I love Psalm 1 because it teaches me about the Bible. The way this Psalm is written reminds me of the book of Proverbs where Solomon treats the same themes of wisdom and foolishness. While the Psalm is ultimately about Jesus, its teachings benefit every believer. The ultimate difference between a wise man and a foolish one hinges on how they view God’s Word. The righteous delights in, and meditates on the Bible. The wicked scoffs and ignores it.
By the simple use of the image of a tree, the author builds up his message about the most important difference between the wise and the fool. The difference is not the tree though it grabs our attention with the leaves that “do not wither” and its “fruit in season.” The wise man behind the tree prospers in all that he does, unlike the wicked who are “driven away” like chaff.
The Water Under the Tree
What makes the difference is the water. Not part of tree, the water runs by the tree and feeds the tree’s roots underground. We see its color, hear its noises, and see its effect on the healthy, growing tree: green leaves and fruits in season. It’s this “water” that lies at the center of the psalm (verse 3) and, not incidentally, at the center of every wise man and woman’s Christian living. It runs deep beneath our skin and bones, neurons and muscles–penetrating straight into our souls and inner womanhood. The delightful leaves of every believer (2) and the fruitful meditations (2) spring up from the Bible—the “spring of life” whose eternal water satisfies fully.
Drink from the Streams of Water
Perhaps you’re thinking about picking up the reading of God’s Word after a long season of its absence from your life. Begin slowly. The process of watering your heart mustn’t be hurried, just steadied. It’s not the quantity of the words you take in, but their effect on your heart. The streams will stream, and your roots will be watered: delight in the process.
Remind yourself that water fills empty vessels. Bring your soul and mind to the streams of living water and Jesus will increase your love for the Bible—even when your love is small and wavering. It is the power of God that causes delight in Him, just like the water causes the tree to grow, leaf, and bud.
Even trees planted by streams of water endure scorching suns and frost-bearing cold snaps. As you return to God’s Word, your Spirit will be revived and your fruits will ripen, but life may still be hard. But the promise of Psalm 1 remains true: your leaves will outlast the scorching heat of your trials, and the fruits will outgrow the thorns of this life. Not because of how much or well you study your Bible, but because of who this “water” has always been pointing to—Christ, the source of eternal springs.
Fools wither like skins of chaff because they lack the living beat of eternal water within. Only the wise prosper because the God of eternity waters their every season—standing fast through winds and storms—by the power of the true and living Word of Life. The greatest blessing is to be watered from eternal sources. The height or width of the tree matters not in the grand schemes of eternity. What you look like and how much you do in this life matters less. But who your source remains throughout your seasons of life makes the biggest difference.
I love the water and tree analogy of Psalms 1 as you discussed. Your writing draws us to the word… With a panting like a deer who needs water. I am looking forward to reading psalms 1 again, this time with a vivid description of its meaning.
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