Devotional: Psalm 1

The Blessed Man (or Woman) is Like a Tree

Psalm 1 (ESV)
1 Blessed is the man
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 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.

I love the imagery of the tree as one who is blessed. What do we notice about it?
It is planted by streams of water. The one who is blessed knows that his/her source for life and blessing does not come from within. It is not the strength of the tree, the particular fruit, or the vibrance of its leaves that result in blessing. Rather, its life depends on where it is rooted. The stream. The water.
It yields fruit. The one who is blessed (happy/satisfied) doesn’t simply consume. He/she produces. Others benefit from and enjoy him/her.
Its leaf doesn’t wither. When the dry season hits, or when there are trials and tribulations, other trees might wither up and die. They are not rooted near the stream. This tree is sustained and strong because it has a source that never runs dry.

In John 14, Jesus says “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Throughout the rest of the chapter, “Truth” is repeatedly associated with the Helper who is to come: The counselor, the Spirit of truth. “Life” gets associated with the Father’s household, in which there are many rooms. Paul writes in Ephesians 1 & 2 that we are “seated” with Jesus in the heavenly realms, above all rule and authority.

If you put them together with this Psalm, you have one who does not listen to the counsel of the wicked, but to the counsel of the Spirit. Who stands not in the way of sinners, but in the way of Jesus, and who is seated not in the seat of scoffers (the proud: See Proverbs 21:24), but in the heavenly realms, the Father’s household.

But his delight is in the law of the Lord… Jesus said: If you love me, you will guard my commands, the one who guards my commands loves me, and my Father will love him and so will I. Again Jesus repeats the phrase but inserts logos, (Word) instead of commands. Anyone who loves me guards my WORD.
The command: Love one another…

Application: There is a blessed man and a wicked man. The blessed man walks with the Spirit and abides in the Word. He is seated in the heavenly realms. He discerns counsel: Is this from the Spirit or wickedness? He stands in the Way of Jesus, rooted in His life, protected from drought and judgment. Drinking deeply from the stream that doesn’t run dry. He bears fruit. I want to be the blessed man.

Prayer:
Lord, help me to have discernment. Help me to hear the counsel of the Spirit vs. the counsel of the wicked. Help me to stand in the way of Jesus vs. the way of sinners. Help me to remain in you, seated and rooted in the Father’s house, in the heavenly realms, above all rule and authority. Root out the pride in me, that I may not be a mocker, or even unintentionally make a mockery of your goodness by the way I live. Help me to act as your Son, bearing fruit and deeply rooted.
Father, there is a way that is perishing and a way that leads to life. Show me the way that leads to life. Help me to walk this out in very practical steps with my family, friends, church, etc. Help me to meditate on your Word, your commands, and to be firmly planted.

Amen.