READ PSALM ONE
Last week we looked at the opening two verses of Psalm One. We saw first what the person of faith did not do: walk in the counsel of the wicked, stand in the way of sinners, or sit in the seat of scoffers.
Remind yourself what each of these phrases means. Did the Spirit convict you of any ways you are walking with ungodly counsel? Or about any ways that you are going in the ways of those who do not honor God? Or taking up residence with those whose lives and lips mock God?
Next, we say what the Ideal Israelite does: he meditates on the Law of God all the time.
Did the Spirit convict you about your own approach to God’s Word? What are you learning about the place of God’s Word in your own life?
After building for us this sketch of the life of the person who follows this book of hymns perfectly, the Psalmist next gives us an illustration. Like a good poet, the author wants us to do more than understand with our minds; he wants us to see it in living color. He wants us to understand the parameters of the believer’s life – what this person does and does not do – and to also be captivated by a living picture that illustrates the concept for us.
Read Psalm 1:3. What picture does the Psalmist paint for us?
The Ideal Israelite is like a solid tree with firmly planted roots. I grew up in Iowa, in a town where giant oak trees are far more common than little saplings. When, in our third year of marriage, my husband and I moved to a young little town in Colorado, I could never quite settle in. The town was so young and shiny and new that it just never felt like home. Don’t get me wrong, it was an incredible place to live – new coffee shops opening on every corner and a new store or restaurant popping up every month. It was the hippest, coolest, prettiest town I’ve ever lived in. And for three years, despite my attempts to settle in and put down some roots, something just didn’t feel right, and I couldn’t put my finger on it.
One year, while visiting my family in Iowa for Thanksgiving, I suddenly could. As I stood in my family’s backyard, my neck stretched back and my eyes squinting at the sun, I looked at the oak trees that loomed over my childhood. I took them in; I tried – and failed – to wrap my arms around the trunks of the trees. And in that moment I knew what our hip little Colorado town was missing: history.
When trees have history, they have roots. They have long branches and shade to spare. They have gnarly roots that pop up even feet from the base of the trunk. And this is the kind of tree that is in view here. The person of faith is like a tree who is firmly planted. Its roots go down into the earth and hook themselves there. It is always connected to its source, drawing nourishment and life from the streams of water. When the season for bearing fruit comes, the tree is not found to lack anything, but produces abundantly. This is the glorious picture of the person of faith – the person who follows the book of Psalms perfectly. Her life is one of abundance and fruit and rootedness.
Consider this illustration for a moment. Why do you think the Psalmist chose this illustration to speak of the life of faith?
Consider your own life for a moment. Do you feel as if this illustration can be used of you?
Tomorrow we are going to break this illustration down and consider it line by line, but for today spend some time prayerfully considering the mental picture as a whole. From our overview today, we know that this is a picture of flourishing. This person of faith, following the book of Psalms as we would follow a book of prayer, lives a life of abundance. Deep roots. Fruit-bearing branches. Not a hint of withering.
Pray & Reflect:
Supplication: With this illustration in mind, ask God to give you a spiritual life that is full of abundance – a life that bears spiritual fruit and is rooted in His Word alone.
Submission: Confess to God areas in which this cannot be said of you, and ask Him to change you. Praise Him for being the only One who can bring about a fruitful spiritual life in your life and in the lives of others.