The Willow Tree: Psalm 1 (Pt 1)

A Study of Psalm 1: (Part One: Introduction)

On my parents’ property there is a beautiful pond overlooked by a large willow tree.  The willow tree is completely eye-catching.  It stands triumphantly on the edge of the pond with its gorgeous branches kissing the ground.  That beautiful tree standing center-stage is not very old.  Few admirers would guess that a tree so large could be that young.  I remember helping my father plant that tree a few years ago, and each year I have been amazed to look back on its exponential growth.  The changes have been staggering.  I believe the secret to that willow tree’s rapid growth and annual flourishing has been its excellent placement.  The tree was planted less than ten yards from the water, and its roots wasted no time in finding the pond’s life-giving moisture.  I often wonder whether that tree would have flourished so much had it been planted elsewhere—perhaps the middle of our yard where the pond was out of reach.

I have often been fascinated by that tree, and marvel at how it stands as a fitting metaphor for life.  People are a lot like trees.  Some flourish while others fade.  Some are fruitful and others fruitless.  Each tree has the capacity to grow and live, but it also has the ability to wither and die.  So, what makes the difference?  The answer is obvious.  A tree can only flourish when it has the nutrients that are necessary for its growth.  In this way, the condition of the tree is a result of the elements to which it is exposed.  It is shaped by the environment that surrounds it, and is affected by the resources that either nourish or suffocate its growth.  Is your life like that willow tree at my parents’ pond?  Are you experiencing exponential growth and flourishing for all to see?  As we will see in our text today, our growth is completely dependent on where our roots find their sustenance and ultimate satisfaction.

Let us now turn to our text:

Psalm 1:1-6: “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. 3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. 4 The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. 5 Therefore, the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; 6 for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.”

*This is the first of several posts over Psalm one that will be forthcoming.

[1] The premise of G.K. Beale’s monumental work on idolatry, We Become What We Worship: A Biblical Theology of Idolatry (IVP Academic, 2008), has suggested: “We become what we worship, we resemble what we revere.”

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Filed under Devotional Commentary, Theological Reflection, Tribbett

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