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  • Writer's pictureBetty Dodge

The Tree, The Chaff, The Prosperity (Psalm 1:3-4)

He 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. 4 The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. —Psalm 1:3-4

Continuing in our memorization of Psalm 1 this week, verses 3-4 restate verses 1-2 using figurative language. This is typical of Hebrew poetry and is meant to teach us well the contrasts of the blessed righteous man and the miserable wicked man. In verses 1-2 we learned that the blessed man finds his delight in meditating on God’s law (His infallible Word) day and night, but the wicked man counsels with lies, leads others in the path of sin, and scoffs at God (Psalm 1:1-2).

The Tree

There is more. The blessed man is like a tree that is chosen and purposefully planted on the banks of a stream. There it can be constantly fed all that it needs to flourish. What a powerful word picture God has given of a life rooted in Him, dependent upon Him, drinking up the living water of God’s Word, and bearing fruit that glorifies Him. The Master Gardener is tending to this tree and keeps it beautiful, providing all its needs. The blessed man has the wisdom of God’s Word coursing through his spiritual roots, up to the branches and leaves, bearing fruit in season—patience and perseverance in the season of suffering, faithfulness in a season of trials, joy in a season of persecution. He prospers in whatever he does because he belongs to God and is known by God. You may be asking what kind of prosperity is referred to in this passage. How sad it would be if this prosperity were earthly wealth and economic status, but as Charles Spurgeon notes, “God’s prosperity must be viewed through the eye of faith.” This is not referring to material, temporal prosperity, but eternal.

The Chaff

The wicked are not like the righteous. Instead of a deep-rooted, fruit-bearing tree, the wicked are like chaff that the wind drives away. After grain is harvested, the winnowing begins. Newly harvested grain is tossed into the air and because the chaff (consisting of hulls and pieces of straw) is lighter than the grain, the wind picks up the chaff and blows it away. The heavier grain is separated from the chaff and falls back to earth. It is the precious fruit of the harvest. The tree planted by streams of water flourishes and never dies, but the dry, lifeless chaff is carried away on the wind. The righteous will abide forever, but the wicked will perish (Psalm 1:6).

True Prosperity

God is generous. There is none like Him. His supply for our need is according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus! He is our true treasure and prosperity. And His life in us, His Word and Spirit working in us what is pleasing to Him, will bear good fruit through us.


For Reflection

Listed below, from the wealth of Scripture passages, are a few that reflect the riches of God’s love and grace poured out on us.

  1. "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him." (John 3:16-17)

  2. "He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?" (Romans 8:32)

  3. "If anyone loves God, he is known by God." (1 Corinthians 8:3)

  4. "For all the promises of God find their Yes in him." (2 Corinthians 1:20)

  5. "See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called the children of God; and so we are." (1 John 3:1)

  6. "Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." (Psalm 73:25-26)

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