READ PSALM ONE
Today, let’s break down the Psalmist’s illustration in verse three line-by-line. As we do, we are going to notice several distinct references to other passages in the Word of God. Psalm One, in a unique way, is full of references to God’s Word and Law throughout the Old Testament. More than most chapters we will study in the book, Psalm One references other passages of Scripture 17 times in just six verses.
Why might this be? What might the significance of these cross references be?
We must remember that the impetus of Psalm One is to paint a picture for you and me of what the life of the true believer will look like. And the primary thing we have learned about this “Ideal Israelite” is that he delights in the Word of God, meditating on it all the time. As such, the author of this Psalm has woven references to God’s Law throughout the verses. It is a poetic prayer that embodies what it seeks to teach as it is saturated in God’s Word.
Read each cross-reference associated with the following phrases. Make note of the specific context of each cross-reference by looking at chapter headings and making note of who is speaking. Try to articulate in your notes what insight the cross references bring to each phrase:
“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”:
Genesis 39:3, 23
Do you see the full picture of the person of faith bursting forth? Do you see how it is woven throughout Scripture? The Ideal Israelite is the person who is rooted like a tree – he is steadfast and secure. He is like the righteous, trusting man of Jeremiah’s prophecy who puts his trust in God alone. As a result, he is unmovable, unsinkable, unshakable. He is like Israel in her heyday, when she abounded in the Lord, following His commands and flourishing in her freedom. He is like Balaam’s prophecy of Israel’s life in the presence of God – a full camp and a full city, all under the watchful eye of her Lord.
The person of faith is not just like a tree, but like a tree planted by streams of water. The life of the Ideal Israelite is like the nation of Israel who lived in the presence of God, with a stream running right through the center of town. Abundance was her inheritance and daily experience as she lived her life before her Savior.
And the life of the person of faith is abundant with fruit. Like Ezekiel’s prophecy of the life of those who follow the Lord, there will be enough fruit for each and every day, never a delay, never a stagnant source. In the life of the one who follows the Law of God there will be enough sustenance and even a surplus that will usher the way into healing.
Lastly, the life of the Ideal Israelite will be like the life of Joseph – the unstoppable man of God who saved his entire nation. Though many stood against him, God was on his side. He was immovable; he was infallible. He succeeded by the mighty hand of God’s blessing. Like Isaiah’s prophecy in the day of judgment, the person of faith will live righteously before God, even when everyone around him fails to keep God’s Law. And this righteousness will bring about abundant blessing.
This image of the life of the person of faith should not bring to mind some cheesy clip art or the freshly planted saplings of my Colorado days. No, it should call to mind the life of abundance that we see woven throughout the Word of God – the men and women of faith who have followed God despite their circumstances or challenges. The life of the true believer is one of being firmly rooted in God, connected to the source of spiritual sustenance, and heavy-laden with spiritual fruit.
Which of these phrases do you relate to most? Which of them do you want most to grow in?
Pray & Reflect:
Supplication: Ask God to create a craving in your heart to grow in the likeness of the person of faith illustrated in Psalm 1:3. Name some specific areas of growth that you hope to see over the next several weeks as we journey through the Psalms.
Submission: Confess to God that you know only He can change you. Ask Him to give you a joyful submission to His Spirit as He convicts you of sin and pushes you toward righteousness.