believers. Expulsion, migration, withdrawal and the penalty of death were methods used to maintain that separation. This was not always practical or possible for Israel, nor is it for us. Therefore God exhorts us:
II Corinthians 7:1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear (reverence) of God.
To perfect holiness is to insure that our conduct reflects the sanctification that God has bestowed on us because we are His children. The great truths, which tell us how to accomplish this, are in the sixth chapter of II Corinthians. What was written to the church at Corinth expresses the same desire that God revealed to a psalmist nearly a thousand years earlier for the children of Israel, so that they might live sanctified in their day and time.
Psalm 1:1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
The first word of this Psalm, ?blessed?, is in Hebrew, the word ASHREY, one of two words meaning, ?to bless?, the other being BARAK. These are similar in meaning to the two Greek words used in the New Testament, MAKARIOS and EULOGEO, also translated ?blessed?. Both barak and eulogeo when applied to God mean ?to praise? and when applied to man mean, ?to bestow a benefit?.
Makarios and ashrey are better translated ?happy?. Worldly happiness is ephemeral and is usually beyond our control. If one's focus in life is seeking such, one will certainly discover as Solomon did that ?vanity of vanities, all is vanity?. Spiritual happiness is the result of a decision to believe and obey the Word of God followed by the accomplishing of it.
James 1:25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed [makarios] in his deed.
Mary, when she was pregnant with Jesus, visited Elizabeth, who was pregnant with John the Baptist, and heard this:
Luke 1:42b Blessed [eulogeo] art thou among women?..
and Luke 1:45a And blessed [makarios] is she that believed:
The blessing in verse 42 is the result of God's action, and that in verse 45 the result of Mary?s. So also the man in Proverbs:
Proverbs 3:13 Happy [ashrey] is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding.
The wisdom and understanding are blessings from God but his happiness is the result of his own effort and believing. To be a blessed man or woman requires us to love God enough to believe and obey His Word to the point of doing it, The spiritual happiness that follows results from knowing that we are obedient and loving children of a generous and loving God. One might say we are happy because we make God happy, although the bible never uses those words in respect to our Father. Instead?..
I John 3:22 And whatsoever we ask we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.
And Hebrews 13:20a,21a Now the God of peace?.., Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight?..
The focus then of the blessed man is to keep His commandments and do His will because of our love for Him and not for the benefits that will surely follow.
Psalm 128:1-2 Blessed [ashrey] is everyone that feareth (reverences) the LORD; that walketh in his ways. For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy [ashrey] shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee.
Psalm 1:1a Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly?
The word ?walketh? is HALACH in Hebrew. It is used over 500 times in the bible but is never used in a causative conjugation, i.e. to make to walk or to be made to walk. Inherent in its? meaning is the presumption of willingness, to walk by one's own power and choice. When not used in its literal sense, ?walk? usually means ?take action?.
Psalm 119:1-3 Blessed [ashrey] are the undefiled in the way, who walk [halach] in the law of the LORD. Blessed [ashrey] are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart. They also do no iniquity: they walk [halach] in his ways.
You cannot be forced to be blessed. To seek God with the whole heart is in harmony with the use of halach, to walk, to take action because it pleases us to do so. Similarly ?walketh not,? means we take no action, we reject the counsel of the ungodly. This is not just a matter of not following bad advice or not acting on unreliable information, it is rebellion against God to do otherwise.
Isaiah 30:1a Woe to the rebellious children, saith the LORD, that take counsel, but not of me?
The counsel we take must be the rightly divided Word of God. Any counsel other than God's counsel brings less than the best. There is no place in a believer?s life for almost the word or mostly the word. The counsel of the ungodly doesn?t even come close.
Proverbs 10:32 The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable: but the mouth of the wicked [ungodly] speaketh frowardness.
Frowardness is a perversion, a changing around or turning upside down. The ungodly, (usually translated wicked), are just plain bad but in the perversion of our modern speech bad is not bad any more, nor is wicked wicked, as in ?a bad flick? or ?a wicked curve ball?. That?s forwardness. That?s a perversion of language. That?s what the counsel of the ungodly is.
Proverbs 12:5 The thoughts of the righteous are right: but the counsels of the wicked are deceit.
Isaiah 5:20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
Isaiah 57:20-21 But the wicked are like the troubled sea when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.
The counsel of the wicked is meant to defraud, to subvert. It can be as subtle as ?Yea, hath God said?..??, or as blunt as ?Ye shall not surely die.?
Proverbs 4:14-16 Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away. For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall.
Here we are told in six ways to keep away from the wicked. This is the figure of speech Synonymia, of which E. W. Bullinger in his book ?Figures of Speech Used In The Bible? writes, ? God uses it to emphasize His wisdom, power, or purpose, when words of similar meaning are heaped together to attract the attention, and impress the mind.? Job was not one bit taken in by the wicked when they said?..
Job 21:15-16 What is the Almighty, that we should serve him? And what profit should we have, if we pray unto him? Lo, their good is not in their hand: the counsel of the wicked is far from me.
The heart of a man turns to God or away from God as the man allows. The deceit and cleverness of the ungodly is an attempt to cause the unlearned or unskilled in the Word to believe a lie, to serve the creation instead of the Creator.
Deuteronomy 30:17-18a But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; I denounce unto this day, that ye shall surely perish?.
Psalm 1:6 For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.
Not only shall those who turn their hearts away from the true God perish, but their way and their ways shall also perish with them. The Hebrew word used here for ?perish? means to be destroyed, to be lost, to become extinct, having one's name and memory forgotten. It is the opposite of the word AMAD, to stand, as in?..
Psalm I:1b ?..nor standeth in the way of sinners?..
Hezekiah brought the priests and Levites to the temple and told them to sanctify themselves and exhorted them:
II Chronicles 29:11 My sons, be not now negligent [or deceived], for the LORD hath chosen you to stand [amad] before him, to serve him, and that ye should minister unto him, and burn incense.
God has chosen us also that we should serve Him and not perish. That we should not be destroyed but established; not be lost but found in His presence; not become extinct but prosper. The queen of Sheba said to Solomon:
I Kings 10:8 Happy [ashrey] are thy men, and happy [ashrey] are these thy servants, which stand [amad] continually before thee, and that hear thy wisdom.
Solomon himself said of that wisdom:
Ecclesiastes 2:9 So I was great, and increased more than all that were before me in Jerusalem: also my wisdom remained [amad] with me.
Jethro told Moses:
Exodus 18:23 If thou shalt do this thing, and God command thee so, then thou shalt be able to endure [amad], and all this people shall also go to their place in peace.
To stand biblically means to continue with endurance, to support, to establish, to cause to benefit from one's effort. Those who have chosen to stand in the way of sinners are those who have turned their hearts away from God by accepting as truth the counsel of the ungodly.
Romans 1:28, 32 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
To have pleasure implies consent, support and the desire to promote or benefit. That pleasure may be masked by silence or non-action, but that apparent neutrality is shmoozing with the enemy. The household is exhorted to take an active stand against wickedness and be established.
Ephesians 6:13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand [stand opposed] in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
The verb ?to have pleasure?, in Romans 1:32, begins with the Greek prefix sun, meaning together with, or in association with. This agrees with the usage of the word ? sinners? in Psalm 1:1 which is used only in the plural in the bible to indicate a group effort or conspiracy in multiple offences. Their end was always to die, either by the sword or by fire or by earthquake, or to wander endlessly. The word in Hebrew is CHATTA, an intensive form of the word for sin. It appears just 18 times in the bible. A look at some of the people to whom this word is applied will reveal the worst of the enemies of God's people.
Genesis 13:13 But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners [chatta] before the LORD exceedingly.
By the figure of speech hendiadys, this verse declares them to be ?exceedingly wicked sinners?. This is the only occurrence in the bible of these words together. The word exceedingly is a superlative and implies a vehemence and completeness. The offence is of course homosexuality.
Numbers 16:3 And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them: wherefore lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the LORD?
Korah and his co-conspirators managed to recruit 250 more of the leadership of Israel in a rebellion against Moses and Aaron, the men that God ordained to be the leaders of His people. They are referred to as ?these sinners? in verse 38.
Numbers 32:7-8, 14 And wherefore discourage ye the heart of the children of Israel from going over into the land that the LORD hath given them? Thus did your fathers, when I sent them from Kadesh-barnea to see the land. And, behold, ye are risen up in your fathers? stead, an increase in sinful men [chatta], to augment yet the fierce anger of the LORD towards Israel.
Their fathers had deliberately given a false report to Moses in an attempt to crush the will of the people to act on God's promise and thereby be cheated out of His blessing.
I Samuel 15:18 And the LORD sent thee on a journey, and said, Go and utterly destroy the sinners [chatta] the Amalekites, and fight against them until they be consumed.
The Amalekites first warred against God's people in the wilderness of Sinai. At times they allied themselves with Moab and Midian, and constantly attacked and raided the children of Israel for 500 years until their remnant was destroyed in the time of Hezekiah.
Psalm 26:9 Gather not my soul with sinners [chatta], nor my life with bloody men.
Proverbs 1:10, 16, 19 My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not. For their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood. So are the ways of every one that is greedy for gain; which taketh away the life of the owners thereof.
These are murders, with no regard for human life, greedy for gain.
Isaiah 1:28 And the destruction of the transgressors and of the sinners [chatta] shall be together, and they that forsake the LORD shall be consumed.
To forsake the Lord means to dismiss God, to relinquish all connection with Him. I Chronicles 15:2 states that in that event God would reciprocate.
Isaiah 33:14 The sinners [chatta] in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?
There is a word that has entered the English language from the Yiddish for the Hebrew word for thief. This word, Gonif, is translated here as hypocrite although in our time it is used for a con man or rip-off artist. The New Wilson?s Old Testament Word Studies defines such a person as ?one defiled in mind and conscience, yet concealing it, and pretending to be outwardly what he is not inwardly?. Zion today is the household of God. Sinners by definition cannot be a part of the household but can parasitically live where the household lives, working with them, sharing with them and pretending to be like them. The second part of this verse is a figure of speech called Erotesis In Affirmative Negation. It is used to emphasize the unspoken answer to the questions, ?who shall dwell??? God commands us to be separated from them. We either come out from among them or get them out from among us. God has called us to peace not heartache.
There remains yet one more group, which makes no pretense about their position. They are the most easily recognizable and avoided.
Psalm 1:1c ?..nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
The Hebrew word for scornful is LOOTS. It originally meant to imitate one's speech. In a good sense it means to speak the same language, to interpret. In a bad sense, as here, it means to imitate with contempt, to mock. It is an attack on one's credibility, intelligence and integrity.
Proverbs 20:1a Wine is a mocker [loots]?.
This is so because it destroys one's credibility, intelligence and integrity. The end result being that the speaker becomes unworthy of one's attention, his words are of no consequence and they are not to be believed. This was the Adversary?s ploy on the day of Pentecost when the apostles were speaking the wonderful works of God.
Acts 2:13 Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.
Knowing the truth, it is not the scorned but the scornful that are unworthy of attention. The Word of God strips them bare and exposes their reprobate thinking.
Isaiah 28:14-15 Wherefore hear the word of the LORD, ye scornful [loots] men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem. Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves.
The Hebrew word for seat is YASHAV, and means to take rest, to dwell, to remain. Seat is put by the figure of speech Metonymy for the place in which the seat is located. It may be in a congregation, an assembly, a home or merely in the company of another.
Proverbs 21:16 The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation [yashav] of the dead.
Psalm 26:4-5 I have not sat [yashav] with vain persons, neither will I go in with dissemblers. I have hated the congregation of evil doers; and will not sit [yashav] with the wicked.
Psalm 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I shall dwell [yashav] in the house of the LORD forever.
The spoken Word triggers scorn in some people. The experience of Jeremiah teaches us how to handle them.
Jeremiah 15:15-17 O LORD, thou knowest: remember me, and visit me, and revenge me of my persecutors; take me not away in thy longsuffering: know that for thy sake I have suffered rebuke. Thy words were found and I did eat them; and thy word was the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts. I sat [yashav] not in the assembly of the mockers, nor rejoiced; I sat [yashav] alone because of thy hand: for thou hast filled me with indignation.
Jeremiah was filled with indignation because of their contempt for the Word. If we have a passion for the truth we will be passionately indignant. God wants us to hold forth the Word to those that want it, and not to be a target for scorn or abuse. Look at God's instructions to Jeremiah.
Jeremiah 15:19 Therefore thus saith the LORD, If thou return, then will I bring thee again, and thou shalt stand [amad] before me: and if thou take forth the precious from the vile, thou shalt be as my mouth: let them return unto thee; but return not thou unto them.
Our efforts should be to separate the hungry and thirsty from the spiritually dead. Just as the Word was the joy and rejoicing of Jeremiah?s heart, so too is it to the blessed man. God says this about him:
Psalm 1:2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
The Hebrew word for delight is KHAYFETZ; it is synonymous with pleasure or desire. Its root in the verb form means to incline, to bend. When we say we are inclined to do something we admit to being persuaded by circumstances. That is not the usage here. This is to determine, to purpose in our minds, by free will choice, to delight, to find pleasure in, to bring our thoughts captive to our will, and for the Church, the called-out of God, to bring our thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ.
Isaiah 58:13-14 If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honorable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, not finding thine own pleasure, not speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight [khayfetz] thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.
Until we take ourselves out of the rat race of happiness, stop walking according to the course of this world and humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, we will never know the blessedness of the blessed man.
Psalm 112:1-3 Praise ye the LORD. Blessed [ashrey] is the man that feareth the LORD, that delighteth [khayfetz] greatly in his commandments. His seed shall be mighty upon earth: the generation of the upright shall be blessed [barak]. Wealth and riches shall be in his house: and his righteousness endureth [amad] forever.
Psalm 40:8 I delight [khayfetz] to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.
Khayfetz, delight, requires self-control and the determination of purpose. Knowing that God's word is faithful to reveal His will and that God is good always, we can advance confidently by overcoming the desires of our old man nature and doing that which is well pleasing to God. Certainly it is a delight to have the Word in our minds, but the blessing follows the doing of it. It may be of some benefit to note here that the root of the word blessed [ashrey] is the verb Asher ?to move forward prosperously?, as in:
Proverbs 9:6 Forsake the foolish and live; and go [asher] in the way of understanding.
When the mantle of leadership was transferred to him, Joshua was exhorted:
Joshua 1:7-8 Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper withersoever thou goest. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
God told Joshua to meditate in the law, the Word, that he may observe to do. Sitting in a lotus position and letting one's mind meld with the cosmic oneness will never bring one to the point of doing God's will. This form of mental masturbation may make one feel good and be at peace with the world but it is a pure counterfeit. Meditation in the bible is not a mind game but a means to strengthen the mind by keeping the Word fresh and active in our thinking. The Hebrew word HAGAH originally meant to murmur, not in a bad sense by complaining, but by speaking softly as to one's self, then to reflect or meditate.
Psalm 35:28 And my tongue shall speak [hagah] of thy righteousness and of thy praise all the day long.
This doesn?t mean we are to go around all day murmuring to ourselves. This is silent reflection of God's righteousness, and praise to Him.
Psalm 5:1-2 Give ear to my words O LORD, consider my meditation [hagah]. Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God: for unto thee will I pray.
This verse indicates that silent prayer is included in the definition of hagah.
Psalm 19:14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation [hagah] of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.
Proverbs 15:28a The heart of the righteous studieth [hagah] to answer?.
The general idea of the word ? to answer? in Proverbs 15:28 is to act with respect to others, or to cause that act in another. Jesus Christ taught:
Matthew 12:34b-35a ?.out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things?..
Psalm 49:3 My mouth shall speak of wisdom; and the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding.
Meditation is the thoughtful and purposeful reflection and repetition of the Word of God. It is not the mindless recitation of a mantra or ritualistic prayer. When we memorize scripture we not only meditate on the words but give them meaning and importance. To act on the Word one must first know the Word. Just as God told Joshua to meditate so that he might do all that was written, so too the blessed man was assured good success.
Psalm 1:3 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.
The Blessed Man sanctifies himself from the world. He puts a boundary between his heart and the heart of the unbelievers. His speech reflects the Word of God in his heart. His ways reflect his obedience to that Word and his life is a testimony of God's goodness and grace. He controls his thinking, keeping the Word in his mind by diligent effort, rejecting the counsel of the ungodly, ignoring the mockery of the scornful, standing opposed to the ways of those who would harm God's people or extinguish His Word.
Psalm 104:33-35 I will sing unto the LORD as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being. My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the LORD. Let the sinners be consumed out of the earth, and let the wicked be no more. Bless thou the LORD, O my soul. Praise ye the LORD.