A verse from our Bible reading for today:
He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In the ’90s I traveled a lot. I kept a travel journal most places I traveled to. One adventure was on an ice-breaking ferry/transport ship in Canada. We we started at Rimouski and went all the way along Quebec’s lower North Shore (of the St. Lawrence River) to Blanc Sablon, a city at the border of Labrador. On the early part of the journey when we departed from Sept-Iles, I wrote,
Got up at 5am to see departure. Whales and birds galore. The shore line is interesting, large rocks smoothed over by the tides. Rock ledges poke through the stands of trees lining the shore. How do the trees’ roots grasp in the 2 inches of soil?
I am not agricultural at all, but even a neophyte can muse upon the physics of it. It’s intuitive.
As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. (Matthew 13:20-21).
That is what made Jesus’ metaphors so excellent.
The verse in the Psalm above refers to the rootedness of a tree that is planted where it can be fed by good soil and good water. Such a tree does not fall away. It bears fruit.
Where does a believer get his rootedness from? By planting him or herself in the Life of Christ, drinking and feeding on His word. By living and growing in obedience and submission to His commands. Those who fall away were never planted in Him to begin with. They had no confidence in Him, in comparison to their own sin and wretchedness. They were only joyful for a time because their consciences were temporarily salved. But unless one is truly repented, that joy will fade at the first hardship and there will be no streams to drink from for nourishment. They fall.
Barnes Notes on the Psalm-
A description of the happiness or prosperity of the man who thus avoids the way of sinners, and who delights in the law of God, now follows. This is presented in the form of a very beautiful image – a tree planted where its roots would have abundance of water.
Planted by the rivers of water – It is not a tree that springs up spontaneously, but one that is set out in a favorable place, and that is cultivated with care.
God cultivates us by the Spirit, but we shepherd our salvation too. Drink deeply from the word, obey and submit with grace without grumbling. Pray earnestly for all things, and praise the One who planted you. May you bear fruit in your time.