Fighting for Delight
Scripture: Psalm 1 NIV
Special Music: “Psalm 1” by Liturgical Folk
Take It Further: “Raw Jewels” by Ross Wilbanks
One of the most exciting ways the Holy Spirit moves with me is through the living Word: the woven, multifaceted contexts like raw jewels in sunlight.
This week has been about fruit and in Psalm 1, there it sits, right in the middle:
…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.
The lines struck me during the sermon. I had visualized this before. The imagery comes from Jeremiah:
…like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
The footnotes will tell you that these passages are related but read closely, the voice of the psalmist is one of calming law. A prosperity under the sound foundation. Jeremiah’s tree is under heat yet remains green and continues to bear fruit. The author offers no prosperity. Whatever is will remain. If the Psalms offer a glorious extension of what God laid out in the Torah, Jeremiah’s fruit is trusting, making do during a long drought.
My daughter begins her Sunday School class by learning about the “fruits of the spirit.” I realized that fruit is mentioned in our Facebook Live slow read through the Book of Philippians:
“…filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”
The “fruit of righteousness” has an origin in a frightening passage in Amos 6:
“But you have turned justice into poison
and the fruit of righteousness into wormwood”
What a fantastic transformation! The fruit of righteousness is used in Amos as a single bright light in a darkening sky. Now Paul uses it as a rich point of reference for the new faith in the resurrection of Jesus.
My daughter writes out her diagram for each of the nine fruits of the Spirit. She turns to the biblical passage in Galatians:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
I have a hard time explaining such a beautiful, compact passage, summing up lifetimes of work in just a handful of words. I tell her that some lines in the Bible are like suitcases that take time to unpack. For now, I say, let’s focus on memorizing the nine fruits.
It’s good to stop here, but I can’t. There’s one more mention of fruit in this week’s reading. Back to Philippians 1:
“If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell.”
Paul is expressing a yearning to be with Christ but realizes his mission is to live, working, “in the flesh.” The line that loops around my head is “Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell.” I take that statement as a joy being truly obedient. I yearn for that. One of the gifts in my journey is these connective living words, step by step.
We’d love to hear from you. Please share with us below your thoughts and insight. We would love to see Take it Further be a place where as a community we dialog, and together we all take the conversation further.
*Note: If you wish, you can look up this and other Bible passages online at youversion.com
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