He Shall Be Like a Tree Planted By the Rivers Of Water

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2 KINGS 22:3-23:30 | ACTS 21:37-22:16 | PSALM 1:1-6 | PROVERBS 18:11-12

Josiah, king of Judah, wishes to make things right after all these generations of the people turning away from the Lord.  He begins the repair of the temple.  Furthermore, he sends emissaries to a prophet—a woman this time—as was the custom of the day, to inquire about the future that the Lord has in plan for his people. 

And through this prophet, the word of the Lord is this:  19 Because your heart was responsive and you humbled yourself before the LORD when you heard what I have spoken against this place and its people—that they would become a curseand be laid waste—and because you tore your robes and wept in my presence, I also have heard you, declares the LORD. 20 Therefore I will gather you to your ancestors, and you will be buried in peace. Your eyes will not see all the disaster I am going to bring on this place.’”

And so, Josiah goes about the business of cleaning house.  The text tells us this: 3 The king stood by the pillar and renewed the covenant in the presence of the LORD—to follow the LORD and keep his commands, statutes and decrees with all his heart and all his soul, thus confirming the words of the covenant written in this book. Then all the people pledged themselves to the covenant.

In this way, Josiah does what he can to undo the wrongs of his ancestors, but after a long reign, it is unfortunate that he is killed in battle by the king of Egypt.  Upon his death, Josiah’s son Jehoahaz is appointed the new king of Judah.

Turning next to our reading in the book of Acts, we find that Paul has been arrested by a Roman command, and as he is about to be led away, he asks for permission to address the crowd.  It is, after all, on charges of blasphemy that the crowds have been incited to turn violent toward him.  The devout Jews among them believe that he is preaching a falsehood in claiming that the Messiah has come and gone in the persona of Jesus Christ. 

But Paul is here to address them by way of this public speech in which he establishes his credentials as a Jewish scholar who has learned the scriptures at the feet of a renowned teacher, and at this hour, he offers a testimony of the strange and unusual way in which the truth of the Gospel was revealed to him. 

Paul recounts his epiphany on the road to Damascus and lays out his case for himself. 

Finally, he ends with these words: ‘The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from his mouth. 15 You will be his witness to all people of what you have seen and heard. 16 And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.’

Turning now to our reading in the book of Psalms, we find the very first psalm that is yet another one that I have had committed to memory since childhood, thanks to my mother.  I reproduce it in its entirety in the well-known King James version because that is the one that I learned:

1Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.  

 2But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

 3And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

 4The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.

 5Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

 6For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

Finally, one last verse from the book of Proverbs from Solomon, the wise poet-king of Israel:

12 Before a downfall the heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor.

Finally, a verse from the Book of Proverbs that reminds us of importance of humility:

12 Before a downfall the heart is haughty,
but humility comes before honor.

6 thoughts on “He Shall Be Like a Tree Planted By the Rivers Of Water

  1. I always enjoy when this is part of your devotional: “…we find the very first psalm that is yet another one that I have had committed to memory since childhood, thanks to my mother. I reproduce it in its entirety in the well-known King James version because that is the one that I learned” It is so interesting to see the personal connections to parts of scripture and to see how they stay with us through the years. Thanks for sharing!

          1. It’s the first of those two canticles I mention above, the words Mary speaks in response to Elizabeth’s greeting. It uses a lot of imagery from the Hebrew prophets, especially Isaiah. The first word of the canticle in the Greek in which Luke was written is “megalunei” or “it magnifies” as in “My soul magnifies the Lord.” When the church was shifting from Greek to Latin the word “magnificat” was used to translate that verb and it also became the nickname for this particular passage.

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