Proximity: Close to Jesus

Read: Psalm 1:1-3

“Blessed is the one … whose delight is in the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season.”

Reflect

The Psalms contain some beautiful poetic imagery. Psalm 1 describes someone who is blessed like “a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither” (v3).

There are certain Biblical images that I find it easy to picture. When I close my eyes, I can picture this tree. The tree is big and strong with it’s roots disappearing into the luscious green grass beneath. The tree’s leaves are a rich tapestry of green and its shadow covers the river bank, providing shade as the water cascades by.

The psalmist understood that trees need a continual source of water for life to flourish. Being situated by a river, the leaves would not wither, and fruit would come naturally in season with an abundant life-source on tap.

Where are you planted?
Seeds can’t choose where they are planted, but we can. To a certain degree we can choose where we will live and how we will parent our children, but more importantly we can choose how we will live. Psalm 1 gives some wisdom about how we should position ourselves, by encouraging us both what not to do and in contrast what we should do.

The psalmist warns us not to walk, to stand or to sit with the ungodly. This doesn’t mean we should desert our friends and family who don’t share our faith, but it is a reminder not to get lost in the wisdom of the age. Some Biblical scholars talk of a progression from walking to standing to sitting, drawing upon the idea that what begins with walking with ungodly wisdom can lead to standing with those on a path away from the things of God, to ultimately sitting and criticising the wisdom of God.

In contrast the author encourages us to delight in the law of God. In context, the psalmist is talking about the first five books of the Bible. But today, we get to delight in the sweeping narrative of the Bible and ultimately, in the person of Jesus. And the instruction is not just to read but to meditate, to make space to reflect upon the promises of God, night and day.

We have a choice about how we will be planted and if we long for our children to discover the promises of God for themselves, then we are invited to position ourselves, to be like the tree in this psalm. It begins with an intentional desire on our part, to punctuate our lives with the promises of God and to dwell upon who God is and what it means to be in relationship with him.

It might be about cultivating existing devotional patterns or it may be about creating a new habit of reading a Bible verse over lunch, or by reading a Bible story with our kids at night. If we want to be like this tree, we don’t need to move to live by a river, but we do need to be intentional about positioning ourselves closer to Jesus, who said “the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14).

Being planted close to Jesus means that there will be fruit and that God will prosper us, not always with a long night’s sleep and healthy bank balances, but he will bring something good and wonderful out of even the tough life circumstances we go through. Let’s choose to meditate on the things of God this week.

As a family

Try memorising a verse together and practice it each day. You could choose a verse together, or we really like these ones as good starting points:

Proverbs 3:5
Trust in the LORD with all your heart. Never rely on what you think you know.
(Good News Translation)

Galatians 5:22-23
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
(New Living Translation)

Ephesians 4:32
Be kind and loving to each other, and forgive each other just as God forgave you in Christ.
(New Century Version)

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