Contending for the faith | Making Disciples | Equipping the Saints for Ministry


By Jeannette Haley

“The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree:

he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those

that be planted in the house of the Lord shall

flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still

bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing.”

–Psalm 92:12-14

       Just as a young tree newly planted in the ground needs water, sunshine and certain elements from the soil to nourish and enrich it, so too, all Christians, whether new in the faith or seasoned saints need continual spiritual nourishment from the Word of God. It’s amazing how we all need to eat enough food for our bodies to keep going physically, but often neglect food for the soul. Colossians 2:6, 7 says, “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: Rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.” [Emphasis added.] 

       Contrary to what many believe, God does not make His will and wisdom complicated. He does not hide the simple truth from those who truly seek for the truth, neither does He talk in “riddles” as one of the many false prophets on YouTube proclaims. Are Jesus’ words in Matthew 18:3,4 all that complicated? He said, “Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Little children are guileless, innocent, trusting, and believe what their father tells them. They are pure in their simplicity. Terrible woes are pronounced on any who offends them. The question is, are you and I as trusting and guileless as a little child? Are we “planted” in Christ, or are our “roots” entangled in this world?

       Let’s take the very first Psalm, for example. It consists of only six verses, yet it is a powerful, simple guide for us, if we read, believe, study and meditate on it, and then put it into practice in our lives. The first two verses give wise guidance, the third verse reveals the rewards we will reap if we obey it, and the next two verses are warnings for those who disregard God’s counsel, while the last verse sums up the state of the righteous, and that of the ungodly.

       The Psalm begins with the word “Blessed” which in this instance is derived from the Hebrew word ‘esher which means “happy.” Happiness, in essence, is a sense of well-being; a settled and satisfied state of peace and calmness underscored by a sense of completeness, with interludes of joy. There is no turmoil, tossing to and fro like the troubled sea, no endless pursuits for the vain glitter of this world, or fleeting physical pleasures that can bring one to the blessed happiness that God and His Word give. Consider these verses, “happy is that people, whose God is the LORD” Psalm 144:15b; “Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding” Proverbs 3:13 (see verses 13-18). God calls wisdom and understanding “…a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her and happy is every one that retaineth her” verse 18.

       The question is, how does a person “lay hold and retain” wisdom and understanding? Psalm 1:1 plainly tells us, “BLESSED is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.”  That seems simple enough, right? We are being instructed that if we wish to be happy, we will simply apply the wisdom in this verse when it comes to our walk, our stand, and our sitting. In other words, in our whole life.

       Our walk concerns our lifestyle, and how we choose to live, whether it is according to God’s Word alone, or by the counsel of the ungodly. What is the source of the counsel of the ungodly? It is the so-called “wisdom” of this world, the flesh, and the devil. Bottom line, any counsel from an ungodly person, such as man’s vain philosophies, psychology or worldly “wisdom” is not to be received, believed or acted upon by a Christian regardless of how “right” it may seem to be because its source is from the wrong spirit, or the spirit of the world. Colossians 2:8 warns, “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” 1 John 2:15.

       Standing in the way of sinners paints a picture in my mind of deliberate lingering, agreement with, or association with others who are in a sinful state—a state that they are used to and comfortable with. Even though the way of sinners is hard and their indifference to God and His ways sets them up for destruction, people of all ages who have no burning desire to live righteously, find themselves maintaining their status quo by standing with sinners, and in many cases do so even if they know better. Standing in the way of sinners also brings a person under the wrong spirit—the spirit of lawlessness. “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law” 1 John 3:4.

       Finally, to be blessed the wise will not sit in the seat of the scornful (mockers). Such people are considered to be fools who delight in their scorning. Proverbs 1:7 tells us, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” This miserable state of “sitting” and “scorning” also brings a person under the wrong spirit of evil. “If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds” 2 John 10, 11.

       Meditating on the first verse of Psalm 1 gives us a clear picture of not only how to live and not live, but it also reveals how the progression of sin and ruin takes place in a person’s life. It is clear that there must be a separation from the spirit and ways of the world; a separation from the spirit of lawlessness; and a separation from the spirit of evil. In other words, if we love the world, live like the world, and believe like the world we become enemies of God, and our soul is lost for eternity. It’s as simple as that.

       Moving on to verse 2, “But his delight is in the law of the LORD: and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” In the New Testament the two laws Jesus gave us to live by are found in Matthew 22:37-40, “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” The question is, do we delight in this law, and meditate on it day and night, or do the issues of life, or of the world, the flesh, and the devil cause confusion, doubt, weariness and defeat in our heart, soul and mind? The answers are in the Bible from the beginning to the end, but again, the Apostle John summed it up for us in 1 John 5, which I hope you will read and study. Meanwhile, verses 3-5 tell us, “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God.”

       Commencing on to Psalm 1:3 we read this wonderful truth, “And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” What a blessed state this is! What glorious promises are given for a happy, satisfied, complete life, but as with all of God’s promises, they are conditional upon obedience to verses 1 and 2, and as mentioned above require separation. Strong, healthy and fruitful trees cannot grow and thrive in a tangled thicket, or in a dry desert place, or in an overcrowded, jumbled forest of competing trees for light, minerals and moisture. A beautiful Scripture in Jeremiah 17:7, 8 says, “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.”

       Isaiah 61:3 is a prophetic verse concerning the Person and work of Jesus Christ. Note what is said about the trees of righteousness. It reads, “To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.” By contrast, “The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish” Psalm 1:4-6.

       The bottom line is, depending on our choice as to how we “walk, stand, and sit” in our daily lives, we are either planted as trees of righteousness by the rivers of living water that bring forth fruit for God’s glory, or we are like useless chaff which the winds of judgment will blow away.

       Which one are you?