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Arbor Day Special: The Only Type of Tree I Ever Want to Be

Hidden Nuggets Series #85 – “…he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water…” – Psalm 1:3

tree by waterI can’t imagine a world without trees. Years ago we planted two (#ArborDay) in our front yard so our kids could eventually climb them. Mostly I love the spring when trees come budding back to life. It’s a beautiful scene when your winter world goes from browns to greens in the span of a couple weeks.

Of course trees have been around forever and figured prominently in some Bible passages. They served as places of refuge and places of worship. They marked territory or direction and provided fruits of all kinds.

Absalom’s long hair got him caught in one, Solomon used them to build his magnificent temple and the vertically challenged Zacchaeus climbed one in order to see Jesus.

There are all kinds of trees listed in the Bible from terebinth to tamarisk trees, to poplar, almond, chestnut, palm, cedar, olive, fig, pomegranate, mulberry, cypress, sycamore, fir, apple, and oak.

And of course the two most famous trees planted in the Garden of Eden – the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

Of them all though, I want to be the tree mentioned in Psalm 1:3. This one is fascinating because it describes the life I, and I think most people want to lead.

The author uses a simile to compare a certain type of man to a tree. He writes:

“He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water,

That brings forth its fruit in its season,

Whose leaf also shall not wither;

And whatever he does shall prosper.”

The Ultimate Picture of a Healthy Tree

I love the imagery associated with this tree. If your mind’s eye can’t you just picture it? A grassy meadow blowing in the wind, bordered on one side by a river. And near the water’s edge stands a giant, perfectly shaped tree.

It’s solid. Unmoving. Growing. Healthy.

People seek out its shade for comfort from the heat of the day. Birds flock to it. People and animals alike share in the abundance of fruit it produces.

There are no chinks in its bark. Its branches are strong. It can withstand the heat of the day and the strong winds that blow across the meadow.

Of course the tree is like this because it has a nearby source of nourishment on which to draw. Each day it’s roots suck up the life giving water from the nearby river and channel it upward. Its system is continually fed with good things – in fact the very thing it needs to thrive.

So what type of man would be like this tree? After all it was a description of prior information mentioned in the verses above as the “He shall be like…” phrase implies.

How to Be Like This Tree

If this tree sounds like one you want to become there is good news – a simple formula will get you there. The formula is found in the prior two verses. They read:

“Blessed is the man

Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,

Nor stands in the path of sinners,

Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;

But his delight is in the law of the Lord,

And in His law he meditates day and night.

He shall be like a tree…”

As you can see the formula to become a sturdy, growing and prosperous man/woman-tree contains three don’ts and two dos.

  1. Don’t take unwise and immoral advice
  2. Don’t walk with evildoers
  3. Don’t get comfy with mockers


  1. Do take pleasure in the words of God and…
  2. Do dwell on them every day.

The person who will commit to this formula will be like that tree by the river.

The winds may blow really hard and the heat may come.

There might even be a fire to endure.

But the words of God you are soaking in every day will sustain you. They will cause you to grow and be prosperous.

You’ll be able to stand and not wither.

And your vibrant life will be a blessing to others.

That’s the type of tree I want to be.

Questions: What has caused you to grow the most in your life? How difficult do you find it to avoid the “Don’t” listed above? For those who read the Bible daily, how have you seen it impact your life?

Original image by ehpien at Flickr Creative Commons

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  1. Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank says

    Brian, I want to be that tree someday! If we only hold onto God’s words and live by it, we could live this life with much positivism and resist every temptation this world throws at us.

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