God’s word can snap the mighty cedars of Lebanon (Psalm 29:5), but it can also sustain the seedling. It can uproot an ancient cedar, but it can also prosper an acorn and cause it to grow into a mighty oak. Psalm one describes this simple fact:
“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;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law (or “instruction”) he meditates day and night.
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.” Psalm 1:1-3
We move then from the obliterated tree of Psalm 29:5 to the life-filled tree planted by streams of water. This scene is clearly meant to be idyllic. If you read Psalm one and picture Anne of Green Gables, I think you’re onto something.
Personally, I think of a beautiful park not too far from our house. The park is set along the Tennessee river, and by the river’s edge runs a row of trees. They stand tall and thick and strong just as the Psalmist trees by rivers. Some of them have scant soil, with rocks about and worn paths crossing their roots. But they are undiminished. The river is the source of life and it grows healthy, beautiful trees year after year. The Psalmist tells us the word of God to our lives is like a river to a tree.
This imagery may surprise you. We are quicker to compare the Bible to a rulebook than to a stream of water. We see the Bible as dry and boring. We consider it old and constrictive. We think of weird names and odd stories. We dread the “begets” portions. We call it antiquated and dated, irrelevant at best and offensive at worst. If we ever pick up the Bible, it’s to lay it aside. But the Psalmist says we are so far from the truth. The truth is the Bible is fresh and alive, full of insight and life. And if we sit in it, we will be refreshed and richly blessed.
Like a stream sustains the life of a tree so God’s word will sustain our lives. Just as a tree depends on what it can intake, so we depend on what we intake. If we take in lies and half-truths, we will wither. If we feed on the philosophy of the world, then we will stunt our spiritual growth. Or, even if we simply neglect the word of God, we will threaten our existence. We need the word of God like a tree needs water.
So picture that beautiful tree again. Picture your life as that beautiful tree, your aspirations reaching to the skies, your influence extending, your canopy widening, your shade deepening, your fruit popping. Now consider your Bible. There is a connection between your vision and your Bible. Input from your Bible can output a blessed life. Unhinge yourself from the Bible and you will unhinge yourself from life.
Cling to the word of God. Pant for it. Drink it down. Swim in it. Wash yourself with it. Be continually remade by the Word of God.