"Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord...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." -- Psalm 1.1-3
In recent years, drought has threatened many areas and loomed high on the scale of fears that might destroy lives and communities. In some spots lakes and bodies of water shrunk to levels unseen for decades. Communities drowned to form sporting lakes rose ghostlike as the water levels lowered. Where once green and lush grasses and trees flourished there were acres of sand and blowing dirt.
In the modern American church there is a lot of discussion of the lack of growth, the aging congregations, and the lack of real evangelistic growth of the gospel being preached. There is increasing tension between the demands of the Gospel and the demands of the Culture. Lines of faith and spirituality blur. Traditional values fall to the dictates of modern life, growing secularism, and a worldview that stems less from the Bible than popular opinion.
The church is scurrying around seeking relevance, community engagement, and social justice as primary goals. Yet, we are like trees without leaves, bearing little fruit and desperately seeking something more than the dry sands of modern society.
Perhaps, like the tree in the verses, we struggle in a dry and barren land because we listen to the counsel of the wicked, we stand by and say nothing as faith is mocked, and we no longer delight in the law of the Lord.
The message is simple: when we find delight in the law of the Lord, when we do not listen to the advice of those who do not know God and we do not mock faith, we are trees that grow lush and productive fed by the streams of spiritual water. To live in relationship with God is to be part of a green and living thing. When we stop seeking relationships and when we stop drinking from that living water of spiritual vitality we petrify.
Better to seek to send our roots searching for that fresh and flowing water of spiritual relationship. Then, and only then, does our faith become a green and living thing.