Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers.
But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night.
They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season.
Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.Psalm 1:1-3 (NLT)
In my last post about the tree of life, I quoted a passage from Revelations.
Then the angel showed me a river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. It flowed down the center of the main street. On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, with a fresh crop each month. The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations.Revelation 22:1-2 (NLT)
The verse from the Psalms clarifies that we are the tree, while the verse from Revelations reveals the river flows from God and is the water of life.
These two scriptures support the importance of our source. Where do we turn for advice, or who gives us counsel?
The Psalms verse informs us how we apply this to our lives, how we become a well-watered fruitful tree.
- Don’t listen to the advice of someone who is wicked, a sinner, or mocks God.
- Meditate on the law of the Lord.
First, let me just point out that we are all sinners, although as Christians we bear the righteousness of Christ and our sins are forgiven. Still, our advice, our beliefs, or our ideas can still set someone off course. Especially if we ourselves are not heading the advice listed in number two.
Secondly, what does it mean to meditate on the law of God? (My view of the law was in a previous post I wrote on Law, Lawlessness, and Living Free.) A person living in the times the Psalms were written would be meditating on the words of the Torah, also called the Pentateuch, or the first five books of the Old Testament. The person living in the time when Revelations was written would be meditating on these and any letters or teachings they had heard from Jesus or his disciples. The person living today would read their Bible, while also listening to the Holy Spirit.
We are blessed because our river has been opened up and the dam has been removed. The water level runs high.
But I want to go back to the person living in the time of David. I want to point out the difference between reading and meditating. Let’s look at one more scripture:
Do what God’s teaching says; don’t just listen and do nothing. When you only sit and listen, you are fooling yourselves. Hearing God’s teaching and doing nothing is like looking at your face in the mirror and doing nothing about what you saw. You go away and immediately forget how bad you looked. But when you look into God’s perfect law that sets people free, pay attention to it. If you do what it says, you will have God’s blessing. Never just listen to his teaching and forget what you heard.James 1:22-25 (ERV)
The difference between reading and meditating is similar to the difference between hearing and doing. When you meditate on the law of God it is not for memorization but for comprehension. What is God like and why does he require these things? It is our effort to be with God, to know who he is and what he is like. And when we are with God, communing with him, he becomes our source, and we like trees draw up the water of life and our lives are impacted. We begin to prosper and bear godly fruit.
So, even though the person from Old Testament times didn’t know all the grace of God we know today, he could still draw near to God and drink up the water he was offered. And we could learn a thing or two about his dedication to spend time to understand God and to spend time with him.
Grace & Peace,