Stop and thank God for being present with you today. Ask for God’s guidance as you hear God’s voice through scripture and the writer.
Psalm 1 (NRSV)
Happy are those
who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
or take the path that sinners tread,
or sit in the seat of scoffers;
but their delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law they meditate day and night.
They are like trees
planted by streams of water,
which yield their fruit in its season,
and their leaves do not wither.
In all that they do, they prosper.
The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the LORD watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.
I have had a recurring dream since childhood. I’m not superstitious but I’m also not naive. Let me tell you about my dream. In my dream, I’m standing alone in a meadow. Beyond where I’m standing, there is a staggered grove of mature pecan trees. You can tell it is spring because the grasses are tall and the sun is shining in its fullness. I can’t see the sun or sky because my perspective is fixed on the trees, but the grasses around the trees are illuminated by the brilliance of the day. There is a crook in the midst of the trees where the ground slopes down. As I walk closer, I see the slope leads into a wide creek that is rushing between the trees. It does not appear to be raining outside and the grass is a brilliant yellow and green. As I follow the waters, they spread wider as they flow amidst the trees. Several tributaries form around grassy islands isolating the trees. What I find most remarkable is the contrast of the sun against the gray waters of the creek, the rushing current against the immovable trunks, and the fragility of the green grass being swept by the overspreading current.
I learned later from my mother that when I was about 2 years old that there was a record-breaking flood in the town we were living. In fact, at a recent visit, I found the grove of trees that are indelibly stamped into my mind. They are still standing on either side of a slough, which runs through the middle.
This vision is the closest thing I have to experience trees planted by streams of water. This is the analogy by which the psalmist compares the path of the righteous. In this passage, there are two ways the righteous find nourishment. The first is delighting in the law of the Lord. In what do you delight? To delight is to take great pleasure doing something. Do we take pleasure in knowing the law of God and seeking to understand the ways of Christ? The second is closely related to the first. The psalmist says that the righteous meditate on the laws of the Lord day and night. I don’t know about you but that seems like a lot of time to spend reading a book. I have things to do!
The benefits of knowing and meditating on the Lord are immense if we do it. Unlike the wicked who are tossed around, we are immovable. Our roots are fixed and the troubled waters are of no threat to us. As the gospel hymn says, “I shall not be moved!” The foundation and security of the Lord are irreplaceable and all other paths fall short. Not only are we immoveable but we are also fruitful. We are a sanctuary for creation that draws water from an unquenchable source. We personally benefit and feed others with the bountiful harvest.
John had a vision of a tree and a river as well. It was a vision that recaptured Eden. Revelation 22:1-2 says “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.” What a beautiful sight! The inheritance of those who seek to delight and meditate on the law of God through Jesus Christ.
We give thanks to you God for your streams of mercy. We thank you for a path well marked by which we come to know you more. We pray that we will know your glory above as we seek to know you below. Amen.
Go with God.