1 Blessed is the man
who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked
or stand in the way of sinners
or sit in the seat of mockers.
2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers.
4 Not so the wicked!
They are like chaff
that the wind blows away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
6 For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.
I love this passage. How I long to be that tree planted by the streams. You can just see the roots deeply running and feeding from the life giving water. I envision those roots clinging to the surrounding soil, gripping it and preventing erosion as the storms blow through. Not only do they hang on to the rich soil for its own nourishment, but they keep the soil stable for the saplings about it to grow and develop their own roots.
Reading it once again, I am reminded I can not passively become this tree that I long to be. I am clearly instructed to avoid several things in verse 1:
Do not “walk in the counsel of the wicked.” How I pray I will never be tempted to entertain worldly advice, or be led astray by false teaching. May I always seek first the counsel of His Word (Psalm 119:24) and His Holy Spirit (John 16:12-15)
Do not “stand in the way of sinners.” I pray for wisdom that I may be led along straight paths, clearly perceiving His will for me. I cling to His instructions so that I may be sure footed and not stumble as I journey on the path of righteousness (Proverbs 4:11-19). I pray that I will have a bold spirit and willingness to walk His way, that I will not be found blending in with the crowd of sinners walking contrary to His way (Proverbs 14:12; Matthew 7:13-14).
Do not “sit in the seat of mockers.” I cry out to God to protect me from pride, that he will reveal it within me, so I may repent and humble myself before Him (Proverbs 21:24). I pray that as He pours out His wisdom on me, that I will be a peacemaker sowing in peace, and raising a harvest of righteousness. (Proverbs 29:8, James 3:18).
While avoiding those activities, I am told in verse 2 to be actively seeking Him through His word, and meditating on it day and night. My mom asked me several years ago to choose a verse for a bracelet she was having made for me. I very prayerfully considered it and at that time claimed Jeremiah 15:16 as my life verse:
When your words came, I ate them;
they were my joy and my heart’s delight,
for I bear your name,
O LORD God Almighty.
I long for that to be my life’s theme. May His word forever be my heart’s focus, for I know that obedience to His word is where delight is found (Psalm 119:35). I pray regularly that He will create in me a passion that I would pant with longing for His commands (Psalm 119:131).
Lord, I pray that you will indeed make me that tree planted by the streams. Let me soak up the nourishment of the living water with roots growing ever deeper. Let me be firmly planted to withstand the storms of life. Let my leaves be ever green glorifying you, come what may. May my children take refuge beneath my branches of faith during times of scorching heat. Let my roots in you hold the soil firmly around them as they send out tender shoots seeking you, so the floods of crises will not sweep them away. May the fruit of my faith provide nourishment and be a testimony of your faithfulness for them and others. Let me stand boldly and firmly, with outstretched arms for your glory.
“But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
whose confidence is in him. He will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8