Someone asked me the other day if there has been something from Scripture that I have found sustaining and life-giving over the past school year. For me, it has been Psalm 1. I read this Psalm a couple of times a week and pray fervently that I would be “a tree planted by streams of water.”
In my mind the Psalm conjures up an image of an old oak tree that one might find in central California. An old tree has seen a lot of things, has lived through a lot of storms, and has developed a certain amount of “sway” (the ability to flex and bend but not break in the face of winds and all kinds of weather).
Verse one of the Psalms describes the ways we get sucked into sinful and dysfunctional patters (walk, stand, sit). It feels unsettled when compared to a deeply rooted tree. The key, in verse two, is to meditate on the law of the Lord.
I want to be like an old oak tree, but I don’t feel that way very often. I feel a lot more like a sapling with shallow roots, or an unsettled tree that is too far from streams of water and has become brittle. My branches feel too easily broken.
My prayer is that I grow to be a tree deeply rooted by streams of water.
1 Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
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.
4 Not so the wicked!
They are like chaff
that the wind blows away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
6 For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.