Psalm 1:3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers.
The past couple weeks we have been looking at one of my favorite Psalms, Psalm 1. We have looked at what a person who is blessed doesn’t do and what they do. When verse 3 starts with “That person” it is referring to verses 1-2 when it tells us about a person who doesn’t surround themselves with people who do not help them grow in Christ. Yes we should reach out to them, love them and witness to them but we should not build our life around them. “That person” is also a person that spends time studying God’s word and works to put it into practice.
The person that does those things is compared to a tree, but not just any tree. A tree planted by streams of water. Notice it says, planted. It doesn’t say it just grew there but that it was planted. When we are saved we are set apart. We are planted in God’s grace and provision. Planted by “streams of water” in the original greek refers to the irrigation system used at that time that provides the necessary nourishment for the tree. We are planted into the church when we are saved. Not the church as we often think of it, a building we go to once a week, but all brothers and sisters in Christ. Part of that does include regular worship in church but it goes farther than that. We should be nourishing one another and meeting each other’s needs. We are also nourished through reading the Bible and by the power of the Holy Spirit.
A tree that is planted and watered properly in time will produce fruit when it is supposed to. We as Christians shouldn’t be barren trees. We should be producing fruit! What does that mean? What does that look like? If we look at Galatians 5:22-23 we read, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Is our life filled with those things? When people look at us do they see those fruits? When you look at an apple tree that is producing fruit it is easy to see the fruit! That is how it should be for us as Christians, people should look at us and see loving, joyful, peaceful people. A while back I preached a series on the Fruit of the Spirit. At the bottom of this page is a link to some sermons on the Fruit of the Spirit.
The next part of the verse is very interesting. Usually when I think of the word wither I think of shriveling up. The original word in Hebrews goes along with at because it can be translated fall. When a leaf withers on a tree it then falls from the tree. The word in Hebrew can also be translated disgrace. We all sin, we all make mistakes but someone who is planted firmly and producing fruit is so busy doing what they should be doing they don’t have a lot of time for what they shouldn’t be doing. If we are bearing fruit we aren’t withering. If we aren’t bearing fruit then it is probably a safe bet we are withering. Just like I used to say when I was coaching, “You never stay the same you either get better or you are getting worse.” In the Christian life we are either producing fruit or we are withering.
The last part of the verse is one we need to make sure to be careful about. When it says “whatever they do will prosper” that can be taken a lot of different ways. It doesn’t means everything is going to be sunshine and roses, money and easy street. It doesn’t mean Christians won’t face suffering, failures or difficulties. In fact if you read the Bible we are told we will face them! It isn’t a promise of wealth, health and happiness! When we live the way God has called us to, when we are producing the Fruit of the Spirit, we will be living a righteous life. When we live the life God has called us to live it leads to blessings, sometimes those blessing can come during suffering and pain. If we do what God has called us to do we will grow to become more Christ-like and impact others for eternity! That my friend is real prosperity!