*Since we are studying each Psalm completely, I included a link so you can read the entire passage without it being pasted in the post. Some of them are quite lengthy.*
In reading E. Stanley Jones’ The Unshakable Kingdom and the Unchanging Person he explains a concept that until the day I read it, never even crossed my mind. We tend to look at a sin as something that simply we aren’t supposed to do because God said so. It displeases Him. It makes Him sad. It makes Him mad. It draws us away from our relationship with Him. There’s a ton of ways it has been said and explained. But has anyone ever asked the question why? Why does it make God feel all these things? Why does it make us feel all these things? Jones explains that sin is self abuse. Sin works against the very nature for which we were created. Sinning is like using a screwdriver to hammer a nail. You might get the job done but you risk injury, breaking the tools, and most likely you won’t accomplish the task the way it needs to be done right. Yet we keep on doing it.
Then, we have the audacity to get mad at God because He didn’t help us, we don’t feel His presence, or He seemingly set us up for failure. All the while He is standing there holding out a hammer for us to use, but we had to do it our way. When we discover that our way doesn’t work, we blame everything and everyone else and refuse to accept responsibility.
One of the things I love about the bible is that it gives us everything we need to live a blessed and prosperous life. God has preserved for us a user manual for this experience called life. Yet, how often do we pick it up for direction? Even worse is our lack of application to what we read and learn in order to experience the truth it offers. Psalm 1 is said to be anonymous, we don’t know who actually penned the words. But if we look at Joshua 1, we see the next generation of Israel getting ready to claim the promised land. God is speaking to Joshua and charging him with moving forward after Moses died and in verses 8-9 we read:
This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.
This was God’s encouragement as young Joshua was getting ready to lead an entire nation to battle to conquer the land that was designed for them to have. If you read on through the campaigns, you will see that every time Joshua held true to this charge (and every time he didn’t) God was with them all and they prospered in their ventures.
We can see how easily this line of thought could be misconceived into a “prosperity gospel” way of thinking. We tend to take this kind of encouragement and read our bible every morning so that we can go out and make more money, drive a fancy car, and more. The truth is, however, if we really stick to God’s Word, meditate on it, and keep it at the forefront of our minds, we won’t care about money and “stuff”. We will be focused on God’s will for our lives. We will hear His voice throughout the day. We will be obedient to what He tells us to do and therefore be prosperous in it because we will be doing what God has already blessed! If we honestly live within God’s will then we don’t have to wonder if He will show up or if it will go well. We can trust in this same promise He gave Joshua.
We will be alike a tree firmly planted by streams of water, yielding fruit in its season, and prosper in whatever we do.
Take note that the fruits of our labor come in seasons. We won’t always have fruit to show for our work. We must be patient and trust in the Lord. If we are certain that we are doing what He wants us to do, then we need not worry but have faith that when the time is right, the tree will bear fruit. We shouldn’t be worrying about the fruit anyway, because it is for God’s glory, not ours. How much pride does a farmer take in his crop? Maybe he put a lot of work and money into it, but it is God who causes it to grow. So don’t even worry about the fruit, but trust in the Lord, delight in His law (that is, the law of love), and meditate on His Truth day and night. In this way, a marvelous fruit will sprout from you that you didn’t even know was possible.