There are two main choices for each of us to make as we walk down the brief road of our lives: The Way of Life; or, The Way of Death.
Psalm 1:(1000 BC) from the songs of King David
Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked [following their advice and example]; nor stand in the path of sinners; nor sit in the seat of scoffers (ridiculers).
2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His teachings he meditates day and night.
3 And he will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season; its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers..
4 The wicked [those who live in disobedience to God’s law] are not so; but they are like the chaff [worthless and without substance] which the wind blows away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand [unpunished] in the judgment; nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
6 For the Lord watches over and delights the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction..
1) Who is “blessed and “watched over,” by the Lord God, our Creator? We receive an insight here. “He who delights in the Lord.” This is a wonderful gift: to be full of excitement to study, to practice, and to share God’s words. Those who do so earnestly know what this means. Their hearts flood with expectation, revelation, wisdom and joy! And it is in the reading of God’s words that we discover the myriad of blessing he bestows upon those who “plant themselves” by “the streams of living water” issuing forth from the Bible. It is those blessed ones who will “bear fruit.”
Jehovah, the boundless, ever-present, eternal, infinite, God, creator, and savior, who possesses all power, knows all things, and 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.” Mortal humans are not eternal. So those who oppose the ways of their creator will die; and yet, their spirits will live on in torment. How horrible for those who see the glory and majesty of the God they rejected and 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.”
In John 15 Jesus, Jehovah in the flesh, says that “Those that abide (rest in, rely upon, trust) and remain in me, will bear much fruit.” But God 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.” Then he reiterates and concludes with, “ This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” Is this not also what the conclusion of this Psalm says too? For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction. — The choice seems obvious and simple.
Seek the Lord with all your heart. Ask him to bring a passion for him and his holy words into your life, greater than all other desires. If you do so you will not wither, and whatever you 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, as Solomon says in Ecclesiastes. Not all the days of a Christian’s life are rosy. Rain must fall and storms come in order 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.
Jesus uses a similar analogy in John 15. I am the true Vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that continues to bear fruit, He [repeatedly] prunes, so that it will bear more fruit [even richer and finer fruit]. If we practice this then 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.
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, or to live in. And just as in Psalm 1, in John 15 Jesus contrasts the consequence of the two choices presented to us in this life: “The one who remains in Me and I in him bears much fruit, for [otherwise] apart from Me [that is, cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in Me, he is thrown out like a [broken off] branch, and withers and dies; and they gather such branches and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.”
It is not enough to give your heart to Jesus for awhile. This is a daily and conscious choice we make everyday, all day long. Coming to Jesus is a lifetime commitment. He warns us repeatedly to endure in our faith. We walk along the straight and narrow road. His command is for us not to turn to the right or the left. Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (Matt. 17)
Here are the beautiful promises made by our Lord to us in the 2nd & 3rd chapters the book of Revelation to: 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, and 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; and 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, but will acknowledge that name before my Father and his angels.
“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.”
Consider the Bible as important as the sun, earth and water are to trees. They cannot grow any fruit without it. In like manner, the Lord insists that our hearts, souls and minds cannot be nourished either without drinking from the well of God’s words everyday.
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.”
I will close with my favorite verse in the entire Bible: We call it “The Rapture.”
“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.”