Thursday, February 24, 2022

Lenten Services-St. John & Mt. Olive


March 2 - Ash Wednesday at both churches. St. John at 5:00 and Mt. Olive at 6:30

 March 9 - Service at St. John 6:30

 March 16 - Service at Mt. Olive at 6:30

 March 23 - Service at St. John 6:30

March 30 - Service at Mt. Olive at 6:30

 April 6 - Service at St. John at 6:30

 April 14 - Maundy Thursday at Mt. Olive 6:30

 April 15 - Good Friday at St. John 6:30

April 17 - Resurrection Day service at St. John - 8:30, at Mt. Olive - 10:00


Heritage - Worship Link, February 20, 2022


The Word of God gives us the

ability to forgive!

Worship Link-February 20, 2022

Pastor's Note - The Light of the Gospel

 2 Corinthians 3:12-4:6
English Standard Version
12 Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, 13 not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. 14 But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. 15 Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. 16 But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

The Light of the Gospel

4 Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart. 2 But we have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God's word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5 For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.


It is a somewhat complex undertaking to imagine what the people of God, gathered around Mount Sinai, would have experienced when Moses came down the mountain after speaking with God. Maybe we could think of this brightness that shone from Moses’ face, as a brightness like that of the sun or a blast furnace. It was bright and overwhelming. It was difficult for the people to see Moses’ face. It may even have offended their sense of security and caused them to shudder.

God was revealing His perfect, holy laws to Israel as a covenant between Himself and them. God was speaking directly to Moses, giving him the Law. As God elaborated each one of the Laws, glorious as they came from the mouth of God, it caused Moses’ face, his skin, to radiate. He was too bright for the people to look at.

Confusing as it may be, there is a lesson here for us about the very Words of God: they are bright and pristine, glorious in their content because they come from the holy wisdom of the Supreme Intelligence of God. They are the gold standard. None can be above them or beyond them. Even Moses’ skin reacted to this perfect standard that God personally revealed to Moses. These Words from the mouth of God brought a glory that caused Moses’ face to shine.

 Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses' face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end. (2 Corinthians 3:7)

Notice the ministry that these words were intended to work among the people. Fix your attention on the most prominent feature of God’s holy, glorious Law (carved in letters on stone). It was designed and destined to minister death. It was glorious because every one of those perfect words came from God, but those words only provided death for sin filled hearts. There was no possibility of completing them. Every one of those laws was to do a service, a ministry, in the hearts and lives and minds of the people. That ministry was to convince the human heart of its lost condition - condemnation.

As they approached these laws, day by day they were to meet failure. Each attempt to keep these statutes would solidify an end: “death.” Yet we must remember the glorious brilliance of this Law - all these laws were from the mouth of God. Their work in the human soul would create a fatal end and also remain brilliant. Their ministry was death but there was still glory attached to them.

Now Paul speaks about the ministry that he has to the nations. It is profoundly different in its end. There is a New Testament, or new covenant, ministry. It also comes from the mouth of the Lord and it shines with a holy brightness but it’s end is not death but life.

Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. (2 Corinthians 3:12-13)

Here comes the somewhat confusing veil. Moses would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites couldn’t see this brightness that was a reflection of hearing God’s Law directly from the lips of God. That Law’s ministry had its end or its telos. There was an end goal that God had in mind with this glorious Law. The human heart was to become convinced of the impossibility of pleasing God by performing these laws and any laws. Humanity’s horrible failure would bring condemnation and death.

This first covenant was preparation for a second, new covenant that we now know as the Gospel. Paul is telling us that we all have a real hope in our delivery of God’s message. We have a real, living hope because there is a different outcome to this form of ministry to which he speaks.

For this we will move ahead to the final verse for today:

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:6)

This ministry was delivered from the mouth of God; it had the same brilliant, holy, glorious brightness. This light shone into the darkness of our hearts, but not in terror that the Law would bring. Not in requirements that could never be met by us and therefore solicit condemnation. Not in lists and the relentless standards that were unmovable and demanding. This light from the mouth of God is the sweet illuminating news that Jesus Christ, with true human heart, body and soul, was also the promised Son of God and therefore able to create a righteous solution. Jesus was the only man able to fully complete God’s righteous requirements.

The light from the Word of God is revealed to us, not in the Law and its perfect demands. The light of the Word of God is opened up to us as we discover, by the Spirits urging, the good news of Jesus Christ.  It is the Spirit that lifts the veil from our hearts so that we see both the impossibility of keeping God’s glorious, stunning Law. It is the same Spirit that rushes to soothe our beleaguered hearts and assures us that an answer has come in the person of Jesus CHrist.

The Light of the Gospel is given to us in the face of Christ Jesus. In Christ Jesus we have the same God but He displays His purpose for walking and living in this crusty world. 

This light from the gospel brings a new way to live. We don’t have the burden of trying to appease an impossible requirement - the Holy Law of God. Instead we now have the freedom that comes from Jesus’ fulfillment of all of God’s Law. He kept it all so that we could be released to a real freedom - a freedom of living well.

This empowers us to live in new and God-pleasing ways. We become Spirit-powered children of God. We renounce the disgraceful and underhanded ways of living. 

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 4:18)

We see the glory of the Lord Jesus CHrist. What is that glory? That God destined to solve the great transcendent gap between His holy Law and our broken ability to keep that law. The Fix was Jesus, our Lord. The glory of God is that He both requires perfect obedience to this Law and then fills up its requirements in Christ Jesus.

Now, as we continue to place our attention on this glory, it changes us and transforms us from within. Our polluted inability to keep God’s law gets renewed. We move from impossibility to a deep heartfelt desire to become more and more like Jesus. We are being transformed from our polluted image into his perfect image. THis is the life of Sanctification. 

What was once dark and malodorous is not made bright and sweet. Is this instantaneous? No. But it is in progress and it gains its momentum from “beholding the glory of the Lord.” The glory of the Lord rests in the truth that He desires to fulfill all God’s Law - to be what we could not be. 

Now the Law takes on a new spin. It is still a righteous requirement but in Jesus it is fully completed. Now, as we gaze on Jesus’ face and notice his fullest passion to be our substitute in front of God, our hearts are changed, the veil is lifted and we see the bright light of God’s Law and God’s Gospel in the face of Christ.

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Pastor's Note - Heritage-The Word of God gives us the ability to forgive!

 Genesis 45:3-15

What does it take to forgive?


The neighborhood bully steals your lunch money. What is the hurt he inflicted when he pilfered your brown bag lunch? And what does it take to forgive? 

A table of your peers cracks a few jokes about your appearance and your shoddy clothes. Those words - they sting; what’s the pain that must be addressed before you forgive? What does it take to forgive? 

Your boss cuts you to shreds in front of the whole crew and knocks your performance. What does it take to forgive? Or let’s go deeper: someone acts in malfeasance or there is some malpractice that snips a dozen years from a loved one. What does it take to forgive? 

This week as we look at the powerful Word of God we see that it has power to help us do the supernatural. It can help us to forgive. God‘s Word is our great heritage and let’s discover the power of this heritage as it helps us to forgive.

Our outline for this week

What does it take to forgive?

  1. Honesty 

  2. sovereignty 

  3. equity

OK, so we are jumping in deep into Genesis 45. You’ve heard me say it before but you must, at least, get a glimpse of the context. The context is so necessary to understanding the meaning of what we read in the Bible. AIG link

In Genesis 45 Joseph is in Egypt and is second in command in all of Egypt, right underneath Pharaoh.  How did he get here? We have to go back a number of years to Genesis 37 and see the context.

Context: A coat, two dreams, 12 brothers and seven years


Joseph is loved by his father and his father Israel does not hold back in showing this love for Joseph. The problem is he does not show equal love to Joseph’s brothers. Joseph is the favorite of 12 sons. Israel shows it by purchasing him a coat of many colors.

Joseph is loved by his father and favored over his brothers and that’s not right for any of them. That’s painful for the brothers. But they have such a dysfunctional family. I’m not sure they know how to deal with this pain appropriately. I’m not sure they know how to forgive their father for this wrong, for this pain. 

Two dreams

  • Genesis 37:6-11

    •  6 He said to them, “Hear this dream that I have dreamed: 7 Behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and behold, my sheaf arose and stood upright. And behold, your sheaves gathered around it and bowed down to my sheaf.” 8 His brothers said to him, “Are you indeed to reign over us? Or are you indeed to rule over us?” So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words.

    • 9 Then he dreamed another dream and told it to his brothers and said, “Behold, I have dreamed another dream. Behold, the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” 10 But when he told it to his father and to his brothers, his father rebuked him and said to him, “What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall I and your mother and your brothers indeed come to bow ourselves to the ground before you?” 11 And his brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the saying in mind.

To make the situation even more difficult, Joseph shares two dreams with his family that they immediately recognize as arrogance on the part of Joseph. “Are you indeed [going] to reign over us?“ So their hatred grew toward Joseph even more.

Indeed his father rebuked him for the dream that God had given Joseph. But his father also pondered the dream - “he kept the saying in mind.”  

12 brothers

With the family of 12 brothers, Joseph and Benjamin were the two favorites. The other 10 we’re barely acknowledged. The other 10 let their hatred and jealousy build.

One day Joseph was out searching for his 10 brothers as they shepherded the family flocks. Once they discerned his figure in the distance, they made full use of this opportunity. Initially, their hatred brought them to the conclusion that they were going to kill him; but the chance to turn a profit by selling Joseph to an approaching caravan led to a selfish shift in the plan. They soldl him and he was carted off as a slave - bound and headed to Egypt.

They even concocted a story to explain his loss. They “slaughtered a goat and dipped the robe in the blood” (Genesis 37:31). The favored son’s coat soaked up the sacrificed blood and their father assumes the worst: “Joseph is dead“ said Israel.

In Egypt, God blessed Joseph to the point where he climbed the ranks and was put in charge of other servants in Potiphar’s household. But Potiphar‘s wife had a thing for Joseph and she tried to seduce him. He wanted nothing to do with this sin and her jealousy got Joseph tossed into prison.

Two more dreams

Now in prison he eventually met two of the king’s men who also had dreams. Joseph properly interpreted both of their dreams; they both came true. But Joseph’s youthfulness withered two more years in the prison.

Seven years

Then Pharaoh had two dreams that created great anxiety; the first plot involved seven fat cows and seven thin cows. The second contained seven fat heads of grain and seven thin, scorched heads of grain. He was exhaustively worried about the twin visions but didn’t have any interpretation.

When this dream came to light, the chief cupbearer remembered Joseph and shared Joseph’s skill with Pharaoh. . .  someone who could help. They brought Joseph out to meet Pharoah and he interpreted the dreams by God's design.

God used Joseph and Pharoah to show what God had already planned: seven very abundant years and seven years of famine.

Joseph created a plan. God had skilled him in administration and leadership. Joseph knew exactly what to do because of the dreams and interpretation of those dreams.

Pharaoh put Joseph at the head of all Egypt. He started working the plan. After nine more years his unsuspecting brothers come down to Egypt to buy grain. 

This is where we pick it up in Genesis 45. His brothers had come down to purchase grain so that the family could survive. Joseph had them exactly where he wanted them. He possessed a profound opportunity to compensate himself for all the pain he had experienced. But he didn’t . Why?

What does it take to forgive?

  1. Honesty

  2. Sovereignty

  3. Equity - justice according to natural law or right

Genesis 45:3

And Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still alive?” But his brothers could not answer him, for they were dismayed at his presence.

This is the perfect opportunity for Joseph to seek some repayment for all the pain but he chooses a different path.

Genesis 45:4-5 

So Joseph said to his brothers, “Come near to me, please.” And they came near. And he said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. 5 And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life

What does it take to forgive?

  • Honesty

  • Sovereignty

  • Equity

Joseph has come to a place of resolve on this issue of forgiveness. HOW? Honest boldface Truth. Joseph doesn’t sugar coat what he experienced. 

And you, the victim of some atrocious behavior, need to be honest about the hurt that you have endured. Forgiveness means assessing the hurt! AND it means seeing the sovereign nature of God.

Honesty:  you sold me here - He is honest about the pain; he tells the truth about the debt they owe him; he does not diminish the hurt.

This is the place where we each need to land. What is the honest truth about the pain, the debt, the hurt that we have suffered under someone else’s neglect. Whether that is intentional or unintentional, someone has hurt you. There is some kind of pain, trauma, loss of work, loss of enthusiasm . . . there is some kind of hurt.

One of the worst things to do is to try and gloss over what really happened to you. Honesty. Joseph is brutally honest with him. He says it like it is. “You sold me here.” This is what you did.

What does it take to forgive?

  • Honesty

  • Sovereignty

  • Equity

Sovereignty - “God sent me before you to preserve life.” (Genesis 45:5) God is sovereign: He is all-powerful, He is all knowing, He is Ever present everywhere, and He is all loving.  Cognizant of Our Almighty Loving God, Joseph is empowered to utter a truth that triumphs over the pain by showing God’s even bigger purpose. “God sent me before you to preserve life.”  (Genesis 45:5)

What life was God preserving? Was it only Joseph’s life? Our damaged lives and hurt feelings might want ONLY the victim to be rescued. But God thinks bigger. God’s sovereign love extends beyond the “Joseph hero” to all of humanity. God’s omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence and All-loving nature extends to every man, woman and child.

The Egyptians will benefit from this plan. Jacob’s life is extended even though he has parental responsibility for the hurt of his other sons. Benjamin’s life, the other brothers’ lives, the servants, and on and on - God has such a strong love of life even for those who take life. His love endures forever.

The brothers were willing to kill Joseph - Yet God was willing to save them. This is Extreme. Why would God do this? How could God do this? Because God knows the depth of hurt in the human heart. Sin has messed up our human hearts to the point where we do inflict pain on each other. We are hurt and the natural impulse of our troubled hearts is to lash out at others. We create trails of pain and lives filled with debris and destruction.

Our Father in Heaven knows that His extreme willingness to help each polluted heart is the answer.

Genesis 45:6 

For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are yet five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. 

7 And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. 8 So it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt. 

Joseph, the favored son of Israel, was sent into Egypt by God’s love and God’s design in order to preserve life. We know a greater son, a perfect son, who was sent to a parched and dry world in order to preserve life. But not just temporal life  - eternal life. Jesus God's own Son was sent into the world to save, to forgive, to remove the pain and to remove the need to retaliate for any hurts we have endured.

What does it take to forgive?

  • Honesty

  • Sovereignty

  • Equity

God forgives. . . here comes the “Equity”

God is honest about the pain. He goes through the pain of betrayal. He goes through the pain of denial and the loss of life and the unjust treatment, the abuse.

Equity = “justice according to natural law” ( In his full knowledge and with all power and with greater love than we can imagine, he knows this alone: his own gracious exhaustion under the honest hand of justice, will remove the grip of guilt and pain from humanity‘s throat.

And in equity he didn’t choose a form of justice that was quick and painless. He didn’t choose lethal injection or a bullet to the head. That was too quick. The pain would be too limited. Because God had to pick an implement of justice that, in equity, equals the pain inflicted on his holy, righteous divinity, he picked the cross.  And then he placed himself in the criminal's seat to receive that judgment.

In a few minutes we will see the words, “forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors“ (The Lord’s Prayer). That’s speaking about equity. That’s speaking about justice that’s already been carried out. Do we see the debt we owe God? If we are not aware of the pain we daily inflict on His divine perfection, then we downplay and sugarcoat our own sin. 

But let’s be honest, we are more inclined to focus on the pain by which our character has been impaled. We are more blind to God's pain but often demand that another would suffer for the wrongs experienced by our humanity - wrongs to our human self! 

And that’s where God brings in the cross and his son, whom He loves: Jesus. The only way God can forgive me my debt is because the debt that I owe him gets paid at the cross.

He will not diminish or downplay the pain that has been suffered by him; the cross is a vivid reminder that each of my sins inflicts horrible pain. And in his honesty, in his sovereignty and in his equity all has been paid by Christ Jesus the perfect son.

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Heritage - Worship Links-February 6th and 13th


Worship Link-February 6, 2022

Worship link-February 13, 2022

Good NewsLetter - February 2022


       Good Newsletter   

February 2022


I forgot Valentine’s Day! I had no excuse. There were plenty of reminders. My wife asked, “Should we go out to eat or to a movie for Valentine’s Day next week?” and “Wouldn’t that make a good gift for Valentine’s Day?” Still, I forgot Valentine’s Day.


That was five years ago. Thankfully, my loving wife has forgiven me for my mistake.


My mistake was relatively minor. But sometimes, we are wronged by others in ways that are very difficult to forgive and impossible to forget. Have you been forsaken by a close friend? Is your connection to parents or children strained? Does your marriage have forbidden subjects, subjects that only reopen old wounds? Forgiveness was offered, but the hurt feelings don’t just disappear. To forgive and forget is what you want, but sometimes the hurt is so deep that after forgiving, you still remember.


A friend once told me that every time I hurt or offend anyone, I also offend God. With the strain, my mistakes have placed on other relationships, what hope exists for a good relationship with God? If forgiveness from friends is uncertain, how can I hope for God’s forgiveness?


I can have this hope because, thankfully, God thinks differently from the way you and I think. “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord” (Isaiah 55:8). The forgiveness won by Jesus’ death on the cross is different. “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12). “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more” (Jeremiah 31:34). Through Jesus, God forgives, and God forgets!


That is the good news we are reminded of every week when we worship. It is the very best news. We hope you will join us in celebrating God’s forgiveness!



Upcoming Events at St John

Worship Service:  Sunday at 8:30 AM

Adult Bible Study:  Sunday at 9:45 AM

Visit our website at

Call us at 651-771-6406


St. John has extended a Divine Call

At our special call meeting this past Sunday, it was voted on to extend a Divine call to 
Pastor Timothy Otto. He is currently serving Mt. Olive Lutheran Church, in Las Vegas, NV.
Please keep Pastor Otto and his family in your prayers as he considers the call to St. John and
his current call at Mt. Olive. 

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Pastor's Note

 Psalm 1

Everyone knows, I think, that there is a right way to live and a wrong way. Just like there is a right way to drive a car and some more careless ways of driving that we tend to avoid in order to keep our insurance rates low. Driver’s courses and behind-the-wheel practice prepare us for a test that determines if we are prepared for the right way to drive. 

When it comes to life, we should probably stay away from the wrong way and veer toward the righteous path. But is there some type of course that we take to prep us for what is ahead? How do we live the right way and take steps to steer clear of the wrong? How can we avoid the peril of the wicked?

In this series called Heritage, we are addressing portions of God’s Word that help us to see the important nature of God’s Word. Today’s lesson, Psalm 1 takes us further down the road of this series and helps us to see that the Word of God is our connection to a blessed life. It is our source of life.

Psalms give us this intersection of the ideal world behind the real world; the intersection of the physical and the spiritual so that we can have a blessed life.

Consider the two ways

  1. The way of the blessed

  2. The way of the wicked

  3. The parting of the two ways

    Part One: the way of the blessed

    Psalm 1:1

    Blessed is the man

        who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,

    nor stands in the way of sinners,

        nor sits in the seat of scoffers;

    This verse displays a progression of lifestyles from walking to standing to sitting. This is a progression of lifestyles from walking in a certain path to eventually sitting or dwelling in a place. “Walk” to “stand” to “sit” - this is one progression.

    From “counsel” to “way” to “seat” is the second progression. This moves the person from receiving counsel to more of a lifestyle choice (the way) and then to a more permanent stance (the seat). The first step, where you will walk, is still being formed by the counsel you receive. But by the second step, the way is now determined and your course is set; the counsel a person receives in step one solidifies the direction in step two. Then step three shows the arrival at an end: the seat.

    In order to be among those who are “blessed,” notice the direction that is NOT being taken: this person will walk to an end point but will do it without “the counsel of the wicked.” How do we avoid the wicked’s counsel? And who are they?

    Pay close attention to the counsel with which we are exposed on a daily basis. What forms and styles of information are coming across your life? They are your “counsel.”  What music do you listen to? What are the words teaching you? What books do you read, what TV series gets your weekly attention, who feeds your thoughts as you absorb video games or podcasts? Counsel is forever surrounding us. Some call it information overload but there are no shortages of counsel.

    What would qualify as “wicked” counsel to avoid? Because if we are seeking the blessed life, a certain percentage of those voices and scenes will not fit the blessed outcome.

    You can assess the counsel that you are receiving by simply asking the question, is it matching up to what God says is good and right or does it cross the line? Would your Sunday School teacher be comfortable watching or listening to the counsel you receive? Can you think of messages and music that might be best avoided because they offend one or two or more of God’s holy laws? What modern day artists might you avoid listening to because the content of their music stunts blessed living?

    Remember the negative progress that bad [wicked] counsel creates. 

    Then there’s also a progression with those who give advice: the wicked, the sinners, the Scoffers. The wicked have criminal intent to make trouble. They are loose in their morals and not solid. Sinners miss the better way, the better road. They go wrong, they go astray, they’re missing the mark of goodness and good living. The term, “scoffer” can be used for an ambassador. Everyone represents someone. Who do they represent? Look at their words and you’ll see who they represent. Do they support properly what God represents in His Word or do they detract from it?

    Psalm 1:2

    but his delight is in the law of the Lord,

        and on his law he meditates day and night.

    This person who is hoping to be blessed avoids the progression of the negatives in verse one. In verse two, this person shows us what it is that delights him: the law of the Lord.

    To delight in the law of the Lord means you give attention to it and you find pleasure in it. It’s a word that indicates an actual value that is there and that value is mined and discovered as you ruminate and meditate on the word of God

    We see that in the word meditate. And “on his law he meditates day and night.” The word meditate means to moan or to growl. This word can be used for animals. One example of its use is with a lion growling over its prey. It has its prey in its mouth and is growling over it because it’s tearing it apart for the nutrition that’s inside. It pulls and tears at the meat because it wants to digest this. 

    God uses that same word to visually explain the process of meditating on His Word. We are to “growl” over it; picking it apart and searching for its nutritive value. Chew it apart. Find the nutrition that’s in there. Discover the insight in the counsel that God gives. His Law has value but it requires time for us to ponder it and draw long thoughts about its consul and direction in all areas of life.

    Psalm 1:3

    He is like a tree

        planted by streams of water

    that yields its fruit in its season,

        and its leaf does not wither.

    In all that he does, he prospers.

    Verse three shows us that this person is in constant connection with the source of Living water - the Word of God. It does not matter what the climate is around the tree because the roots of the tree are buried deep in the moist soil that surrounds the streams of water. 

    God, through His Word, connects himself to the meditative person so that in difficult times they can prosper. They can prosper because the roots go down deep into the spiritual, into the blessings that God gives through his Word. Tough times will come but if a believer is soaking up the nutritive water of the Word, and hearing daily that their identity is based on Jesus, that their destination is heaven, that their protector is the Almighty God Himself, then this blessed person can withstand all the heat and clamor of our parched world. 

    With our roots burrowing into the moist soil of the Word, we learn and becomes convinced that heaven is our future home, that Jesus fully paid for all our sin, that God’s presence will never be extinguished, that we have a purpose to be here and faith quenches every doubt.  

Consider the two ways

  1. The way of the blessed

  2. The way of the wicked

  3. The parting of the two ways

Part Two: the way of the wicked

Psalm 1:4

The wicked are not so,  

but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

The wicked do not have that same promise. In fact, it is antithetical to the Blessed person in verses 1-3. The description of the wicked’s plight is “chaff.”

Chaff is the result of separating grain from the rest of the plant. Chaff is not even the stalk or the straw. It is the husk of the grain that gets easily blown away by the wind. There is no stability to it; no substance. There is no value inside of it - it is dry, easily burned up in the fire and blows away with the wind.

Even though the wicked give counsel, they are short-lived. There is no eternal value to being on the trail of the wicked. The way of the wicked will dry up and be easily blown away. It has no lasting value but is quickly driven away.

Why is this true? The one element that would make a difference in the life of the wicked is meditating on the Word of God. But the Word of God takes work. Meditating is not an easy practice. The way of the wicked is slick and easy to fall into. It’s tantalizing nature comes, not from the long-term end results but the short term frenzied excitement of the way of the wicked.

This opening Psalm to the whole book of Psalms sets the course and end of the wicked; elsewhere in the Psalms, the writer laments that the wicked seem to prosper (Psalm 73). So it is good to note, at the start, that the wicked will not have a good end.

Consider the two ways

  1. The way of the blessed

  2. The way of the wicked

  3. The parting of the two ways

Part three: the parting of ways

Psalm 1:5 

Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,

    nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;

The wicked cannot stand in the judgment. There are only two options in this world. You are either blessed and gaining nourishment from the soil of His Word, or you are dried up and blowing away - wicked.

The wicked won’t stand in judgment. To “stand” in the judgment means to survive judgment. The wicked will not survive judgment because “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” 

And here is our challenge. If all have sinned, righteous and wicked alike, then how will the righteous be able to stand in judgment and survive?

There was a man who was already subjected to our judgment: Jesus. Jesus is the epitome of the blessed man. His counsel and direction were a constant stream from God’s lips to Jesus’ heart. He meditated and memorized the Holy Scriptures. He let them nourish Him and direct Him for His work.

And this blessed man took on the judgment of God because He God placed all the wickedness of humanity on Him. Jesus did not stand in the Judgment of God; He suffered under its weight and died. 

The reason the righteous won’t even be in the place of judgment is because the ultimate blessed man, Jesus Christ, already took on every bit of that judgment. So now the only ones left to stand in judgment are those who do not want to be connected to the eternal blessings won by Jesus, the perfect God.

Psalm 1:6

for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,

    but the way of the wicked will perish.

THe Lord has a thorough knowledge of the righteous. Not a moment is missed or skipped. His loving eyes and powerful hands are monitoring and protecting the way of the righteous. He is watching and guiding their steps. He is giving counsel through His Word and by His Holy Spirit so that their path is a blessed one.

The end result is that they will not wither but will stay sound and secure and well-watered in times of trouble.

The end result is blessed. The righteous are blessed but the wicked vanish. Only two possible ends to every human life. God promises that there is a blessedness that will help the righteous survive the troubled times of this earth.