As we continue to search out this benediction, we see the three stages of a man’s downward descent. First the man walks, then the man stands, and finally the man sits. One who begins to walk in the counsel of the ungodly will likely stand in the path of sinners, and finally sit in the seat of the scornful.
We are obliged by the word of God to flee from the counsel of the ungodly and thus end the cycle before it begins.
As the Psalm continues, we also come to see that it’s not enough to keep from evil, but our heart must be given over to good.
There are men in this world who are not necessarily evil. These are men who don’t murder, who don’t cheat, who don’t do any of the things we associate with evil men, but their delight is not in the law of the Lord, and they do not meditate in His law day and night.
It is not enough for us to consider ourselves good people, moral people, spiritual people; we must delight in the Lord, and desire more of Him in our lives, and perpetually so.
If we delight in the selfsame things after coming to Christ than we did before coming to Him, we must diligently search our hearts because something just isn’t right.
When we come to the saving knowledge of truth, when we come to the saving knowledge of Christ, we begin to delight in Him rather than the things we once delighted in.
The Word of the Lord and the law of the Lord become our delight, and we meditate upon them because we know they are the only path to true joy, true fulfillment, and true peace.
What do you delight in? That is a question only you can answer. If you delight in the word of the Lord, then you delight in righteousness and truth. If you delight in the fleeting, passing pleasures of the world, then you delight in the temporal.
We cannot belong to God and delight in the things of the world, just as those of the world do not delight in the law of the Lord.
What you delight in today will set the course for your tomorrow.
What are the benefits of one who is blessed? What are the benefits of one who not only keeps himself from evil but delights in the law of the Lord?
The first benefit is that he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season.
So what’s so great about being like a tree planted by the rivers of water?
The number one reason a tree becomes fruitless, withers, and dies is lack of water. When the roots of a tree have no water source, when the roots of a tree go deep into the ground but find no water there, the tree itself begins to wither and eventually, inevitably die.
Even though the root of a tree is invisible, it is the most important aspect of the tree itself. It is the root of a tree that allows nutrients to flow to the branches, and if the roots are deep and planted by the rivers of water, the fruit the tree produces will be plentiful indeed.
The roots determine the strength of a tree. If a branch withers there is still a chance that the tree itself will survive. If the root withers there is no chance of survival for the tree is essentially dead.
When we flee the appearance of evil and delight in the Lord, we never run the risk of withering and dying. God promises to plant us by the rivers of water wherein we will always have an abundance of the living waters of life which cause us to grow and be fruitful.
Not only does God promise that we will be like trees planted by the water, we will also bring forth fruit in due season. Being fruitful is a necessity for every child of God. Because our roots are deeply tethered in truth, because the living waters nourish us, we are fruitful in the things of God, and our fruit is readily visible by all who would look upon us.
Even though some refuse to acknowledge it, there is an underlying reciprocity throughout the word of God, and we see God Himself using the word ‘if’ often. Since we know God to be meticulous in the wording He chooses, since we know that nothing superfluous with God, since we know that He means what He says and He says what He means, when God says He will plant us by rivers of water if we do not walk in the counsel of the ungodly, we realize we have a role to play in this. It is incumbent upon us to choose light over darkness, truth over deception, the God of heaven over the god of this world, and in so doing we will be blessed of Him, and kept by Him, and victorious through Him.
One last blessing for those who guard their hearts, flee from evil, and delight in the law of the Lord is that they will prosper in whatever they do.
So many things we attribute to our own ingenuity, our own abilities and our own intellect really have nothing to do with us. Sure, we might endeavor and try and strive, but if God is not in it and if God doesn’t bless it, we are essentially tilting at windmills and trying to push a boulder up a hill all at the same time.
When God blesses the work of our hands, when God blesses what we do, even the most difficult tasks become easy and trouble free. When God’s hand of blessing is not upon our labors, we will work ten times as hard and have half the reward, because when God isn’t in it, we earn our daily bread by the sweat of our brow, and do so the hard way.
The promises of God are as valid today as they were when the psalmist penned this psalm. God has not changed, therefore His promises for His children have not changed either.
The benefits of turning our back on evil and finding our delight in the Lord are incalculable. Not only will we know that God stands with us, protects us, and blesses the works of our hands, we will likewise know that we are fruitful in the things of God because we are planted by the living waters of the gospel.
The Word of God is clear, and there is no room for doubt or interpretation as to whether or not we should break ties with sin and with the things of this world, which do nothing to mature us and grow us in the Lord. Anyone who still questions whether or not God demands repentance, righteousness, and holiness does so either because they haven’t read the Bible, or because they are willfully ignorant and are pretending as though they did not understand or perceive even though the truth was made evident to them.
Whether we are as a tree planted by rivers of living water, or a tree planted in the desert is something dependent upon whether or not we heed the warnings of God, and guard our hearts against evil in its many forms.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.