Saturday, October 18, 2008

Psalm One

Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
for the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.

This is the first psalm I remember memorizing as a child and I still derive endless satisfaction from drawing boring looking trees and tracing the words over and over. Sometimes I try even try to make the words themselves into a tree. The simplicity of the picture-the restfulness of the water, of a tree that doesn't go anywhere, isn't dashing after better water or a different kind of water-endlessly sustains me.

The Tree hearkens to the True Vine. The True Vine, Jesus, is the perfectly righteous man. He never walked in the council of the wicked, slowing to stand around and discover the allure of the way of the sinners, finally sitting to scoff. He was never moved. He was always righteous, always perfect. The True Vine is strong, eternal, changeless, planted.

And life connected to the True Vine is sure, planted, sustained, not hustling here are there, distracted by every small thing. Sometimes, by the end of the day, I am thirsty. I haven't stopped to drink water all through the afternoon, and I haven't stopped to pray. I have run after too many things and sin and wickedness have crept in. Sometimes, in my thirst, I drink the wrong thing-irritation, impatience, dissatisfaction. But because I am found in Jesus, because he is the source of my life, even though I may always be trying to run away or move too much, Jesus himself keeps me planted. He has fixed me to himself. He helps me to stand upright, sure, faithful, rooted, rested. In this small daily moment by moment work, Jesus blows the chaff out of me. He helps me to stand under his judgment, rooting out wickedness and sin, bringing me into the congregation of the righteous.

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