Psalm 1:2-3 (NKJV)
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 also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.
There is this tree. It is in the middle of the parking lot right outside the windows of the gym. When I am using the leg press machine in between intervals – it is quite the eye catcher. It is big and full not limited by the small patch of grass and soil that sustains it. It has the same appearance of a tree that is in the midst of a grand forest or an open field but it is instead surrounded by asphalt and businesses yet it flourishes. In my musings, I hear the Word of God calling for my attention. “He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water…” Lord, it’s just a tree. Why should I be like a tree?
Psalm 139:14-16 (NKJV)
I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your Works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.
I was made on purpose. When God created us it was with a divine direction carefully written out and a plan that was firmly established. When the architects and builders came to create the shopping plaza there was nothing here but trees and bushes. When they began to mark the area for construction, someone tied a ribbon around the tree to be saved. The tree in the parking lot was established long before man came to develop his plan in this place. So they marked off an area and built around the tree. When we bought our house, the builder had decided that rather than work around the trees he leveled the property. Right before we moved in, they planted three trees in the back yard that died within a few months. When the trees were dug up, the root balls were still bound in sacks with nowhere to grow. When I was made in secret and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth (like a tree), God had a plan in mind for my life that cannot be interrupted or stopped by mankind unless I move from His Plan to pursue my own way. A tree does more work underground then what we see above it. We must strive to remain established in God’s Plan to not only survive but thrive. We must make it our goal in life to not be moved from a foundation of faith to any other place. If we are successful, we will be successful.
Matthew 7:24-27 (NKJV)
“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”
The tree in the parking lot has a good foundation. The space around it well-preserved it is higher than the asphalt all around it. While adding visual appeal, it also allows room for the root system to remain firmly in place. The foundation of our life is faith. We must have a good footing in that foundation to survive the storms of life. Prosperity is an outward expression of an inward working. Without faith it is impossible to please God! (Hebrews 11:6) Without the Plan of God working in our life, true prosperity will not happen. I am not talking about it like the cheap gospel beings sold among mega churches today. I am talking about prosperity as our soul prospers. (3 John 1:2) Just as filthy and unsightly as the soil around the roots of the tree was my sin until Jesus Christ died on a Cross made of wood. His Blood poured out so that I could not just survive but thrive in this place I have been planted. So forgive me if I offend you talking about a brutal death, bloody picture, and graphic repentance but without them I have no foundation to live past my mortal days to see My God in His Glory. Faith begins with Jesus Christ. It is established through salvation. There is only One Way – His Name is Jesus. It is in Him that I live, breath and move. I must move my entire life to this foundation! It is on this rock that my hope is found. A hope that will never lead to disappointment. (Romans 5:5)
John 7:37-39 (NKJV)
On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
Around the tree, hidden in the bushes surrounding it, is an underground sprinkler system that waters it. Each night there is a timer that turns on the automatic sprinkler system that sprays the tree and plants around it. Jesus said that if anyone thirsts to come to Him and that their heart would flow rivers of living water. We have a source that will never run dry. It doesn’t matter where we end up in this life, we can always count of the Lord to keep “living water” running through us. Some of the driest seasons in our life is in the midst of the greatest storms. We must learn to breathe in the Holy Spirit and drink in living water to survive no matter what happens in this life. Surely it was not ideal to have every other tree and plant removed from around it though it has no feelings, trees and plants are part of an ecosystem that is co-dependent to survive. We must become co-dependent on Jesus Christ to live through each season of life and prosper in it. We will not taste and see that the Lord is good until we develop an appetite for what Christ has to offer. (Psalm 34:8-10) Those who seek the Lord will lack no good thing. Maybe if you are lacking, thirsty, hungry or barely surviving, it is time to be like a tree and taste the Living Water that comes from a heart set on God!
Psalm 92:12-15 (NKJV)
The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those who are planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing, to declare that the Lord is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.
The tree in the parking lot made me really think about my place in this life. I know it may seem random to you but I want all of my life to be placed inside of my faith in Jesus Christ. Life doesn’t always turn out the way that we planned it. In most cases, it never turns out the way that we think it will. The only way to insure that we are strong and mighty oaks of righteousness is to plant our life in Jesus Christ. Every single root of our being must be grounded in Him in order to weather every storm. We may lose a few leaves in certain seasons and other times it may feel as if our fruit will never come, but those who remain rooted in the Love of God will prosper in every season because they are not dependent on the elements of this world but the river of living water flowing from their heart thanks to Jesus Christ. We have just come through a season where I find myself patting my life down in awe that we made it through not barely but thriving. Righteousness is not what we do but who we are in Jesus Christ. If we could just focus our time and energy in knowing Him more, loving Him more, and pursuing Him always – we would flourish no matter where we end up and be like a tree…just like that tree planted in the middle of a parking lot!
Colossians 2:6-7 (NKJV)
As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanks