Short Meditations in Psalms: 1.3c Life Continuance
Psa 1:3 and whose leaf does not wither.
How significant just a few words can be. My wife grows plants in pots and just recently several plants have just wilted. Why? Too much watering or too little? Bugs, pests, diseases? The withering leaf is a sign that this plant is ailing. Most of the time the leaves are fine, a sign of a healthy plant! The health of a plant is indicated by the state of the leaves.
We are still considering the man who focuses his life on God’s will, God’s word. The analogy given is of a tree planted by abundant waters so that it will flourish and bear fruit and now (and here is a vital issue) it continues to flourish so that its leaves do not wither or droop or drop off, all signs of an ailing plant. But this man who focuses on God’s word will not be like that; he will not wither or droop.
Now these would be insignificant words if it wasn’t for the sad and unpleasant truth that believers do drop away, they do wither in their faith and they end up as casualties of the kingdom. Why? It has to be because at some point they lost contact with God’s will and with His word for them. There may be other contributing factors but somewhere in the midst of the equation – and it may be in the midst of warfare or general hard word – there came a separating from the source of supply in some form and crisis followed.
Judas was an example of a dropout who couldn’t be recovered and somehow, despite all that was going on in front of him, he fell to wrong thinking and then wrong actions and eventually to being in submission again to Satan. All these things are obvious from the scriptures. The crucial issue about Judas was that it wasn’t just a one-off failure like say Peter, but a long term descent into unbelief and from that, says the writer to the Hebrews, there is no return (Heb 6:4-6). Remember the key words are ‘fall away’ which means a gradual but steady descent, not just a one-off failure.
When we take our eyes off God’s word and off His will, we move into a place of unreality where the power and presence of God is absent and perhaps there are no more tragic words than those which apply to the person who does not realise this has happened. e.g. with Samson, “he did not know that the LORD had left him.” (Jud 16:20). King Saul was another who lost sight of the key issue: “to obey is better than sacrifice.” (1 Sam 15:22)
The psalmist saw this: “The righteous will flourish like a palm tree… They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green.” (Psa 92:12,14) With God’s word we are designed to last, to remain fresh, to remain fruitful. May it be so!