Monthly Archives: February 2012

Planted by Streams of Water

We live on a country road which winds up a gentle hill. On the downhill side of the road the trees are especially healthy and prolific. During summer the canopy throws the glade into deep, cooling shadow. The closer the trees grow to the stream at the bottom of our property, the taller they grow. Many rise 50 or 60 feet into the sky.

Having studied forestry as an undergrad, I love trees, especially the white pine, hemlock, cedar, maple, oak, and beech that grow on our acre and a half. I would not deny that there is beauty everywhere on earth: in the arctic, across the great plains, in the pampas of the Argentine, among the shifting dunes of the Sahara, and in the craggy granite heights of great mountains. But trees are special. Not only are they the lungs of the planet but they also clothe the skeleton of earth with grace and beauty.

For there to be healthy trees, there must be abundant water. Fortunately, we live near a perennial spring that feeds our little stream throughout the year.

The other day, I was reading Psalm one when I realized that our property graphically illustrates this passage. The person who delights in God’s law “is like a tree planted by streams of water” (Psalm 1:3). The blessed man or woman “does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night” (Psalm 1:1,2).

How does the blessed person avoid hurtful associations? Like the towering trees on our property, the person who delights in God’s Word, drinks in the life-giving sustenance of divine wisdom day and night. This Bible-saturated soul bears the fruit of grace and holiness through imbibing God’s principles and exhortations and truths. Among the vast array of benefits is discernment about how to avoid the kind of friendships that destroy while embracing those that edify.

Times of severe trial may come, but the faith of the blessed person does not wither, focused as it is on a stream of meditation that connects the believer to the very heart of God. By contrast, the unforgiven who scorn the Bible find their lives, like the leaves of fall, withering and blowing away with the winds of adversity. They will not stand during the final judgment.

The habit of daily Bible reading and devotional prayer has often rescued me from discouragement or making foolish decisions. Join me then, in renewing your delight in the Bible and embracing the practice of daily meditation.


An Ocean of Comfort

On a recent vacation to the seaside, the vastness of the ocean enthralled us once again. From where we stood on the sandy shore of South Carolina, the briny deep continued a thousand miles or more to the coasts of Europe and Africa. The sea seems to cast a spell on people. No wonder so many pay a premium for a bit of ocean front land on which to build a home or cottage.

Those who study such things tell us that, in volume, the ocean contains 322,300,000 cubic miles of water. That’s cubic miles! It encompasses 71% of the surface of the earth, some 140 million square miles.

Mind-boggling. And thus we were a bit perplexed by a man we saw walking along the beach listening to music on an Ipod and texting on his cell phone at the same time. Was he so used to the rise and fall of the relentless tides that it had become commonplace, or was he just another victim of the techno-slavery of our culture?

The magnitude of the ocean, makes a comment by Isaiah all the more astounding. “Who [the Lord God] has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand” (Is. 40:1 NKJV). Just think of it, God holds all that water in the palm of his hand. How immeasurable is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!

The chapter containing this comparison, and others like it, begins with the words, “Comfort, yes comfort My people” (Is. 40:1 NKJV)! The words come to me with power at a time of puzzlement and some discouragement. They bring comfort because they tell me that God has the capacity to understand, the wisdom to know what is best, and the ability to solve whatever problem I have—or enable me to endure whatever difficulty I face. He is infinitely bigger than all my perplexities.

What problem or pain do you face today? Consider the ocean and lift up your eyes to the omnipotent God who is touched by the feeling of our infirmities.