By Jean Metcalf
“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 planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf does not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.” Shall means (absolutely, positively, beyond a shadow of a doubt). (Psalm 1)
The Amplified expounds on it this way:
“Blessed is the man who walks and lives not in the counsel of the ungodly (following their advice, their plans, their purposes), nor stands (submissive and inactive) in the path where sinners walk (in other words-just hangs out), nor sits down (to relax and rest) where the scornful and mockers gather (saying things they shouldn’t –‘foolish talk or coarse joking.’—Eph 5:4 NIV). BUT (in complete contrast,– on the other hand,— totally opposite) his delight and desire are in the law of the Lord, and on His law (in the Word) he habitually meditates (ponders and studies) –thinks about, chews on, murmurs) day and night.” In other words- instead of walking, hanging out and keeping company with the world —we are admonished to worship and hang out with God as our way of life, 24/7.
In this passage, an analogy is used of people (believers) as trees planted by the rivers of living water. Mark 8:24 says, “I see men like trees walking…” (In the Bible, ‘Water’ is quite often a type of the Holy Spirit-as it is here). These rivers flow down from the throne of God. (Rev 22:1) This kind of water is constantly flowing. This is where we are refreshed, nourished, and we can grow our roots deep in the foundation of who we are. The Word of God is our foundation. Jesus is the Word. He is the foundation of who we are. —- These waters are not stagnant like the Dead Sea in Israel where there is NO outlet.
We get that nourishment, (that refreshing) by daily spending time in the Presence of God, worshiping Him, reading the Word, speaking the Word, praying His exceedingly great and precious promises (2 Pet 1:4).
Another way we get fed is by being planted in a church and partners with a ministry that praises God and preaches the Word– where people are getting (1) saved, (2) growing in God, and (3) where we learn to worship corporately so that we can encourage each other in our daily lives.
Psalm 92:12-14 says “The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree…… Those who are planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall (absolutely) still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing. “ So, you need to belong to a church and be partners with a ministry and be a part of a body of believers where you are nourished so you can flourish! In other words, BLOOM WHERE YOU ARE PLANTED!
I. WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE ‘PLANTED’?
Webster defines ‘planted’ as 1) to put in the ground for growth. 2) To set or sow with seeds. 3) To establish or settle.
You are planted into the kingdom of God when you (1) believe Jesus Christ is God’s Son, (2) when you turn from your sinful ways, and (3) ask Him to be your Savior and Lord of your life. Your Master. Your guide. Your Shepherd.
When you are planted, and you learn and grow in the knowledge of God and His Word, you begin to sprout roots. Ephesians 3:12 says that as you mature, you get ‘rooted and grounded in love’. The, ‘root of the righteous yields fruit.’ (Proverbs 12:12) (NKJV)
It says in the last part of the verse in Isaiah 61:3, “that they shall be called oaks of righteousness (lofty, strong and magnificent), the planting of the LORD, –Why? that He may be glorified.”
The Amplified version says in Jeremiah 17:7,8, “Most blessed is the man who believes in, trusts in, and relies on the LORD, and whose hope and confidence the LORD is. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters that spread out its roots by the river; and it shall not see and fear when heat comes; BUT (in complete contrast) its leaf shall be green. It shall not be anxious and full of care in the year of drought, nor shall it cease yielding fruit.”
The definition of ‘ root’ is, “an organ of absorption and food storage as a means of anchorage and support.” Colossians 2:7 says that we are to be “rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith…” Our root system is where the Word of God is stored up so that we can be an anchor and support to those who are around us, and those we are connected to, so we can speak a word to them “in due season”. (Is 50:4) Your words make a difference, whether for good or bad, not only in your life, but in those around you. Your family, your friends, your workplace. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” (Prov 18:21)
The King James version says in the last part of the verse of James 1:21– “receive with meekness the engrafted Word, which is able to save your souls.” Meekness is the idea of being “teachable”. In other words, not being full of pride and thinking it’s all about you. I like to say, “It’s not about me. It’s about Thee, and we and setting the captives free!” Engrafted comes from the Greek word “emphutos” (e-m-p-h-u-t-o-s) which means ‘inborn, innate.’ The explanation in the Dake Bible says “It is by the Word of Truth inborn and implanted in the soul that one is saved. The Word is called the Seed (I Pet 1:23, I Jn 3:9). When the Word is “implanted”, it germinates and springs forth into eternal life.” Dake goes on to say that, “only the seed that fails to be sown on properly prepared soil, will fail to bring forth fruit.” (end quote) A seed NOT sown can never be grown.
In order for good seed to be sown, we must:
Yank out the roots of bitterness. Hebrews 12:15 in the Amplified encourages us to be secure in God’s grace so that “no root of resentment should shoot forth or (spring up like a weed) and cause trouble and bitter torment…’ Don’t allow your tree to sit in bitter waters. In other words, GET THE JUNK OUT OF THE TRUNK!”
With the JUNK out— your roots are allowed to grow deep and spread under healthy dirt. BUT- It is imperative that you be listening to those who are of the same stream that you are. There are many voices out there—even Christian! Be wise who you pay attention to and follow. Matthew 7:20 tells us, “By their fruits you will know them..”
Right now, the root systems that surround your tree, whether good or not so good, they mingle and intertwine with your roots. You are connected to them. So, again, be aware who you are connected to, so that the result is strength that brings honor and glory to God.
We’ve heard about being planted, NOW…
II. What Does it Mean to be Potted?
Being potted is the idea of staying in your own clay pot and being isolated from other believers—NOT having relationships, friends–NOT being connected. You can go to church and still be isolated in your own pot. There are many ways to get involved. Life Groups are really important.
Today, many Christians are not going to church anymore. They think they don’t need to be together with other believers—(those who are of the ‘same spirit of faith.’) They feel they can watch preachers on TV or the internet, read the Bible and that’s enough. But, they don’t understand. The Bible tells us in Hebrews 10:24,25 in the Amplified, “So, let us seize and hold fast and retain without wavering the hope we cherish and confess —for He Who promised is faithful, reliable, sure to His Word. AND let us consider and give attentive, continuous care to watching over one another, –in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking or neglecting to assemble together…BUT (in complete contrast) admonishing, warning, encouraging one another, all the more faithfully as you see the Day approaching.” (The Day refers to when Jesus will return.)
Isolated means ‘to set apart’, ‘occurring alone’, to be disconnected.
Isolation is a strategy of the devil. If he can get God’s people isolated, he can delude them into destruction. The enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy. (Jn 10:10)
There are basically two kinds of clay pots. One has healthy dirt, a green plant and bears some fruit. The second pot is just DIRT. That pot has no clue of who Jesus is because it hasn’t been taught.
A couple weeks ago, our Pastor was talking about Judges 18 where a tribe of Israel is spying on an enemy to see if it was safe to go and conquer them. The spies found out that the Sidonians had no ruler. Verse 7 says, “they had no ties with anyone.” Verse 27 tells us that because they had no leader, ”they struck them with the edge of the sword and burned the city with fire. There was no deliverer for the city of Sidon because they had “no ties with anyone.”
People are isolated for many reasons. Maybe they are so stressed from work, in bondage from life’s challenges and disappointments, and they are too tired mentally and physically. Well, that’s when they need to be with other believers. Or maybe they are too insecure to go alone. Or maybe health reasons. Or whatever their situation might be. That’s when they need friends BEFORE they get in that position.
Holly Wagner wrote a book called “God Chicks”. I’d like to read about what she said on this subject: (read pg 93..)
People who love you are essential to you. You need to have them speaking into your life. You can’t have this occur when you are disconnected. Being isolated is unwise and unsafe. Isolation makes you vulnerable to the enemy.
You may have good soil (the Word of God), be watered some and bear some fruit. But if you continue in this isolated pot and are growing, you will eventually get root-bound.
Root-bound means ‘having roots so densely matted as to allow little or no space for further growth.’ (Webster) Now that’s a visual!
Hebrews 12:1 in the NIV reminds us to “throw off everything that hinders AND the sin that so easily entangles …..”
OK. Now what?
How does the believer in the container break out of his clay pot?
First of all, it says in Hosea 10:12, “Sow for yourselves righteousness, Reap in mercy, break up your uncultivated (fallow) ground, for it is time to seek the LORD…”
Cultivate means “to promote or improve the growth of…by labor and attention.”
So, UNCULTIVATED ground means hard, dried up, unable to soak in water or receive seed.
You break up the stubborn dirt by being watered by the Holy Spirit. “Refreshing times come from the presence of the Lord.” (Acts 3:19) It’s all about worship. When we are quiet before the Lord and listening, we are rejuvenated.
In other words, the hardness of our hearts need to be broken up and moist from the living water, so that we can receive the Seed of the Word of God and therefore be nourished and grow.
Then when your dirt is plowed up and ready to receive, ASK God to be transplanted to the rivers of living water.
To be transplanted means “to be lifted out and reset in another soil.” Luke 17:5, 6 is where the apostles are asking Jesus to increase their faith. In verse 6 the Lord says, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea, and it would obey you.’”
Speak to yourself—your tree. It’s only your voice that has that you will listen to ultimately. So have the faith to crack the pot you are in and be lifted out, pulled up and transplanted to the rivers of living water. Does this sound like a good plan?
Because….Where the Holy Spirit is NOT present, there is NO moisture… let alone rushing waters. BUT when you are full of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God, out of your innermost being flow rivers of living water. (Jn 7:38)
Ezekial 47 talks about water (they Holy Spirit) flowing from threshold of the Temple. Today, our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit when we have asked Jesus to be Lord of our lives. So, the Holy Spirit should flow out of our temples (our bodies)—out of our mouths. In other words, speaking the WORD. Ezekial said the water first came up to his ankles, then to his knees, next to his waist and then the waters were so high, he had to swim in them! Wow! What a visual!
Turn in your Bibles to Isaiah 43:18-20 You have got to see this! —(verse 16 tells us who’s is talking, “Thus says the LORD”—L-0-R-D all caps means “Eternal Father of relationship and covenant) -vs 18- “ Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth: shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert….” So when you are going through the dry areas of your life wondering where God is, remember this promise. He WILL bring the Holy Spirit to your desert– IF you ask and IF you seek Him.
Isaiah 41:17-19 (NLT) “When the poor and needy search for water and there is none, and their tongues are parched from thirst, then, I, the LORD, will answer them. I, the God of Israel, will never abandon them. I will open up rivers for them on high plateaus. I will give them fountains of water in the valleys. (I’m done with the valleys. How about you? ) “ I will fill the desert with pools of water. Rivers fed by springs will flow across the parched ground. I will plant trees in the barren desert—cedar, acacia, myrtle, olive, cypress, fir and pine.” Wow! Another promise. These verses apply to us believers today, because of the faith of Abraham in Romans 4. We have been grafted into the Vine, which is Jesus Christ, by what He did on the Cross—His TREE.
III. BEARING FRUIT
So now that we are planted by the rivers of living water, then what? What is our purpose? Our purpose is to bear fruit—Galatians 5:22 talks about the fruits of the Spirit -love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. There is so much to say about each one. I will mention a little bit about them. You could go into an in depth study about each one.
In getting ready for this message, I was looking over what I had written, and I thought, “Oh my gosh, there is SO much Word and not enough stories and you all would be bored!” Are you bored? Let me tell you why I go into such depth. I grew up in a Christian home where we always went to church—Sunday morning, Sunday evening and Wednesday nights. The Bible has been my life! I love it! I can’t get enough. I took Bible classes when I went to a college. Eleven years ago, I went to two year a Bible class called Never Ending Word Studies. I learned how to search the Scriptures, categorize subjects and put them together. For the last ten years, I have been in a Bible school that meets once a week and very in depth teaching.
Oh yes. I also have a business with my husband that keeps me very occupied. I do many things. There is never a dull moment! I wear many hats and I have a full life. I love it!
OK. Where were we? Oh yes, bearing Fruit.
About six months ago, I was up in the night, walking and praying in the kitchen, when all of a sudden, I got a download on a ton of verses about love. I couldn’t write them down fast enough!
Walk in love. Put on love. God is love. Jesus said, ‘Abide in My love.’ The greatest of these is love. We love because He first loved us. So ought we to love one another. Faith works by love. Love does not seek its own way. Perfect love casts out all fear. And so on….
Joy is different than happiness. Being happy is from circumstances. But joy is experiencing deep contentment. Here are some scripture on joy:
Ps 16:11 “In Your presence is fullness of joy”. Ps 30:5-“Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning.” Ps 126:5-“They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. “ Isaiah 12:3-“Therefore with joy shall you draw water out of the wells of salvation.” I Pet 1:8 tells us that “There is joy unspeakable and full of glory.” I’m ready for that, how about you?
Rom 14:7 the kingdom of God is “righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” 2 Cor 13:11-the Apostle Paul is telling the brethren to “Be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.” James 3:18 “Now the fruit of righteousness (which is another fruit) is sown in peace by those who make peace.
Peace is described as “freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions.
Right now I’d like you to close your eyes and let all your problems, disappointments, hurts and fears flow down the river. Let them go. Let the Holy Spirit heal your heart.
Another fruit is longsuffering. It means, “endured offense”. Wow! Think about it. Patience is a virtue, but longsuffering is SO much more! —- Ephesians 4 tells us to “ walk worthy of the calling with which you are called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love.” In other words, when you are walking in what God has called you to do, there WILL be offense that will try to distract you. You can count on it! But, we are to respond in love; walk in love. Col 3:12- “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, and longsuffering…” So, when you are offended and hurt by what someone said to you or did to you or did NOT do, just remember they are hurting. Forgive them so there will be NO hindrance –no offense. Pr 19:11 says “A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.”
Right now, think of who has offended you. Make a decision to forgive them.
Proverbs 2:20 So you may walk in the way of goodness and keep to the paths of righteousness. (NKJV)
In Romans 11, Paul is talking about Israel ( the wild olive tree) whose branches were cut off for disobedience. Verse 21, “For if God did not spare the natural branches (Israel), He may not spare you either. Therefore, consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell severity; but toward you goodness , —-IF– (that’s a condition) you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off.” Wow! That’s intense! Bottom line is it’s all about choices—decisions—daily decisions. I heard a preacher say that “it’s not about destiny. It’s about daily decisions.” Your daily decisions create your destiny– because destiny is a process of daily decisions. Thank God for His goodness! Thank God for His mercy, too!
Regarding faithfulness, Psalm 101:6 God says, “My eyes shall be on the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with Me….” It’s so important to stay faithful to God. There is much to say about this fruit, I encourage you to look up faithfulness in the concordance of your Bible and study it.
A couple verses of scripture on gentleness: Phil 4:5 says, “ Let your gentleness be known to all men…” One more—I Tim 6:11 (I’ll put this one in the feminine gender) “But you, O woman of God,….pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience and gentleness.”
Now that’s an interesting concept in today’s world! 2 Peter 1:6 talks about that one.—“add to your knowledge, self-control .” Discipline goes along with that. I love the NLT of Proverbs 12:1. “To learn, you must love DISCIPLINE, it’s stupid to hate correction.” Now that’s putting it bluntly! Proverbs 25:28 shows us that “A person without self-control is as defenseless as a city with broken down walls.”
It says in Leviticus 26:4 ”…the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.” Your fruit can be good and tasty OR can be rotten and fall to the ground. People will pick your fruit and taste and see… Taste your attitude and see if your fruit is good. Are you real? Any sour grapes? I’d like my fruit to be ripe, sweet and juicy. How about you?
Psalms 34:8 “Taste and see that the LORD is GOOD.” PS 119:103 “How sweet are Your Words to my taste.”
Inside the fruit are SEEDS. Someone said, “You can count the SEEDS in an apple, BUT you cannot count the apples in a SEED.” That’s something to think about!
Also, think of your root system. Who are you connected to? Are you planted or potted or not? Do you need to yank out the roots of bitterness and fear and be transplanted? Do you need to cut off the dead branches that are hindering your growth?
Job 14:7-9 says, “There is hope for a tree. If it is cut down, that it will sprout again, and that its tender shoots will not cease. Though its roots may grow old in the earth, and its stump may die in the ground, YET at the scent of water it will bud and bring forth branches…”
Jesus died on a Tree called Life. He is the Tree of Life (Jn 14:6) Genesis 3:24 talks about he Garden of Eden and when Eve and Adam sinned, they were kicked out of the Garden. “And God placed a flaming sword…to guard the…tree of life.” The fire is the Shekinah glory of His Presence. The sword is the WOG.” He died on that Tree so our trees could live.
The Bible IS the ROPE OF HOPE. To be founded and grounded in the Word of God is the best and most secure place to be! God is calling us to use our seeds of influence to tell others about the love of Jesus and how they can be set free from bondage. To help them be set free from the hard, dry soil of the world; to break out of their clay pots and be uprooted and transplanted to the rivers of living waters and grow healthy trees.
Isaiah 61:11 (NIV) “ For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign LORD will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations.”
Let’s go get soaked!