Psalm 1:3-6 (ESV)
3He 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. 4The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
5Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
6for the LORD knows the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.
The Psalm contrasts the blessed human (singular) with the wicked who are many. The one blessed person is like the well watered and fruitful tree; the many wicked are like chaff blown in the wind. Chaff is seen as that which is worthless – of no value, serving no good purpose.
The person who spends time searching God’s word, studying and meditating on His precepts, is nurtured enough by God to be able to cope with life’s struggles. The Cross of Christ is the Tree of Life for us – that well watered and fruitful tree. If we think about what God has done in Christ on the Cross, we will find joy and peace even in the face of suffering and death. We will find prosperity, because we will know what is truly valuable in the world and we will not be deceived by the emptiness of worldly wealth, possessions, beauty, popularity – which as it turns out eventually do reveal themselves as chaff.
America is said to be a country which makes up the rules of its culture as it goes along. There is always a degree of uncertainty and instability here. It is hard for us to discern what is right and what is wrong because nothing stays the same; everything is relative, changing, so temporary. Perhaps this is so to help warn us not to cling to the things of this world. We seek beauty only to find styles and tastes keep changing. Ever changing notions of beauty (or at least so consumerism says) causes us to constantly buy more clothes and cosmetics to keep chasing the fleeting beauty of our bodies. But even beauty passes away. There is a lesson to pursue that which is lasting and permanent. Pursue the happiness which doesn’t change with age, with taste, with style: the happiness which comes from knowing God and living the peaceful and steadfast way of the Lord. The ungodly values will not last. They will pass away, and then what will we be left with? We’re in the 21st Century now – the values, the highs and the sins of the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s are past. They are perishing and could not give us the happiness and peace we want.
God has shown us and continues to show us the way to permanent and eternal values. God’s love is eternal; it never fails. His salvation enlivens the soul. Only in His incarnate Word will we find the life and happiness which never end.
See Psalm 1:1-2