Scripture References: Psalm 1
II. The Communion of the Happy Man – Continued
From last lesson: The happy person discovers that God’s Word is a source of endless joy and blessing. It is food and drink for a hungry, thirsty soul.
Not only did he delight in the Word of God, but, second, meditated upon it. He filled his heart and mind with the Word. It is a tragedy when people claim to love the Lord and yet can’t tell you whether Deuteronomy is in the Old or New Testament. Many even think there is a Book of Hezekiah! I even heard a politician once, who, trying to make an impression on religious folks, called Deuteronomy one of the apostles! We are to fix our minds on the Word, which is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path (see Psalm 119:105). It is not difficult at all.
The word “meditate” is an interesting word. It means to “moan.” The word could be translated “hum.” Devout Jews know how to moan. Go to the “Wailing Wall” in Jerusalem, and you can’t understand a word they say. They are sort of talking to themselves, moaning and humming, repeating the Torah, the Law. That is the kind of description we have here.
The happy man is characterized by hiding God’s Word in his heart and uttering that Word to himself and others. This is a rather simplistic comparison, but it reminds me of a cow chewing its cud. That cow never seems to be in a hurry but continually chews that same old cud. The cow chews it again and again, savoring it. That is part of the process of what is called rumination. Meditation on the Word of God is spiritual rumination, bringing the Word up and chewing on it, tasting it. Think on it, moan it, hum it, repeat it. The happy individual does that. I am not talking about some sort of religious nut or some imbalanced fanatic who is giving too much emphasis to the spiritual. I have in mind a person who bubbles over to the extent that he may shout “wow!” now and then. That’s the happy man’s communion.
III. The Condition of the Happy Man
“He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.” This makes two statements about the condition of the truly happy man. First, he is like a tree planted. The tree here is rooted and grounded securely in the earth. It speaks of stability and strength. When all the storms rage, when the blistering heat of summer bakes us, when the burning winds of the desert blow, when the drought blights and water is rare, the happy man’s roots go deep, and he is planted by rivers of water. Winds of change and upheaval cannot detour or uproot the blessed person. This forcefully speaks of fruitfulness and vigor, and this reinforcement is found throughout the Word of God.
Give attention to the prophet Jeremiah: “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, and whose hope is the LORD. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit.” – Jeremiah 17:7–8. Jeremiah had the same insight as the psalmist. All of the elements of the world cannot affect the fact that his roots are deep, and his strength is sufficient. This verse also tells us he is like a tree prospering: the tree “brings forth its fruit in its season; whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.”
I want to make this clear, we will miss the point if we try to apply these three verses to what is today called prosperity. The main point here is not material but rather spiritual productivity, a fruitful, a prosperous tree, producing that which is worthwhile. His life blesses others and is an inspiration to them. His deep roots are strengthened in the hour of testing and are watered by the Word of God that will be a source of his strength and of the stability of his life.
A tree in the Middle East is prized because most of the land is desert and basically barren. A tree like this would be a veritable oasis in the desert, standing out like a sentinel. Here, in the midst of devastation, is a tree, branches spreading toward the sky. Even the intense heat and the torrid, dusty desert winds can’t wither its leaf or cause its fruit to fail from producing; and that is what God intends for His people to be like.
To Be Continued