A Tree Planted by the Water Makes the World a Better Place
By Aaron Mitchell
A husband and wife were fighting. He didn’t know what it was about. He used to try and think, “What did I do wrong?” He used to try to ask hard questions of his wife to understand how he could be better. At some point, he found it was easier to just to buy some flowers and be done with it. It seemed that he was always in trouble about the same time every week. Sure enough as he thought about it, he thought every Thursday I am having an argument with my wife. He tried to figure it out for a day or so and he just decided he will not ever understand, but he can do something about the problem.
Every week he began to get the same flowers on his way home from work. He would write a little note. For three weeks there was peace and harmony in the house. The fourth week it seemed there was a crack in the armor. Something has gone wrong. She is mad at me again today. This time, it is worse than it was a month ago. Every week they would get through it by Saturday and the fighting would start violently on Thursday night again.
Finally, after a month of predictable intense fighting every Thursday through Saturday they had the difficult conversation. She told him, “I thought you were finally trying to understand me. You were thoughtful. You bought me the flowers I wanted. You were attentive to me. You put my needs first. You cared about me. Then you started apologizing when we weren’t fighting. You stopped listening and just kept buying the same flowers and apologizing week after week when everything was fine. Every Thursday you proved to me we have a transactional relationship. It hurt!” The husband then had the choice to learn how to relate and improve the communication situation or he could keep causing the suffering.
Sadly, when it comes to Jesus, we do this. We have adopted our own ideas about how He keeps score. We feel He is mad at us and is going to punish us so we try to do things for Him and say the right things. We buy Him flowers so to speak. All the while, He actually wants us to connect with Him. It is amazing how much we can get away with claiming we are doing something for God without really connecting with Him the entire time.
The Psalmist writes in Psalm 1:
1 Blessed is the man[a] who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
2 but his delight is in the law[b] of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.
3 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.
4 The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
6 for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.
Do not follow the way of the wicked, but delight in the law of the Lord. When I see the word delight and law in the same sentence it is odd. I see someone beaming with unusual happiness as they are meditating on the law or rules handed down through Moses. Take the rules or something that is to help you and take unusual joy in it, like Richard Simmons does with exercise. Or think about our traffic laws.
When you take joy in God’s word, you are like a tree planted by the water. The fascinating thing about the Bible is it is different from any other book. When you read it alongside other books you see it is living and active. Our Savior is alive! His Word is alive! Imagine this desert climate and the author is talking about a tree planted by a stream.
When you deeply ponder God’s word this will always lead you towards life. God will write His word on your heart. You will be in conversations or situations and the Words you read years ago will come back to you. His Word is that powerful. Your leaf will not wither, so you will continue to have life. Also, note you will bear fruit in season.
Fruitfulness is not constant. It is seasonal. Eventually someone will be able to be nourished from your witness, your study and prayer connection to Jesus because you meditate and delight in the Word of God.
It is a guarantee that the way of the wicked will perish. The unfaithful, deceptive people in your life do not escape God’s correction. Stay connected intimately. Delight in God’s Word. Don’t punch the clock thinking God will hurt you if you don’t spend time with Jesus. Instead you should spend time with Jesus because life is there. Be the tree planted by the water, not the husband trying to keep the peace without even truly knowing the person he is trying to please.
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