Short Meditations in Psalms: 1.3a Life Source
Psa 1:3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water
The psalmist now starts to describe this man who delights in God’s will and first describes him as a tree. A tree is a plant and plants grow. Trees are plants that grow large and, as Jesus indicated in his parables, provide shelter and food for birds and shelter for others beneath their boughs. But this tree isn’t described beyond its location – and this is the important part. But note also that it is ‘planted’. There is a feeling of purpose behind that word. It is not there by accident; it has been put there precisely because of the water that is available.
This is the point, that this man who delights in God’s will, is like a plant that has been put down next to water so it has a continual source or supply to sustain it and help it continue to grow. Because he or she delights in God’s will, God has made sure they are located next to a source or supply that will sustain them. If you are someone who delights in God’s will, He HAS provided a source of supply for you!
Now a stream is a continual running supply of water and again the implication is that there will be continual supply. What confirms that suggestion is that the psalmist says it has been planted by streams – not just one stream, but more than one. This suggests abundant supply.
So the analogy used to describe this man who delights in God’s will is of a plant that will grow big and strong and is sustained by a continual supply of water. So why should this be? Why should this particular man be so described?
The answer has got to be that the Law of the Lord, or the will of the Lord, nourishes this man in the same way that the water nourished the tree and enables him to grow and to flourish – and the following verses will confirm that.
Now if we approach this meditation from a different angle, we might ask what the Bible teaches us about growth? Well, the writer to the Hebrews chastised his readers saying they ought to have grown so that they should have become teachers, not those still wanting elementary teaching (Heb 5:11,12). Indeed if we look around the New Testament we will see many references to growth or growing in the faith. The expectation is that Christians will grow. So the question then comes, how will they grow, what will cause them to grow? The answer from this psalm has to be first that they will be those who set their hearts to delight in the Law of the Lord, in the will of God. I wonder how many of us are casual about the word of God, not realising that it is one of the primary causes of spiritual growth. It shouldn’t be just preachers who spend time in it, but all of us, for it brings us life.