Word pictures. The Word is full of them. I am a very visual person, so I enjoy the pictures God gives in His Word to teach us. I especially enjoy references to nature because God created it all, and those things reflect His beauty, His creativity, His artistry.
As part of my daily time with the Lord, I read a Psalm every day. The Psalms express such a range of emotions, and they give me the opportunity to express my emotions through worship, prayer, and meditation. So, I have read each of them many times over the years. When I finish, I start over at Psalm 1, and every time I am captivated by this Word.
Blessed 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. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He 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. (Psalm 1:1-3, NIV)
So many thoughts capture my mind as I read this. What does it mean to not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers? I’ve read teachings on this in which the writer stressed the progression from walking to standing to sitting. We start out just walking with the world’s counsel, going along with the culture around us. Then we get comfortable enough in the world’s way to stand with sinners. This is not implying that as Christians, we are not sinners and everyone else is. But according to God’s Word, our lives should not be characterized by sin, so we shouldn’t take a stand with what is counter to God’s Word. If we do, we eventually will settle in enough to sit down right along with those who mock God.
But blessed (happy, fortunate, characterized by God’s favor) are those who delight in God and His Word instead, who meditate on the Word of God both day and night! You know, it may seem easier to go with the world than to stay with the Word, but I beg to differ. We don’t find it difficult to read Facebook feeds for hours on end, so why would we think it is difficult to spend time in God’s Word?
We may sometimes have a hard time understanding the Bible. If so, we can find a version easier to read or get a study Bible with explanatory notes at the bottom. We should pray before reading that the Holy Spirit will give us understanding. We can read a single verse and ponder what it means and what we feel God is saying to us. God will speak if we will take time to listen. Many times we just need to obey one thing we’ve read in God’s Word, and then He will bring more to light.
The Word of God has so much to offer if we will let ourselves get lost in it. Even if we don’t like to read, we can get the Bible on cd and listen. Many times we are just making excuses to avoid God because He requires something of us. We are all guilty of this at times. But I find that when I put the excuses behind me, what God has to offer is so much better than whatever I thought I would gain otherwise.
Here’s what God has to offer: we will be like a tree!
I know, that may not sound all that glamorous, but picture a tree planted by streams of water. It yields its fruit in season; its leaf does not wither; whatever it does, prospers. I don’t know about you, but I want to yield fruit for God – fruit that will last. I want my tree loaded down with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. I want to be full of life, thriving, bringing shade to others, roots going way down deep in the love and security of Christ.
And most of all, I want to outlast the devil. I want to be like a tree that never withers, always drinking in the life-giving water of Jesus, planted right by the streams of His grace. That is a picture worth keeping in my heart and mind, especially when I am tempted to walk a few blocks in the counsel of the wicked. The world is loud. The wicked are calling out, “Come on, we’re not that bad! Just come walk with us for a bit.”
“That’s okay. I think I’ll stay right here by the stream.”