Why a tree

But his delight is in the law of the Lord, And in His law he meditates day and night. 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.  Psalm 1:2-3 (NASB)

I love the simple complexity of the scriptures. Every word God allowed to be penned holds its own weight. He doesn’t miss a thing. There is so much to be gleaned from just reading the scriptures, but what’s waiting beneath the surface is the gift and the mystery of God himself. This is why the scriptures tell us to meditate, as if He’s saying, “Wait, don’t’ miss it! I wrote it just for you.”

Psalm 1:2-3 is one of the more familiar passages in the Bible. It’s easy to read and understand the basic meaning: study God’s Word and prosper, right? A while back I came across these verses in my regular reading and I heard the Holy Spirit say, “Wait…read it again…meditate on this.” Over the next couple weeks I could not get the words out of my mind, and the Holy Spirit peeled back layer after layer of this beautifully crafted tapestry of simple words—specifically “tree.” Why a tree?

Well, let’s talk about this tree. It’s firmly planted by streams of water (God’s Word). It will grow tall and its branches will stretch long and wide. They will be full of leaves. This kind of tree will provide safety and protection from the elements.

My husband and I were in the “canopy” in Puerto Rico not long ago. He talked me into zip-lining though the forest. Just when we were about half way through the tour, a torrential rain parked itself right above us. The rain was so loud, we could barely hear one another. But, the amazing thing was, as long as we stayed under the canopy, we barely got wet. Everyone in the group would run from tree to tree to avoid the rain.

On the contrary, a tree that has no water source will wither and die. But, it doesn’t happen overnight. First the leaves fall off, then the branches become brittle. We know to prune these trees before a storm comes through, otherwise they are a menace to everything and everyone around them. The branches become debris that can cause serious damage. If we stay connected to the water, we are that canopy, the place of refuge and protection for those who need it. If we disconnect from the water, we can become dangerous.

But a healthy tree doesn’t stop there, it “yields its fruit in its season.” Fruit is beautiful, it’s easily digested and provides nourishment. The tree doesn’t eat its own fruit. The tree drinks the water and produces the fruit for others.

For a long time my kids didn’t like to drink water. They preferred something with a little more flavor. But fruit? They’d eat fruit all day long. After years of forcing them to drink water and teaching them how vital water is to their overall health, along with personal experiences of being dehydrated from playing outside on a hot day and having their thirst quenched by water, they now crave it. When they’re tired they ask for water. When they have a headache, water is the cure. They’ve learned that it’s not only vital to their well-being, but it tastes good too. It brings immediate refreshment like nothing else.

God has given us the ability to connect to Him, digest his word and through His Holy Spirit produce fruit that is attractive, sweet and easily digestible. Notice the scripture says “its fruit, in its season.” In other words our fruit looks different and is produced in different seasons. Our fruit can supply nourishment for others and allow us to help connect them directly with the source of all life—the water. And like my kids, they will understand their need for it and learn to love it.

Healthy trees produce breathable air. Photosynthesis is the process of converting carbon dioxide into oxygen. Photosynthesis literally means “to put together with the light.” The sun is the light and bits of carbon dioxide and water are the pieces being put together. Once a tree has the three ingredients it needs, it uses the sun’s energy to release the carbon dioxide and we are left with oxygen. Two mature trees can provide enough oxygen for a family of four. An acre of trees produces enough oxygen to keep 18 people alive for year!  Through the work of the Holy Spirit, God gives us the ability to breathe life into others.

Trees make a landscape beautiful, protect weaker plants, provide shelter, produce fruit, reproduce themselves, and so much more. Moral of the story: be the tree planted by streams of water.