Thursday, February 4, 2010

Like A Tree Planted By the Water

Psalm 1:1-6

Some of my earliest memories from growing up in church are the songs that we sang each week from the old hymn books. One of those songs was titled, “I Shall Not Be Moved”, and it contained a line from the 1st Psalm:

I shall not be, I shall not be moved;
I shall not be, I shall not be moved;
Just like a tree that's planted by the waters,
Lord, I shall not be moved.

The line, “I shall not be moved” is actually from Psalm 62:6, but I have always had the imagery in my head of a tree planted by the waters because of that chorus. As I grew older I learned that a tree planted next to running water is not nearly as solid as one farther away, because the roots of the river tree do not run deep; they don’t need to, there is plenty of water on the surface. Actually, the tree planted by the water often has too much water, and many species cannot grow there at all.

It was many years before I realized that when the Psalmist wrote of this tree, he was not writing of its immovability, that was the songwriter’s vision. David was writing of a tree that has such a constant water source that it is always bringing forth fruit when it is time; its leaves are healthy and colorful and people can find rest beneath its prosperous branches.

Jesus stood in the temple in Jerusalem on the 8th day of the Feast of Tabernacles, and as the high priest poured the water from the pool of Siloam, out of the golden vessel and onto the altar, He shouted, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water” (John 7:37, 38). When we accept Christ, the Holy Spirit is our river, bringing forth streams in the desert of man’s existence (Isaiah 35:6). When we delight in the law of Christ and meditate on him, we are truly blessed (Psalm 1:1, 2).

The three characteristics of this tree by the water are that it produces fruit, it is an evergreen and whatever it does shall prosper. These three things are better characterized by three distinct trees: the fig, the olive tree and the vine. The fig produces fruit, the olive tree is an evergreen and the vine produces wine which represents prosperity. We can break it down further by seeing that the fig tree represents righteousness; the olive branch represents peace and the vine produces the wine that brings joy. Based upon this information, this tree brings righteousness, peace and joy. Now look at Paul’s description of the kingdom of God:

“For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Romans 14:17).

In the water of the Spirit, there is a boldness that enables the Christian to stand in the face of giants and enemies. When the sinner comes before the Judgment of God, they will fall prostrate in humiliation and guilt, but the Psalmist says that the Lord knows the way of the righteous (Psalm 1:5, 6), and John commented that we can have boldness in the Day of Judgment, because as Jesus is, so are we in this world (1 John 4:17). In other words, we have nothing to fear of God or His Son; we have been partaking in His goodness our entire Christian lives.

May God’s abundant grace follow you today as you grow in the knowledge of who you are in Christ.

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