“3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. 4 The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.” Psalm 1:3-4
Last week, we began memorizing Psalm 1. The first section of Psalm 1 answers the question: What differentiates the righteous from the wicked? These verses taught us that the righteous allow their lives to be shaped by the truth of God’s Word, while the wicked refuse to fill their hearts and minds with the law of the Lord.
This week, the second section of the Psalm in verses 3 and 4 answers the question: What will the fruit of their lives be? In other words, what will characterize the life of the righteous person who seeks to meditate on the law of the Lord compared to the wicked?
Verse 3 tells us that the righteous person, who allows the word of God to shape their lives through daily meditation on the Word of God, will be like a tree planted by streams of water. Think about that imagery for a moment. A tree planted by a stream of water has a constant source of life giving sustenance coming from the stream. It doesn’t have to wait for the rain. At every moment water is available for the tree. In the same way, when we meditate on the Law of the Lord, it imprints itself onto our heart and mind. When we memorize the Word of God, we can drink from its inexhaustible well at any moment, like a tree planted on the bank of an ever flowing stream.
What happens to this well-watered tree? It bears fruit in its season, its leaf doesn’t wither, and the tree prospers. Because the tree has the nutrients and sustenance that it needs, it bears fruit and grows and remains healthy. In the same way, the Psalmist is telling us that we also will bear fruit for the glory of God when we make the Word of God central in our lives. We will find victory over sin, growing compassion for others, sacrificial love for our neighbor, hearts directed at the glory of Christ, and our minds set on things above. We will prosper. Not financially, but spiritually.
This Psalm reminds us that the life giving stream of the Word of God bears fruit when we meditate on it. Meditating on Scripture is more than just reading it. It’s reading it, praying over it, memorizing it, seeking to understand it, asking questions about it, looking for answers, applying it to our lives, and seeking to obey it. So, when we sit down to read our Bibles and we don’t feel like we “get anything out of it”, it may be because we didn’t put anything into it. Psalm 1 tells us these promises are for those who do the work of meditation.
On the other hand, the wicked are like chaff that the wind drives away. There is no root to hold them in place. There is no water to give them life. They shrivel up, die, decay, and are swept away by the evening breeze. They don’t even grow leaves, much less bear fruit. There is no life in them.
The Psalmist beautifully sets before us the options we have. We can grow, bear fruit, and spiritually prosper for the glory of Christ. Or, we can shrivel up, become unrooted, and be swept away by the forces of this world. By the grace of Jesus Christ, purchased for us in his life, death, and resurrection, let us wholly depend on the Spirit he has sent to dwell within us and direct our lives to be those that are built on the truth of God’s Word.