First Off…read Psalm 1!
What’s interesting about this psalm is that it’s very general in its purpose. In its simplicity it becomes the basis and over-all understanding of what all the other psalms are going to declare: God is good…all other things outside of him are bad. Life with God is good, life without God…yeah, good luck with that! What God asks of his children and how they are to treat others and live life VS what society says. So which do you chose?
We live in a world that is trying to gain control of your thoughts, your mind, your actions, your decisions…and ultimately…your heart. A world that is wanting you to live and drink from it rather than living and drinking from the goodness of God. And I absolutely love this image we get from the psalmist about a tree and how the person who walks in the light of God is like a tree planted next to streams of water. So what does that mean? The image is beautiful and cool but it has to speak to us, mean something to us, find a peace within us and, ultimately it must take root in our hearts (pun intended).
A tree that is healthy only drinks from the healthy source but as soon as that water becomes tainted it is no longer a healthy tree. No longer is refreshing, cool, clean water being pulled into its roots. Now, because the water is infected, the tree too is infected. All the pathogens, chemicals, and nasty runoff from the fields that made its way into the water is now circulating throughout the life of the tree. And whats really cool is that when you cut down a tree and look at its rings you can see these things. You can see the years that were lean and dry. You can see the years where drought was there. You can see when the tree started getting diseased and infected. And why? Because the water, the life-giving source of the tree, means something.
I think the psalmist starts with the tainted tree…because we have become just that. We are influenced and misguided each and every day. Even when we see the healthy water, the good things…we, for whatever reason, still are drawn to that which hurts us. Pornography, sex, violence, hatred, self-interest, and a myriad of other things could be talked about forever! But I also think that so often what starts off as clean quickly becomes polluted. It’s the brokenness that we’ve come to know and experience. And so the tree and water become a beautiful metaphor for you and me (trees) and holy and good water (God and his Word) vs you and me (trees) and stinkubus water (sin, destruction, everything outside of the goodness of God).
So here’s the truth: One cannot drink from the Word of God, from the Spirit of God, and STILL DRINK from things outside of Him. Nor can we get healthy and be strong and true while still ingesting the poisons that are around us. Just as a doctor would not give you medicine AS WELL AS the poison that brought you in to see them we too must solely drink from God and him alone and stay away from harmful things.
So how? How does one move from the nasty water to the good water? Well, first off, the Psalmist declares that we must simply be in the word of God. We must read our scripture, we must chew on it and see it’s truth and relevance in our lives. But we must also carry it with us and let it circulate throughout our bodies. We cannot just read our Bibles and then say, “Welp! I’m done now!” Just as we don’t take a sip of water when we’re parched we don’t just take a sip of the Bible. We DRINK it in. Because just as water strengthens, cleanses, nourishes, and gives us what we need – so too does God’s word.
But you and I, believers of God’s good Word, know that the drinking doesn’t stop there. The truth and reality is that our sins and decisions in life seem to push us further and further from the water. That somehow these trees (you and me) have grown legs and we’ve walked away from our source of goodness. Well, that’s simply a lie we tell ourselves because the truth is that God picked up his stream and ran it right through our trunks (to keep the tree and us metaphor). By way of Christ God gave us exactly what we need: refreshing, life-giving, soul-restoring, eternal water.
3 QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CHEW-ON:
- Which source do you tend to drink from? Why?
- How is your time alone with God and his Word? Is it important enough for you?
- What are some things you can do to drink more of God and less of this world?