We’ve all read through Psalm 1 before. Or at least heard it preached once or twice–you know, the truth of who a blessed man really is.
A man who is blessed is someone who doesn’t listen to ungodly counsel. He is someone who won’t stand in the way of a sinner or take a seat with the scornful. But instead, he follows the Word of God. He thinks about the instruction God has given both day and night! It’s in his heart . . . It’s always on his mind. Not only that, but he delights in it! He absolutely enjoys it! The Word says that he is like a tree planted by the rivers of water. He will bear fruit in his season and his leaves will not wither. EVERYTHING that he does will prosper.
I love the picture that is portrayed. A big, tall, and strong tree, right next to a beautiful river. As I read this Psalm, I begin to notice how I am so far from living up to what this passage instructs. I so desire to be that tree that is strong, solid, and so deeply rooted in the faith! But here is the truth of the matter:
Throughout my day, I am not always thinking about the Word of God. And when I am thinking about His Word, sometimes it’s not in the most “delightful” of ways. At times I have even chosen the way of the wicked, which is like chaff (the husk of corn or seeds) that the wind can easily carry away! One too many times I have been wishy-washy in my dedication to Christian disciplines. One too many times I have not been faithful to prayer or my relationship with the Word. I feed my faith one day, then succumb to my selfish desires the next. I am grounded in my faith one day, then succumb to my selfish desires the next.
We can easily compare ourselves to the scriptures and find that we fall short in so many ways. After we make this comparison, we have two choices. Either we can condemn ourselves after seeing how distant we are from our true calling . . . OR, we can choose to believe the truth. And the truth is, God has given us His word to teach us how to walk with Him, how to be deeply rooted like the tree, and how to bear His fruits BECAUSE of our shortcomings.
This passage not only shows us the standard we should strive to live by, it also points to the One who did these things on our behalf. Jesus exemplified what it meant to be like the tree planted by living waters. He came to this earth as flesh, just like you and me. He was tempted, but yet He overcame temptation. Everything that we face in our flesh, Jesus has already faced! He knew that His children, being creatures of flesh, would fail at times. He knew we wouldn’t always be like the tree, but more like the chaff. Because of that, He gave His life and paid the price so that we could have chance after chance.
We don’t have to read Psalm 1 in the Word of God and feel ashamed, unworthy, and defeated. Rather, we can read the Word and read Psalm 1 and feel thankful and grateful that because of Christ, because of His grace, we CAN walk with Him —even if we aren’t perfect. We can pick ourselves up and continue to walk down His path even if there are temptations we encounter and mistakes we make along the way. We can understand that it is saving faith that comes through believing and obeying instead of saving faith that comes through perfection.
One day, we’ll look up and see that our branches have begun to grow long and strong. We will see that the fruit which we bear portrays God while our faith’s roots have deepened.
It is because of our fallen nature and our shortcomings–even our tendencies to be like wind-tossed chaff–that God will inevitably receive honor. People around us will see Him flow through us. And they will know it is Him, because there is no way we could bear His fruits, live in His strength, and remain unshakeable in our faith on our own.