Introduction to the Study
My study of the Psalms is now included in a wonderful group called “Blogging through the Bible,” and I do hope you will hop on over there to The Speckled Goat to study other books of the Bible with my fellow bloggers.
Today is the launch day for this fabulous new group. So this morning I went to my archived posts to begin at the beginning, and that was when I discovered that I started my journey through the Psalms with Psalm 3! How could that have been? What happened to Psalms 1 and 2? Well, earnestly desiring to begin this new journey at the beginning, with Psalm 1, I dove through my private journals until I came across my notes from the first psalm.
This journey through the book of Psalms will not necessarily take us verse by verse through all 150 psalms. While I am reading and studying all of them on my own, I am only sharing that which the Holy Spirit leads me to share with you. Sometimes it will be a verse-by-verse examination, sometimes an overview, and sometimes I’ll highlight a single verse or small passage from a psalm. I may spend more than one week on a single psalm, or I may skip some psalms entirely, not because they are unimportant, but because the message given to me was too personal to share.
Now on to Psalm 1….
There is lot of good stuff in here, but today I’d like to focus on verse 3.
And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water,
that bringeth forth his fruit in his season;
his leaf also shall not wither;
and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
…planted by the rivers of water… Rivers are flowing waters, renewed constantly, moment by moment, and ever fresh. That is exactly what God’s Word is to the thirsty soul. Here in Psalm 1 the believer, as pictured by the tree, is planted by the rivers of water, where he has a never-ending supply of spiritual nourishment.
John 4:14 Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
Ephesians 5:25b-26 …Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it, that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.
Revelation 22:1,17 And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let him that heareth say, “Come.” And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
…that bringeth forth his fruit in his season… Trees do not perpetually bear fruit; they have a season for fruit-bearing. This is encouraging to me because sometimes I do not bring forth fruit either. This verse tells me that it is normal to have a “dry spell.” The cycle of life requires that I must sometimes lie dormant so as to replenish my energy. I must drop my old leaves so that new ones can grow. I will flower for a while; and when the flowers fade, fruit will appear in their place. This fruit will be picked and consumed to give nourishment and delight to those who partake of it, and then the unused fruit will fall off so that the cycle may begin again.
Notice that the fruit is not for the glory or benefit of the tree itself—it is for the glory of the Maker and Keeper of the tree, and for the benefit of those who come under its shadow.
“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven” (Ecc. 3:1). I need not think something is wrong if I am not producing fruit. It is God’s perfect plan that I spend proportionate periods of time in productivity, rest, and renewal.
…his leaf also shall not wither…. All trees, even evergreens, shed their leaves. Evergreens simply do not have a time when they are completely bare, for the new leaves come in even as the old ones are falling off.
God wants me to be more like the spruce tree than the peach tree. While He knows I have old habits that must be shed, He does not intend for me to be entirely barren of leaves. Instead, He is continually renewing my spirit day by day, producing Christlikeness in me even as He is pruning away the remnants of the old self. You see, God does not simply clean us up; He makes us brand new beings. Consider these verses:
Ezekiel 36:26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
The moment you ask Christ to forgive you of your sins, He does exactly that, and He forgives all your sins—past, present, and future. You are now a child of God, saved eternally, and nothing can ever separate you from His love (Rom. 8:35-39). This does not give you a license to live as you please, nor does it mean you are automatically perfect. But when you begin to grasp the love of God, and what it is that He has done for you, then you will desire to please Him, and He will work in you that which He wishes to see in you. So don’t worry about being inadequate for the task. You are! You will fail from time to time, just like a child learning to walk will often stumble. The parent does not scold or deem him a failure. No, he picks him, dusts him off, and helps him take the next step. That’s what our heavenly Father does for us as well.
Proverbs 24:16 For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.
Psalm 37:23-24 The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.
The tree planted by rivers of water, bringing forth fruit in its season… that is the perfect picture of transformation—slow and steady growth to maturity, which is what God desires for each and every one of us.
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it.
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Photo taken at Blackwater River, Milton, FL, 2018.