“How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! 2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. 3 He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers. 4 The wicked are not so, but they are like chaff which the wind drives away. 5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. 6 For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.”
What does it mean to be “blessed” by the Lord? We receive an insight here. “He delights in the Lord.” Is this not what we all seek, to be delighted and full of joy, to never have any worries, and to have our hearts flood with happy expectation every day? It is in the reading of God’s words that we discover the myriad of blessings he bestows upon those who “plant themselves” by “the streams of living water” issuing forth from the Bible. It is those who feed upon God’s words every day that are the blessed ones who “bear fruit.”
Jehovah, the boundless, ever-present, eternal, infinite, God, creator, and savior, who possesses all power, knows all things, who was, is, and forever will be, whose essential nature is righteousness, mercy, and love, divides all of humanity into two distinct groups: The Righteous and the Wicked. And throughout the Bible from Adam until today he has given us a choice: Life or Death. All must choose between living for God or living for themselves.
God is eternal and offers eternal life to those who “Do not walk in step with the wicked, or stand in the way that sinners take, or sit in the company of mockers.” (verse 1) Mortal humans are not eternal. Those who oppose the ways of their creator will die; and yet, their spirits will live on in torment. How horrible for those who reject the love of God, versus the blessing of those who accepted his free gift of forgiveness and eternal life. – “Therefore, the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.” (verses 5-6)
Jesus, the Son in the Trinity, God in human flesh, says “Those that abide and remain in me, will bear much fruit.” (John 15:5) But He says to those who refuse to do so, “If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.” (John 15:6) Then he reiterates and concludes with, “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” (John 15:8) It is also what the conclusion of this Psalm says: “For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.” (verse 6)
The choice seems obvious and simple; yet, the majority of humanity rejects Jesus Christ, God stepping down from His throne in heaven to take on human flesh, and to reveal his love for us. Instead, most people live however they choose, without any concern for the eternal consequences. But those that seek the Lord with all their heart, and ask him to fill them with the passion, wisdom, peace, and joy of God’s Holy Spirit, recognize the voice of God’s Spirit as they read his holy words. They drink from it as trees do from water. Such persons will “not wither,” and whatever they put their hands to do “will prosper.”
“Their leaf does not wither” is a call for Christians to be resilient. We “yield fruit in season.” Life has many seasons. Not all the days of a Christian’s life are rosy. Rain must fall. Storms come to bring forth a harvest. We all have our late Fall and long Winters. But Jesus says to not allow the green of our faith’s leaf to wither.
Again, in John 15, Jesus declares. “I am the true Vine, and My Father is the vine-dresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that continues to bear fruit, He prunes, so that it will bear more fruit.” (John 15:1-2) If we choose to believe this, the Lord gives us this promise: “These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” (John 15:11) The choice seems obvious and simple. It requires us to do a few things: remaining, abiding, and resting in our faith in God.
The entire point of Psalm 1 and John 15 is to encourage us to not allow our faith to wither; but to remain “green.” We are to “remain” in him. The amplified meaning of this vital word is sometimes translated as: “abide, rest, stay, dwell, and to live in.”
It is not enough to give your heart to Jesus for a while. This is a daily and conscious choice we make every day, all day long. Coming to Jesus is a lifetime commitment. He warns us repeatedly to endure in our faith, and to walk along the ‘straight and narrow’ road. We are not to leave that path by turning to the right or to the left. “Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way which leads unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matt. 17:14)
“Turn your eyes upon Jesus.
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.”
(19th Century Hymn)
Here is a summary of the beautiful promises made in the 2nd & 3rd chapters of the book of Revelation by our Lord, to those who continue to confess their sins and return to God’s way of life. “Those who have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary:
· I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.
· Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.
· He who overcomes will not be hurt by the second death.’
· To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna.
· I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it.
· Hold fast until I come. He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations to rule them, as I also have received authority from My Father.
· I will give him the morning star.
· The one who is victorious will, like them, be dressed in white.
· I will never blot out the name of that person from the book of life
· I will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels.
· Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.” (Revelation 2-3)
In this list of wonderful promises, the last is in the list is going to happen first. “I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world.” (Revelation 3:10) This verse refers to the last 7 years on earth, the “Tribulation.” Jesus warns us that this will be the most horrific time on earth, and the end of this edition of earth and those that oppose God. Jesus promises to keep us from “that hour.” It is one of the most wonderful promises in the Bible. This event is when the Lord descends to the clouds and calls all those that died in Christ, and all that are alive who are faithful, to rise up and receive their new, eternal bodies. “Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” — For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 15:51-57)
For those who do not believe that Jesus is God’s Son and our savior, or who fall away from the faith, this severe warning is directed. They will miss the escape from earth before the Tribulation. These must experience the horrors of God’s wrath poured out without mercy upon an unbelieving and wicked humanity. Jesus warns us: “Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.” (Revelation 3:3) – In other words, as Jesus says in Luke’s gospel: “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62)
All who truly believe the words of this following scripture, which speak of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, who died for our sins and rose from the dead so that we might rise from death too, will receive eternal life. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind… He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision, or a husband’s will, but born of God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”(John 1: 1-4, 10-14) If we remain, abide, rest, live in, endure, and overcome, we will be granted this greatest gift in the universe: “To him that endures until the end will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” (Rev. 3:21)
It would be cruel of the Lord to give us these warnings and great promises without telling us how to remain faithful. The answer to how we accomplish this great task of our lives, remaining true to God and to live according to his will is in the second verse of the first Psalm: “Delight is in the law of the Lord, meditate on his law day and night.” (verse 2)
Consider the Bible as important as the sun, soil, and water are to trees. Just as plants and trees cannot bloom and bear flowers and fruit without it, our hearts, souls and minds cannot be nourished unless we drink of the well of God’s words and nourish our souls every day. Thus, let us learn the conclusion of Psalm 1 and never forget: “For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.” Choose the way of the righteous and live!