The Flourishing Tree
“But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.” (Psalm 1:2-3)
We have been considering the opening verse of the book of Psalms and its negative benediction. The psalmist is now quick to add to it the other half of the blessing, for simply avoiding evil is not enough; we must also be spiritually fed.
The psalmist uses an analogy to illustrate his point. The man who derives pleasure from God’s word is likened to a tree. This illustration conjures up three important truths.
First, the word delight (Heb. chêphets) means more than simply taking pleasure in something. It also involves the idea of a person’s will: he chooses, or wills, to spend time in the Word. This spiritual maxim is reinforced in the fact that the tree has been purposely planted, as contrasted with one that grows in the wild. This man didn’t just happen to become prosperous; he did so by the definite choices he made. He chose to plant himself where he knew his soul would prosper.
The second truth portrayed in this analogy is that this person will flourish regardless of outward circumstances. No raging storm will blow over this tree; no scorching heat of the Middle East will wither it. Every human faces difficult times, storms of life and adverse circumstances. If a person’s roots have penetrated the depths of God, he will find that when those difficult times come, he will not shrivel up in the midst of it. In fact, while others around him are falling apart, his inner strength will stand out all the more clearly.
Lastly, spending quality time in Scripture assures the godly person that he will bear spiritual fruit in life. The Word of God has the efficacy to establish a godly perimeter in the mind of such a person: legislating his actions, correcting his errors, establishing Truth, and ultimately, directing the way he lives his life. The godly life that emerges from such study will always bear fruit for God. He has been impacted by studying the revelation of God’s will and, in turn, will be sure to affect those around him.
If I were to rewrite this passage of Scripture, perhaps I would state it like this: “One of the great pleasures of the godly is to spend time soaking in the Word of God: something he does habitually and consistently. He can be compared to a tree whose roots have stretched forth deeply into a fresh stream; a tree which is full of life and bears luscious fruit for others even in the midst of a hot climate. Yes, this man has a rich and prosperous life in God.”
And how about you? Are you spending quality time in Scripture? Are you allowing the Holy Spirit to use His Word to search out your heart? Is the Word of God establishing a framework of thinking within you? Then surely you are a blessed person!