Psalm 1:3 He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper. (NKJV)
(Previous devotionals can be found at www.seriousfaith.com)
When we read Scripture, we must remember to put verses into context. Part of the context to consider are time and location. King David penned Psalms 1 in Israel a few thousand years ago. Israel was a dry, rocky land, mostly desert with stony hills. So when he talks about trees, water and fruit – it portrays a very specific meaning and imagery.
“He” shall be like a tree…. who is “he”? Back up to verse 1:
Psalm 1:1-2 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; But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night. (NKJV)
“He” is a man (or woman) who has done some very specific things. First, they have not “walked” in the “counsel of the ungodly”. The word “walked” here speaks of going along with, proceeding with, moving with or traveling away with something. “Counsel” gives the idea of where you get your advice, ideas or purpose in life. So David is saying, “Blessed is the person who does not go to the ungodly person to get advice or to develop their purpose in life.”
In other words, the “blessed man” (Christians) should not turn to the world, its experts, its gurus, its “success” professionals to find out how to live life or what the purpose of your life is. We are not to travel the same path of those who do not know God (the “ungodly”) and seek to find out their opinions on life, what matters in life, or what we should long for in this life.
This “he” who is blessed also does not stand in the path of sinners or sit in the seat of the scornful. The idea here is that we are not to exist, persist or affix ourselves (stand) in the same manner, way or direction (path) as the person(s) who do not recognize God as the Master. Nor are we to inhabit, dwell, remain or abide (sit) in the company, location or proximity of those who are arrogant, mocking and derisive about the things of God (scornful).
This takes many practical forms… businessmen, we are not to turn to worldly successful men to find out how to conduct business; mothers, we are not to turn to the so-called “experts” who deny God’s Word when we want to learn how to raise our children; young people, we are not to turn to the pop stars and the famous to be our role models in life. Men, we are not to develop our standards of purity and honor from anyone or anything that does not put God first. Ladies, you are not to learn how to be wives and mothers from “professionals” who do not base their teaching on what God has revealed to us. Youth, you should not place your trust in teachers, ideas or persons who do not honor God above all else.
It is the “he” (the person) who looks to nothing but God for his purpose, counsel and direction who is like the “tree planted by the rivers of water”. A tree planted in dry ground will have very little roots; will be very unstable and weak; and will have little ability to “absorb” the nutrients and water needed to grow. Conversely, the tree planted by a good water source, will grow a massive root system resulting in incredible stability and the ability to drink in all the nutrients and moisture that are available.
The river of living water does not come in the form of the
latest Christian trend, fad, movement, book or gimmick
that catches your attention.
Given that, it’s important to know as Christians where and what this “river of water” is. First, it’s crucial to know what it’s NOT: it’s not the latest Christian fad. It’s not the latest popular “ten keys to success”, or “30 days to super Christianity”. It’s not the latest Word of Faith “revelation knowledge” or the latest Baptist revival. It’s not the latest best-selling “how-to” Christian book or the latest “movement” in the Charismatic circles. It’s not the latest catchy Sunday school lesson series in fundamental churches, or the latest popular preacher in Bible churches. It’s not the latest entertaining praise and worship programs.
There is a reason I said “latest” over and over. Modern Christianity has developed a “what have you done for me lately” mentality, always in search of the newest fad or teaching or “revelation” that will get our attention and motivate us for a short time. We have become far too needy and dependent on injections of “excitement” and “variety” to keep our attention on God. This is NOT the “river of water of life” that creates strong, fruitful Christian trees.
The real water of life of course… is Jesus. Sorry, I couldn’t come up with something more flashy or new. It is Jesus Christ and you can only drink of this water by one method: a personal relationship with Him. Following true salvation (obtaining the relationship), this is accomplished only by: prayer (communication in the relationship); reading and meditating on God’s Word (get to know the other person in the relationship); obedience (honoring the relationship); and time with Jesus (cultivating the relationship).
There is only one way to drink the water of life that will
result in healthy growth and long term stability.
I don’t have any “ten keys” or “revelations” or exciting new trends. But I do have the words of God that tell you specifically how to be “blessed” and “prosperous” (God’s version of prosperity, not ours):
- Do not seek after or turn to the ungodly for advice, counsel or purpose
- Don’t embrace or use the ideas or methods of those who don’t recognize God
- Don’t dwell in the same places or engage in the same things that the world takes part in
- Build your relationship with Jesus Christ by good old-fashioned prayer, devotion, and time
- Learn the ways of God by reading and meditating on His Word
- Cultivate your relationship with Jesus by honoring Him with your obedience and faithfulness
Only then will you become a strong, well-rooted, fruitful tree whose leaves do not wither and prospers in everything he does. In other words, you will be BLESSED.
Lord, Help us to drink from the river of Life, Your Son, Jesus Christ. May we look to Him only as our source of life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Contemplation: Have you found yourself caught up in the latest movements in Christianity while struggling with the “basics” (reading, praying, obeying)? Do the simple disciplines (reading, praying, obeying) leaving you bored and unmotivated? Do you have a lack of stability or growth in your Christian life? Do you think there could be a connection between the two? Where do you get your advice about life? Who do you turn to for ideas about the purpose and meaning of life?
Application: There are no tricks, gimmicks, fads or movements that give us the river of water of life. God has declared plainly how to have and drink this water. Turn to Jesus, cultivate a relationship with Him through knowing His Word, prayer, obedience and time. Stop searching for the ever elusive person, program, book or idea that will finally make you the Christian you want to be. Developing your relationship with Christ is the only way to be fruitful and prosperous in God’s Kingdom.
James 1:22 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (NKJV)
- What is the most obvious Bible truth you have learned today?
- What change in your life needs to be made concerning this truth?
- What specific thing will you do today to begin that change?