Growing By the Stream

But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. 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.
Psalm 1:2-3 ESV

Having spent most of my career working on trees, I learned that the American Sycamore is the largest deciduous tree in North America. Though its wood is not very good for furniture or firewood, its multi-colored peeling bark and beautiful open branches make it a tree that people love. One of the other amazing things about the sycamore is its choice of habitat. In regions that are heavily forested, you may travel for miles without spotting a single one. But when you come to the riverbank, you will find hundreds. That is because God has built into its DNA the desire to send its roots out along the edge of the rushing waters and deep into the soil around that stream.

Photo by JMarc Sire on

In today’s verse, David paints us a picture of a person, who by meditating on God’s word can be like just that Sycamore. He chooses to live, not just in the same general area as the stream, but right on the edge. This is not just a, “I’ll stop by on Sunday for a sip or two.” lifestyle. This is a, “When I wake in the morning, the first thing I need is to hear is God’s voice.” relationship. The sycamore grows to be the largest by its daily dependence on the river. Secondly, the sycamore grows in such a way that it never withers. Even when the surrounding countryside is decimated by drought it just keeps growing and, “Its leaf also does not wither.” We need this kind of fellowship with Jesus when we are going through tough times. Without being daily immersed in God’s promises, we may hold on to being a Christian, but lose the fruitfulness and the joy. We need the kind of fruitfulness that doesn’t stop even during times of war, earthquakes or political upheaval. It doesn’t stop, because its source flows from the throne of God in Heaven! Last of all, God promises that anyone who remains rooted and meditating on His word, will prosper. This doesn’t mean money in the bank, safety in disasters or acclaim by others. This prosperity is the ability to do everything that God calls us to do today. Has God asked you to bake a cake for your neighbor, fix your grandmother’s car or visit a friend in the jail? He will help the cake to rise, give the ability to change the brakes and at the check in window at the prison, give favor with the guards. God does this, without any special performance on our part, because His blessing comes by grace that flows from Calvary. He asks us to be like that tree by fully trusting in Jesus Christ, not just for salvation but for everything in life. Then we can grow by the banks of the river of His word and remain delightedly rooted forever in Him!

6 thoughts on “Growing By the Stream

  1. That is quite a contrast to our swamp loving tree, the tamarack, which sends it’s roots out into the water but does not go deep. We had a whole area of tamarack die when the water level dropped for a little too long and the swamp dried up. My father called them “trees with a lazy root system”. The ones that survived were the older trees which had experienced shorter periods of drought and had developed some deeper roots. Quite a lesson.

    • Oh they are rare in the northeast but I have seen them. One of our crews got in trouble cutting down the “dead pine” on one customer’s property. It wad one of those strange needle dropping tamaracks!

  2. Love the definition of prosperity you shared: the ability to do everything that God calls us to do today. Yes indeed, we can take great satisfaction in that ability! Thank you, Pastor Pete!

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