Summary: Examines the qualities of trees that cab be compared to the righteous who are blessed according to Psalm 1.
Like a Tree
1Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.
2But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.
3He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.
4Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away.
5Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
6For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.
THERE ARE FIVE GREAT “BEATITUDES” or blessings mentioned in Psalm 1:1-5. Did you notice them? The first three are the result of refusing certain things by adopting a particular posture:
1. Refusal to walk in the counsel of the godly (bad advice)
2. Refusal to stand in the way of sinners (bad associations)
3. Refusal to sit in the seat of the scornful (mockery)
Blessings four and five are more positive in nature:
4. Delight is in the law of the Lord
5. They will be like a tree!
It’s the last “blessing” that we need to consider carefully, for trees have so much to teach us. In the Bible, man is usually likened to the changing grass–to fading flowers–to objects which pass quickly—here today, gone tomorrow. What a contrast between a flower and a tree. There are at least seven reasons why the Psalmist and Jeremiah (17:5-8) selected a tree to represent the kind of life that is spent for God and in so doing become such a blessing to others.
First of all, a tree is a FIXED thing. It’s roots go down deep for stability. So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness (Colossians 2:6,7). Again, Paul referred to this quality in his letter to the Ephesians: Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming (Ephesians 4:14). The believer who truly pleases the heart of God is fixed in his beliefs–in his reverence for the Word of God. He is determined to keep his commitments. He knows what he believes and where he is heading. His theme song is, “I Shall Not Be Moved.”
In the second place, a tree is a GROWING thing. The Psalmist says it is planted by the river, the place of nourishment. In the Bible, the river is a wonderful metaphor for the Spirit of the Lord. The term “rivers of water” is used often for God’s presence and power. For example, consider Psalm 46:4,5: There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.
The tallest tree on record is a Douglas fir, felled in British Columbia in 1940. It was 417 feet tall! That makes it just a few feet short of the Washington Monument. The seed from it weighed only about 1/6000th of an ounce.
When anyone opens his heart to the salvation of the Lord, God plants His seed within that person. And it begins to grow. The speed and height are largely determined by the desire and discipline of the one in whom the seed has been planted. You can grow, if you think you can! That’s where it starts–within.
Behind the scenes of an Arizona circus, Bob Biehl started chatting with a man who trains animals for Hollywood movies. “How is it that you can stake down a ten-ton elephant with the same size stake that you use for this little fellow,” he asked, s he pointed to a baby elephant who weighed about 300 pounds. “Is easy,” said the trainer. “When they are babies we stake them down. They try to tug away from the stake maybe 10,000 times before they realize they can’t possibly escape. At that point their ‘elephant memory’ takes over and they remember for the rest of their lives that they can’t get away from the stake.”
Humans are sometimes like elephants. When we are teenagers, some unthinking, insensitive, unwise person says, “He’s not very good at planning,” or “She’s not a leader,” or “Their team will never make it,” and zap, we drive a mental stake into minds. Often when we become mature adults, we are still held back by some inaccurate one-sentence “stake” put in our minds when we were young. Today you are an adult capable of much more than you realize. You are far more capable than you were even twelve months ago and the next year you will be able to do things you can’t imagine doing today. Believe it!