“He Shall Be Like a Tree”

By Wayne S. Walker

     "He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither, and whatever he does shall prosper" (Psalm 1:3).  I like trees.  When I was in junior and senior high school (many long years ago!), at least twice, I believe in eighth and tenth grades, we studied about trees and had to make leaf collections.  I have now forgotten much of what we studied, but when walking in the woods or even along the streets, I still enjoy looking at and identifying the trees that I can remember.  Man has used trees for so much–food (fruits, nuts), clothing (thread made from certain tree fibers), and shelter (wood for houses, fires).
     The Psalmist says that the righteous man is like a tree in two ways.  First, he is "planted by the rivers of water."  Trees are planted in the ground.  However, have you ever noticed that some trees have very shallow root systems so that when a storm comes up it does not take much wind to blow them down, while other trees have very deep root systems which enable them to withstand the storms?  God wants Christians to be "rooted and grounded in love" (Ephesians 3:17).  We accomplish this through daily Bible study and prayer, regular worship with the saints, and generally drawing closer to God so that we shall not be "tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine" (Ephesians 4:14).
     Second, he "brings forth fruit" in his season.  I have always been a fresh fruit fanatic–apples, pears, peaches, plums, even figs, all of which grow on trees.  Although using the picture of a vine rather than a tree, Jesus reminds us, "By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples" (John 15:8).  As Christians, we need to bear the fruits of good works, righteous living, and winning souls to Christ (Galatians 5:22-23).  Simply put, a fruit tree that does not bear fruit is useless.  A Christian who does not bear godly fruit is worse than useless.  One other thing I want to mention about trees.  As poet Joyce Kilmer noted, "Only God can make a tree."


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