I recently taught my Sunday school class this lesson, but I feel like I didn’t get all my thoughts out, so I am going to try again here.
There is a song that says, “Just like a tree that’s planted by the waters, I shall not be moved.” It has been stuck in my head and making me think about where these lines came from. I believe the writer may have visited two Psalms for inspiration: Psalms 1:1-3
1Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
2But his delight is in the law of theLord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
3And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
And Psalms 62:2
2 He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defence; I shall not be greatly moved.
I love the image of a fully green-leafed, healthy tree swaying gently in a summer breeze next to a peaceful little creek, its roots gathering nutrition from the soil and water from the constantly supplying stream. It says in Psalms 1 that we are like this tree, next to the life-giving water of God. I asked my Sunday school class if a tree could pick up its roots and walk away, and obviously, they all said, “No,” and laughed at me. But, I then followed that up with we know that a tree’s roots cannot move because they are anchored in the ground, holding firmly to the soil that keeps them upright and nourishes them, but the top can move. We, too, need to hold tightly to our anchor that is God. If we are strongly rooted in Him, then we will be nourished properly with His loving care and we will stay upright on the path He chooses for us, staying strongly rooted in Him by praying and listening to what He has to say. Remember, however, that the top of the tree can move. It can sway back and forth gently in the breeze, or it can be beaten up in a strong storm and sometimes move pretty dramatically. Psalms 62 says that we cannot be “greatly” moved. It doesn’t say we can’t be moved at all, but rather that we can’t be moved a whole big, great bunch. God will allow us to move a little ways away from him, just like the swaying treetop, but if we are one of His, He clings to our roots and doesn’t let go. The tree may lose leaves or even a branch or two in a strong storm, but if its roots are deeply rooted, it will not topple over and die. A strong storm is often a test of a tree’s inner strength. If the inner core of the tree is healthy, well nourished, and not rotten, then the tree can flex and bend in the wind and not be broken. We sometimes feel completely bashed and beaten up by the storms and trials in our lives. These storms test our inner strength. Is our core healthy and well-nourished by God because we are allowing Him to take care of us all the time? We may lose a few leaves (loss of patience, money, assets, etc.), but we have to remind ourselves that God is always holding tightly to our roots, still nourishing us through the storms and still protecting us from toppling over and being crushed under the weights of this world. Once the storm is over, the treetop stops moving and things settle down. Our storms WILL end. Our trials will be over at some point. Of course, another storm is waiting somewhere in the future, but once we have survived one,, why can’t we survive the next?…with God’s help, of course. Each storm teaches us something and makes us stronger, more fortified in His strength to fight off the next assault.
In order for a tree to produce good fruit it needs sunlight, good soil (not just soil but good soil full of nutrition), and water. The above verses say that in order for us to be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, we must delight in the law of God (good soil=good base=God’s word where all good instruction comes from), and we must meditate, or study and pray, in this law both day and night and be happy about it. In order to live a Godly, good fruit-bearing life, we must know God’s word. We must study it and be well versed in His words and instructions. We must pray before we act, and sometimes pray before we even think. And we must take joy in living for Him. If we are miserable while trying to do this, we won’t help ourselves or anyone else. The river of life is God’s constant supply of love, correction, and helpfulness. And to me, the sunlight is the Son-light: Jesus’ love and good favor shining down on us from his holy seat next to God.
Psalms 1 also says not to listen to the counsel of ungodly people, not to be around sinful behavior, and not to let yourself sink to the level of the constant scorners and to misjudge others or be critical of them. This is a great reminder that we are not to judge, nor be surrounded by sin, nor confide in someone who is not going to pray with you and give you God-led wisdom. And, living by these three rules will make you a good example to those around you and help to uplift them when they need to see someone living for God in order to live for Him themselves. You will be a blessing to those around you, just like the good fruit plucked from a tree is a blessing to those who eat of it. I want to produce good fruit and be a blessing to those around me. I want to be a good example to my husband, my children, my family, my friends, my church-family, and the strangers I pass by everyday. I want them to be able to see my good fruit in my smile and in my actions.
The Silver Lining for today: I am rooted in HIM. He is clinging to me tightly because He loves me and wants me to stay close to Him. What a wonderful thought that God, the all-powerful, all-controlling, all-knowing being, wants to be close to me, little ol’ me, and loves me so much he will NEVER let me go! I think I will cling to HIM too, because there is no better place to be than next to His peace-giving, life-giving, love-giving, crystal-clear, ever-flowing waters of life.