Stability and Vitality in the Word | Psalm 1:3–4

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. 
The wicked are not so, 
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.

The stress and urgency of life pushes us in different directions.  Here, though, we see a stout life in the man eschewing worldly wisdom and meditating upon God’s Word.  What can we glean from the contrast of these two verses?

The text gives us a sense of immobility in verse three—the righteous is not becoming like a well-established tree but presently is one.  The righteous didn’t start off being by the streams, but the Lord planted him there.  These waters are God’s Word, and they give the righteous life.  Consider Jer 17:7–8, which similarly describes “the man who trusts in the Lord” as “a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”

By contrast, verse four shows the insecurity of the wicked.  They are not rooted in God’s Word, so the wind of desire and worldliness carries them as easily as chaff.  Even believers, like children, can be driven about by every wind of doctrine and must become mature in Christ (Eph 4:14–15).  As for the unbelievers, Jesus warned, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up” (Mt 15:13). 

Is your lack of vitality a sign of spiritual distress?  Jesus, citing the Law, says, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Mt 4:4).  He says in John 6:27, “Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you.”  There’s a prosperity of the soul that comes through Scripture, because the life of the Holy Spirit produces fruit (Gal 5:22–25).  The soul in Christ should find peace.

Do you know Christ?  If so, could your stress indicate your lack of satisfaction with the steams of His Word?  Prayerfully find His Word sufficient and filling, that your soul may thrive and find stability.

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