Monday, December 15, 2008

Best of: Psalm 1:3 Righteousness and success

In the spring of this year, I posted an exposition of Psalm 1. Since that time, I have been blessed with many new readers. I thought this would be a good time to revisit that scripture. I pray that you will be encouraged.

Blessings
joe

When we look at the life of Joseph, Jacob’s son, we see a man supernaturally blessed by God. He rose from the ranks of slavery to the heights of being the 2nd in command of the nation of Egypt. Likewise, Daniel was extraordinarily successful as an administrator and adviser to the Babylonian and Medo-Persian Empire. Certainly, God allowed these men to succeed and enabled them to perform these great tasks. However, if you were to listen to most ministers on TBN, you would get the impression that success and wealth are results or even proofs of salvation. I’m afraid as much as I would like to be guaranteed success and wealth, the Bible does not promise those things to every believer as the world defines them. As we read this verse, we can get a clearer glimpse of what God does in fact promise those who have saving faith.

As we have read, persons who are true followers of Christ do not associate themselves closely with those who reject the truth. In fact, we have seen that a person who loves God also loves His word. In this verse, we see the result of this relationship. We are told this person “shall be like a tree planted”. Now, trees are completely dependant on someone else for their survival. They don’t, nor can they, work or save or exert effort to take care of themselves. Either they are taken care of by a man or by God. In much the same way, regardless of how we like to think of ourselves as self sufficient, we are totally dependant on God. God chose us before the foundation of the world. God numbered our days before we were even born. Like it or not, we are God’s property. We didn’t just happen to come into existence by chance but we were “planted”. We are where we’re supposed to be. We are tended by a loving Gardener who tirelessly provides for every need. For instance, we are not planted just anywhere. Rather, we are planted by “rivers of water”. Our loving Father wants us to be taken care of so we aren’t just planted near one stream but by “rivers” (plural). There have been times where I haven’t had everything I wanted and there have also been times where I wondered how a need was going to be met. However, my God has never once failed to provide for my or my families needs.

In addition to providing for my needs, He also provides for my growth. A person whom God has planted will, according to this Psalm, “bring forth [his] fruit in season”. Now, the last time I was around a fruit tree was the Bradford pair tree in my mother-in-law’s yard. I have never once heard that tree, or any fruit tree, strain with effort to bring forth fruit. They bear fruit because they are fruit trees. It is a result of their existence. We, as Christians, bear spiritual fruit. As Jesus said in Matthew 7 “No good tree bears bad fruit and no bad tree bears good fruit”. God may at times have to prune us to make us more fruitful, but the fact is that fruit trees bear fruit based on the kind of tree they are. Of course, none of us are on the same level of maturity spiritually. Therefore, we bring forth our fruit “in season” in keeping with the will of the Master Gardener.

Now, some people could read this Psalm and say “Hey, look at these next two verses. See. There’s proof that all Christians will have success.” However, let’s think about what these next two phrases and remember that this is talking about someone who has a right relationship with God. I live in Tennessee and here it is turning fall. Just barely but the leaves are turning none the less. I believe this is my favorite time of year because of the beauty of the falling leaves and the dead grass (I hate cutting grass). When I read this verse, I wasn’t exactly sure what it would mean that the subject of this Psalm had leaves that “shall not whither”. However, when I reflect on the fact that the leaves that are falling have died I remember that I will live forever in heaven with God and my Christian brothers and sisters. I’m going to die (or be raptured) physically but I will never die as far as eternity is concerned. Likewise, I may suffer loss and misfortune in this world. In fact, I have. Some things were due to my stupidity and some were not my fault. However, they were all in the providence of Almighty God. Even though I have had success and failure here in this world, ultimately “whatever [I do] shall proper” because I will eventually shed this mortal body and leave this sinful world for a perfect home in heaven. No matter how ugly things get here, I know that ultimately I will have true joy beyond anything I could ask or imagine when I come to live forever in heaven with Him who “planted” me in His garden not because of my worth but because of His grace and mercy.

Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission.

2 comments:

Treefroggy said...

Love this - " I have never once heard that tree, or any fruit tree, strain with effort to bring forth fruit." !! Thanks for your blog!

Joe Blackmon said...

Thank you for the encouragement, Treefroggy.