Friday, October 20, 2006

Trees of Life...that can be us! Psalm 1

I like the earthy, common sense of Eugene Peterson.

Commenting on Psalm 1, Eugene points out that when God is preparing us to pray, God directs us to the present ordinary world, not to the sublime heavenly realm. "Go, sit down and ponder a tree" (Psalm 1: 3) prepares us more for prayer than scraping the Milky Way for ethereal, divine experience. Prayer is not designed to make us God-like; it's designed to make us truly and fully human.

One result of delightful, growling over Torah is being a "tree that yields its fruit in season" (Psalm 1:3). I like Spurgeon's link of Psalm 1:3 and Galatians 5:11-12. Charles Spurgeon pointed out that when we are immersed in God and Torah-delight, we will, for example, bear the fruit of love when love is "in season," that is, when love is needed. We won't yield "gentleness" when "self-control" is in season or "kindness" when "joy" is needed. The Spirit will empower us to express the just-right, Christ-like presence needed for the moment. We don't have to grunt and push to "bear fruit." We simply live God-centered, Torah-delighting lives. The water of life courses through us and we yield up what is appropriate and shalom-bringing.

"Like a tree" or "like chaff." One rooted and fruitful, the other weightless and useless.

Self-absorbed people and anti-God's king nations and rulers (see Psalm 2:1-2) who appear to carry the weight of influence in the world are revealed in the end to be "chaff." It will be something to see presidents and premiers, kings and generals collapsing to their knees before little wrinkled women and wheel-chair bound old men who, even in their loneliness, loved God and prayed faithfully. The righteous will stand tall and without fear in the judgment. The "shakers and movers" will be paralyzed in awe that "God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him."

You want to pray well. Consider the tree planted by the canals of water. Eugene Peterson pointed out that the word "tree" and the word "true" are both from the Old English "Treow" which means "a deeply rooted idea."

Jesus is the Truth; Jesus is the Tree and we are the branches.


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