David Brandt Berg
“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” (Psalm 1:1). What does it mean to not walk in the counsel of the ungodly? Don’t walk according to their advice. “Nor standeth in the way of sinners.” Certainly don’t stand, much less follow the way sinners do things!
“Nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.” Who do you suppose the scornful are ridiculing? The Lord and God’s children.
“But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law doth he meditate day and night” (v. 2). The law of the Lord is the Bible, of course, because the Bible is God’s Word.
“And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season” (v. 3). He will be fruitful. In his season. Nearly everything has its season (Ecclesiastes 3:1). Every country has its season for harvest, so don’t get discouraged when you’re not having a big reaping.
A farmer is a man of great faith and patience. Farmers have vision, faith, and patience because they know they have to do a lot of work first—plowing and sowing and watering and fertilizing and weeding and tending the crop until they finally get a harvest, which is usually not more than once a year. Winning souls is like that too. We spend a lot of time plowing and sowing the Word and watering with our tears.
So don’t get discouraged if you’re not always reaping. Our job is mostly planting. We can do some of the watering—weeping and praying that the Lord will bless it. There’s one who planteth and another watereth and another reapeth, but God gives the increase (1 Corinthians 3:6–7). God is the one who actually makes it grow. The increase means growing.
“His leaf also shall not wither.” First of all, what is our fruit? Souls saved. I’ve asked this of many church groups and they would say love, joy, peace, longsuffering. That’s what they thought, because they had not been taught that they’re to win souls and pray for souls.
What’s the fruit of an apple if you plant it? More apples! The fruit of Christians should be more Christians—not love, joy, peace, and longsuffering. That’s not your fruits; that’s the fruit of the Spirit in you (Galatians 5:22–23). Of course, it can result in your fruit. But except a seed or a kernel of grain fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone (John 12:24).
If you keep a bunch of seeds in the package and never get out the Word, it’s just all by itself. But if you plant it, then it falls to the ground and dies. In other words, you bury it—in a sense it dies—but it brings forth more fruit, everything after its kind (Genesis 1:12).
So if our fruit is souls, more Christians, what are our leaves? It says, “His leaf also shall not wither.” When you picture a tree growing by the water, what do you suppose the “river of water” represents? The Word of God: the Word watering the tree so it bears fruit and it has leaves.
What are the leaves? Let’s take an actual tree in botany. It’s a little factory which carries on the process of photosynthesis, which is a process caused by the action of sunshine and the fluids in the leaves which produces chlorophyll, for one thing, which makes it green, and various sugars. It absorbs oxygen at night and it produces oxygen in the daytime, and that’s going on all the time.
But the main process that it conducts is called photosynthesis, which is the manufacture of sugars in the sap of the tree by the aid of sunlight, which feeds the tree and produces fruit So if each little leaf is a factory which is not actually producing the fruit, but is producing the things that bear the fruit, what are your leaves? Our works! Factories are often called works. The iron works, the steel works, etc.
“His leaf also shall not wither” means your works are not going to wither, dry up, and blow away. You’re going to have good strong works that are going to last at least for the season. Your leaf, your works, shall not wither. They’ll be fruitful works, works that will not be burned.
But a lot of people’s works are going to be burned just like dry dead leaves when they face the Lord at judgment. Even the saved at the Judgment Seat of Christ, if their works are not of pure gold, silver, and substantial metal—in other words, real valuable works—but are just wood, hay, and stubble, they’re going to be burned (1 Corinthians 3:12–15).
What do you do with old dry leaves when they fall off? You burn them! But if you’re this kind of tree, your works will never wither. “Whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” That’s a promise. If you’re like this tree, everything you do will prosper.
“The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away” (v. 4). The chaff blows away the light flimsy stuff that’s not good grain. “Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment” (v. 5). “What do you mean ‘the ungodly shall not stand in the Judgment’? I thought they were going to stand in the Great White Throne Judgment of God?” (Revelation 20:11–15). They shall not stand in the judgment. It means they’re going to be knocked down, put down! They’ll not be able to stand the judgments of God.
“Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous”—they’re not going to be able to stand in the congregation of the righteous. “For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.” He knows your way; in fact, it’s sure. “But the way of the ungodly shall perish” (v. 6).
Just think, your way is going to last forever, because it’s the Lord’s way. It’s not the way of the sinners; it’s not the way of the ungodly. All that will perish and be blown away with the chaff in the wind of God’s judgments. But the Lord’s way, the way of the righteous, is going to last forever.
Thank You for Your wonderful Word and the encouragement it is, Lord, and the strength it gives us. Help us to be like that tree planted by the rivers of water, and continue to keep us fruitful and in Your will. In Jesus’ name.
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