Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.
– Psalm 1:1-3
I know that I have posted things about trees a couple of times on this blog, and I would like to tell you it won’t happen again… That would be a lie. Why you might ask? Well, because as I look at God’s Word and at my own life, I see all of these amazing word pictures about trees. They really are amazing things, and like the poet said,
“I think that I shall never see a poem (or story, example, or picture) as lovely as a tree.”
So, Where do I begin with this one? Let’s start with the passage. As I read these verses, I see the first two verses as a warning and an instruction. The third verse gives me the word picture that pulls me in and makes me think.
I like how the Bible is full of such great and practical information, and that God presents things in such a way that even the most dense minds among us can figure this stuff out. (Lucky for me!) God gives us truth that we should be able to grasp, and when we read it, it makes sense, but our practical application gets a bit messy. So, the obvious first verse truth is this:
We are happier if we don’t follow the advice of wicked people, live our lives in sin, or hang out with negative people.
Makes perfect sense. Not so easy to do. We are called to be a light in a dark world, and that to reach people we must go to them, but we forget that we need to be on guard at the same time. Negativity pulls us down. When we get around really negative people, we are with people that are putting their own thoughts, opinions,, and usually feelings ahead of everything else – including God. That’s wrong!
Think about the people that you are in contact with. How many of them do you leave their company feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and positive? Probably not many. How many do you leave them thinking, “Well, I got through it without making them mad at me.”? How many times do you leave thinking you just want to go home and take a nap because you are feeling a weariness in your very soul? Yeah. Not people we want to spend a lot of time with. Why? Not a lot of joy there, but it seems like those are the people we end up spending a lot of time with.
So where do we find it? Where do we find the joy that we are looking for to get through life? To be able to reach out to the negative with God’s joy? To find delight in the every day activities that we are involved in?
Our delight, joy, happiness, fulfillment is found in God’s Word as we think about it and apply it in our lives as we go through our day and even as we lay down at night!
This morning I went to work feeling quite sick. I had no fever or other symptoms that would keep me from working, but I felt like garbage and it was affecting my outlook on the day. I was sure that since I felt lousy, my day would be lousy, and all early indicators showed that I was right! I was struggling and was ready to pitch the day. I took a minute and talked to God about it.
As I prayed I realized it had been a couple of days since I had really read my Bible. I had been doing my daily devotional, but I had not been in the Word. I stopped what I was doing and opened my Bible to a place that I knew I would get encouragement – Psalm 1. As I read and journaled, I felt my spirit strengthen. I still felt like garbage physically, and that really hasn’t changed all day, but my outlook changed. I was able to talk to people, and even encourage a couple of people today. That was the truth of God’s Word in action!
(Wow, he still hasn’t talked about the trees. Do you think he forgot?)
Avoiding the sin and negativity of the world is one thing we have to do. Meditating on God’s Word – really digging into it and using it to examine our lives and make changes in our attitudes and behaviors – is the other part. The result?
We will be as strong, healthy, and fruitful as a tree on the banks of a river. We will have what we need to grow and thrive year after year and we will be have a prosperous life.
(Nope, He didn’t forget. Here we go…)
Interesting things about tree roots:
- They usually grow between 6 and 24 inches under the surface. There are some that grow deeper, but as a rule only about two feet.
- One part of the root is designed purely to seek out water, and these pieces tend to live only about a year and then they are replaced by new roots that do the same thing.
- They like to have moisture, but too much moisture will result in their rot, and that can lead to the death of the tree.
- Soil that is hard will keep the root from being able to thrive.
- Roots will generally extend 2-4 times farther out than the branches of the trees.
We could probably make a few different applications to our lives from those facts, but I am going to settle on another one:
The health of the root system determines whether or not the tree will survive the deep cold of winter, the scorching heat of summer, the violent winds that will blow.
The roots need to be deep enough to keep the tree from falling when the wind blows against it. In the same way, our faith needs to be deep enough to shrug off the doubts that Satan uses to buffet us when we are feeling low. We need to know that the truth of God’s Word will hold us when we feel that lack of security.
The roots need to be close enough to the water to give the tree life and to produce fruit! As I read the Bible and meditate on it I grow and change in order to be what God wants me to be. As I continue to grow and follow the example of Christ and reach out to others I produce fruit in their lives as well.
The roots are a storehouse for the tree for the hard times. There are times in my life when things look quite bleak. I feel like I have nothing left to give, but so many demands are being made of me. A tree cannot pick up and move when there is a drought, and I can’t just pack it in and walk away when things get too hot or cold. Those are the times when all I can do is pray those verses of promise that tell me that God is in control and that He will bring things about in His time for a fruitful harvest.
I think God speaks to us through His creation every day, and at least for me, He speaks very clearly through trees. So many lessons are there, and if you stick around with me, I am sure we will cover some more of them in weeks to come. (If you get tired of it, let me know. I will see what I can do about using lichen or fungus if that is what works for you.)
No matter what God uses to speak to me or you, His Word will always be the best source. That was the whole purpose for this post. I wanted to tell you about the truth that He showed me. I need my roots to grow deep in Him. I want to be fruitful for Him. I want people to see how He has helped me and how He can help them too.
My purpose as a believer is to bring God glory. If I am going to do that, I am going to have to be intentional about how I do things. Reading God’s Word, meditating on it, allowing it to work in me and reveal the things that need to change, and then making those changes is the process in which I can bring that glory back to Him. He makes it all possible.
If this has sparked an interest in you to really get into God’s Word, I would love to hear from you. I hope at the very least that it has offered an encouragement that God is there and that He wants to show you His love and care for you.
In His Grip,