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Guaranteed Fruitfulness Comes from the Word Alone

Guaranteed Fruitfulness Comes from the Word Alone

August 20, 2000 | Andrew Davis
Psalms 1:1-6
The Law of God, Warnings, The Word of God

The Way of the Righteous: Fruitful Submission to God’s Word

A Blessed Way

Please, if you would, take your Bibles and open this morning to Psalms Chapter 1. Today we're going to begin, excuse me, a new series, looking at some of the Psalms. We are not preaching through the whole Book of Psalms, that's 150 messages for somebody who can do one Psalm per message, that would not be me, especially with Psalm 119. [chuckle] But there is glory in the Psalms, and my purpose in this series is to intersperse those Psalms that discuss the written Word of God and its power on our lives, like Psalm 1, with those Psalms which openly proclaim the Living Word, Jesus Christ, like Psalm 2, which we'll look at next week. We're going to intersperse those. Those that talk about the written Word of God: its purity, its perfection, its power. And those that talk about the Living Word; the fulfillment of all that was written in the Old Testament. And so, that's our purpose in this series in Psalms. There’re many other things we could do with Psalms, we could look at prayer, we could look at confession, duties and responsibilities, and worship, many things, and perhaps in the future we will, but that's what we're doing here. And we're going to begin in a good place, and that is with Psalm 1.

Now, I think some of the most amazing things that God ever created... And I love God's creation, I am amazed by what He's made, but some of the most amazing aspects of his creation will be forever hidden from our eyes. We can't see them. Perhaps they're so small, they're at the atomic level, we'll never be able to see those, but then there are others that are physically large enough, they’re at the right scale to see, but they're hidden below the surface. For example, the roots of trees. Have you ever walked through a beautiful forest and looked at all, especially in the fall, looked at all the leaves, the reds and orange and golds, and just the beauty and thought, "Boy, I wonder what the root system is like that supports all that?" Probably not. But below each of those trees, there is an elaborate and amazingly well constructed root system which enables that beauty, which comes into your eyes and causes you to praise God if you're a Christian, enables that beauty to exist. The root system.

Now, you may not say very much about the root system, you may not think it's very important, until you become a homeowner in North Carolina, [chuckle] and there are trees right near your house, and you're not quite sure how good the root system is on those trees. You may have driven by and seen the effect of previous hurricanes. Have you ever seen those trees that are toppled over, and you can see the root system of those trees that were felled by the last great hurricane, and seen how inadequate it was? As a matter of fact, recently in a coastal area in New England, there was a major hurricane and some experts in forestry went through and they noticed something. They noticed that the elms, the birches, the spruces, and the hemlocks fell, but the oaks and the hickories and the walnuts did not fall. But what was the difference between the two? It was the nature of their root system. The first category: the elms, the birches, the spruces, the hemlocks, spread out on the surface, they move out this way, so that when the soaking rain comes in and loosens the soil, they're vulnerable to a high wind.

But then the oaks, the hickories, the walnuts have something called a tap root, which may go down as far as 50 or 75 feet into the ground. As a matter of fact, there's been a... There was a tree discovered in England which went down 360 feet, that's a 36-storey building down through the rock! Now, as the roots go down, what is it they're seeking? They're seeking nutrients, and they're seeking water, for the life of the tree depends on the success of the root system. And a tree that size, a regular sized tree may have 14 million separate roots and 14 billion separate little root hairs and the hair is where it all happens. There's an elaborate filtering that goes on at the hair level, which takes in just the right chemicals, not too much of one or too little of another, just the right amount of water, and the water is needed, because a big fully grown oak tree, for example, 200,000 leaves it has, on a hot summer day will evaporate 900 gallons of water. 900 gallons of water! And each drop of water which evaporates must be replenished, and it's replenished by the root system.

Now, as I said, you may not think much about roots until the day of testing comes, and when the day of testing comes, then the roots become very important. There may be a tree that looks glorious from the surface up, tall and lofty, but then the day of testing comes and it falls, and great is the crash of that tree, because it has no roots. And Jesus talked about this, you remember in the parable, The Seed and the Soils. There are different kinds of responses to the Word of God, and there is a type of response which Jesus characterizes by the stony soil, and the seed falls into that top soil just at the top, and it doesn't go very deep, and the root system is not developed, and Jesus says, “when the sun comes up, the plants are scorched, and they wither because they have no root.” (Matthew 13:6). And he explained it: “these are those that hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since there is no root, when persecution because of the word comes, they quickly fall away.” (Matthew 13:20-21). There is for all of us coming a time of testing.

Now, there are tests here on earth. We don't experience, for example, the test of persecution from our government or from our surrounding society, but there's no guarantee that that won't continue... That that will continue to be the case. We may be going very quickly away from being what's known as a Christian nation, and then you may be asked to choose between your material possessions or your job, or maybe even your family and your testimony of Jesus Christ. What will you do? Are you preparing yourself now for that day of testing? God is giving you time. He is graciously giving you day after day, week after week, to prepare you for that day of test. But then there's another test even greater coming called Judgment Day. Judgment Day. Now, as I said, you may not think much about roots, but today I want you to think about your root system. What is the nature of your root system? And Psalm 1 points to a glorious root system, a picture of a tree planted by streams of water, which is constantly ready to bear fruit for God. Let's look together at Psalm 1.

"Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, or stand in the way of sinners, or sit in the seat of mockers; 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 which yields its fruit in season, and whose leaf never withers. Whatever he does, he prospers. Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish." And so, we have here in Psalm 1 laid out before us two ways: the way of the righteous and the way of the wicked. The way of the righteous is discussed first, and it is a way of fruitful submission to God's Word. And what I'm saying to you is that guaranteed fruitfulness comes only from knowledge of, deep knowledge of, and submission to the Word of God. That's where fruitfulness comes from. And the way of the righteous begins as a blessed way, “blessed” it says, is the man. Isn't that a great word to begin the Book of Psalms?

It's just like the Sermon on the Mount, The beginning of Jesus’s teaching ministry in the New Testament. It starts with, “Blessed are the spiritual beggars.” (Matthew 5:3). Remember? It starts with the word “blessed.” The word “blessed” means deeply, richly, satisfyingly happy, because your relationship with God is right and healthy. That's what the word blessed means. And so therefore, God here, as Jesus was doing in the Sermon on the Mount, instructs you on how to be happy, how to be deeply, richly happy and satisfied. Have I got your attention? Are you interested in that? How much of what you do every day could be traced back to your own personal happiness? Some philosophers would say everything. Everything you do is traced back to some desire you have to be pleased with the outcome, pleased with the fruit, right? I don't think there's anything wrong with that. God is therefore instructing us here, how we may be blessed or how we may be happy. And so, what is set before us here is the simple choice that we get throughout all of Scripture, a choice between blessedness, or blessings, and curses.

Blessings on the one hand, curses on the other. It's the same choice that was laid before the Israelites before they entered the Promised Land. The Book of Deuteronomy. Moses said this day... In Deuteronomy 30:19: "This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses." Now, early in Deuteronomy, he described what that blessed life was like, what is that blessedness? And he describes it in physical ways. Deuteronomy 28:3-8: "You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country. The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock--the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks. Your basket and your kneading trough will be blessed. You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out. The Lord will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven. The Lord will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to. The Lord your God will bless you in the land he is giving you."

Does that sound attractive? If we were to translate it into 21st century language, it's a comprehensive blessing on everything you do. But this is just physical blessing, how much more of the spiritual blessing that God promises is in Jesus Christ? Ephesians 1:3-4: "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ." So here we have a comprehensive physical blessing laid out for us in the law of Moses, and then in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, a comprehensive spiritual blessing. Is everything covered? Of course it is. God is ready to saturate you with blessings. And so, the way of the righteous is a way of blessedness, a way of blessing. But he doesn't stop there, does he? He goes on to begin to describe how we can know this blessedness, and it's interesting to us that he begins negatively. He begins by saying what the way of blessedness or the way of righteousness is not, or what it is not characterized by.

A Way that Hates Evil

We are so positive these days. We don't want to ever talk about those things that are negative. We want to be very tolerant of everything and speak only positively all the time. The Word of God does not behave this way, not at all. And so, if you want to know what the way of righteousness is like, you look down at Psalm 1. "Blessed is the man who does not do certain things." Do you see? The negative side. And therefore, it is a way that hates evil. “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, or stand in the way of sinners, or sit in the seat of mockers” This does not characterize this blessed man. We cannot be neutral about evil. Do you understand that? We can't be neutral about things that are evil, we must hate them the way God does. We must reject them, we must stay away from them, we must be pure from them, if we want to know this kind of blessedness. We can't be neutral. We've got to be like Paul when he deals with issues like: "What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? May it never be!" (Romans 6:1-2) We must say "May it never be!" as our response to evil.

"Absolutely not. I will not accept this." And so, we hate first of all, an ungodly lifestyle. “Blessed is the man who does not walk” it says. Walking in the Hebrew wisdom literature means a daily lifestyle. How do you live your daily life? How do you walk one step after another? Life is made up of days, and days are made up of hours, and hours are made up of minutes, and minutes are made up of moment-by-moment choices and decisions. Choices you make moment by moment. And so, you are to hate what is ungodly. Hate a walk that is unrighteous. You must hate it, and do everything you can to avoid it. And in order to do that, you have to hate ungodly counsel or advice. Have you noticed how thirsty America is in its popular culture for advice these days? Look at all the talk shows that are focused around solving problems, working things out, because the people have nowhere to go for advice. They've cut themselves off from the Scripture where all the godly advice is and they don't know how to live.

They come to problems and they don't know how to solve them. They open up their newspaper near the comics and read “Dear Abby” to get an answer to how to resolve marital struggles. We need godly counsel, don't we? We need good advice. And if you've got good friends in your life, the sweetness of the friendship is that they give you good solid advice. Proverbs 27:9 says: "Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of one's friend springs from his earnest counsel." Good solid advice. That's what the church is meant to be. That we are those that speak the words of God to one another and give good solid advice. But here in this verse there's nothing about good solid advice, there's ungodly or wicked advice. We don't walk in the counsel of the wicked. We don't spend time with them. We're not in their company and we don't hear their words. Wicked counsel leads to wicked actions. I know from 10 years of being in secular employment, all the kinds of advice given back and forth, and how much of it was ungodly and how much of it led to struggle and to strife and problems in families.

But the root of it is just hating fellowship with those who do not love the Lord. We don't want anything to do with them. We don't want to be in close relationship with them. Yes, of course, we live in this world and we have a witness to the world, we must. But this is talking about something else, it's talking about friendship with the world. It's talking about being in close relationships with those who do not love Jesus or His Word. There are three words used for those who reject the Word, reject the law of God, they're called “wicked.” It's the same word here used of the Sodomites that God destroyed, Sodom and Gomorrah. It also talks about “sinners”; that word usually means those who transgress the commands of God, and then the interesting word “mockers.” Mockers. You know, I find it interesting, the humor value of my faith to some people. They think it's funny, they really do. And I feel so sorry for them, because this is the spirit of mockery we see here. And there have been some great mockers, a lot of them are in the media.

And that was started earlier in the 20th century, I think by many, but I think in particular about this one man, H.L. Mencken. You've perhaps heard of H.L. Mencken. Very humorous writer. I mean, the things he writes are funny, but it's a spirit of mockery against God. Listen to what he says. He says: “The liberation of the human mind has never been furthered by dunderheads [stupid people]; it has been furthered by happy fellows who heaved dead cats into sanctuaries and then went roistering down the highways of the world, proving to all men that doubt, after all, was safe--that the god in the sanctuary was finite in his power and hence a fraud. One horse-laugh is worth ten thousand syllogisms. It is not only more effective; it is also vastly more intelligent.” These are words of mockery. Mockery. Well, somebody once said, “death yields orthodoxy.” Think about that. Death produces orthodoxy. I think H.L. Mencken is orthodox now. He has right doctrines and ideas about God because God has already said in Galatians 6:7, “do not be deceived.” It is impossible... Let's put it this way, it is impossible to mock God, you can't do it. The hole you dig is the one you'll fall into. But we as Christians want no fellowship with those kinds of people. We don't want to be with those who laugh at our faith. We want them to come to know Jesus Christ and escape the wrath to come, that's what we want. Now, God says a blessed life begins therefore with a commitment to hate evil in all its forms. There is therefore a negative side to blessedness. If we do not guard ourselves, evil will creep in and destroy who we are.

A Way Immersed in God’s Word

Alright, well then, what of the positive side? Oh, I've been eager to talk about this. Sweet is this verse. Look what it says, verse 2: “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 which yields its fruit in season, and whose leaf never withers. Whatever he does, he prospers.” Oh, is that sweet! This is a way immersed in the Word of God, and the Psalmist here calls it a delight. His delight is in the law of his God. He loves to read the Bible. He just loves it.

Now yesterday, we were driving back from a family reunion of sorts. My wife's grandmother had her 90th birthday, and we had a bunch of folks together in Culpeper, Virginia, and we had a wonderful time. But one of the joys was on the way home, we stopped at Friendly's Ice Cream. Now, both Christi and I, we grew up on Friendly's Ice Cream, but there's a big gap between Culpeper, Virginia and Orlando, Florida. There's no Friendly's in there, and there's actually a sign in Virginia saying, "This is your last chance at Friendly’s Ice Cream until Orlando, Florida." So, we took the opportunity, got home a little bit later as a result, but my favorite flavor is chocolate almond chip. And what chocolate almond chip is, it’s almonds dipped in chocolate and then the chocolate coats it like a candy, and then it's in chocolate ice cream.

Now, how does somebody who delights in ice cream eat it? They lick the ice cream. They savor it. Or do they just take it down quickly for the nutritive value? We need to get the vitamins and the dairy products inside our system as quickly as possible. Is that how you eat ice cream? Then you're one of those type A people. [laughter] It's not the way we eat ice cream, we delight in ice cream, it's not a matter of the nutritive value, it isn't. It's got to do with the flavor. And for me, for that particular flavor, it also has to do with the joy of crunching those chocolate almonds. I really enjoy that. I like to lick the ice cream and the almonds into my mouth and then the ice cream melts and then I like to chew those chocolate-covered nuts. Now, why am I telling you so much about my ice cream eating habits? Because there's a parallel to how I also handle the Word of God. I do the same thing; I take it in and I savor it. And basically, you guys, every week you hear the results of the things that I've been doing on the Word of God. I just take over each phrase and I savor it, and I think about what this word means and what that word means.

It's a way immersed in God's word and his delight is in the law of the Lord, he really enjoys it. Now, this is a strange thing because we start hating the Word actually, or at least bored by it. It says in 1 Corinthians 2:14: "The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them because they are spiritually discerned." You sit down and read the Bible, and it makes no sense to you. It makes no sense at first, but then when you come to faith in Christ, the Spirit comes as a private tutor and he begins to teach you things and your eyes start to open, and you start to see things that are amazing and delicious to you, they are sweet. Psalm 119 is 176 verses on the Word of God. Incredible. And 10 times the Psalmist discusses the delight he has in the law of God; he really enjoys it.

For example, Psalm 119 verse 14: "I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches." Or verse 35: "Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight." Or verse 47: "I delight in your commands, for I love them." Or verse 174: "I long for your salvation, O LORD, and your law is my delight." It's the very same thing that Jeremiah had said: "When your words came, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart's delight, for I bear your name, O LORD God Almighty." (Jeremiah 15:16). The Word of God is sweet, and it is rich, and it is delicious, and it is not to be eaten quickly, it is to be savored. And so therefore, the Psalmist here talks about meditation, "On his law he meditates day and night." The Hebrew word means to murmur or to mutter over something. It means to take the words and murmur over them so that you just understand. And you know what I think of? I go back to the original illustration of the oak tree with its tap root pushing down through the soil and searching for a deeper and deeper place where the water table is perhaps... Or where some nutrients are and for security, so that the tree below mirrors the tree above, and there's just strength and protection, the tap root going ever further down in. That's meditation.

Now, if you were a Jew back in those days, how would you meditate day and night on the law of the Lord? Well, you just reach to your night stand, you turn on the lights, if it's night time, you turn on the light, you take your copy of the Bible, and you open it up and read it. Is that true? Absolutely not. First of all, they didn't have lights, you didn't just turn it on, you had to have a little oil lamp. But even more of a problem was that they didn't have the Torah with them. That was in the synagogue. They didn't have the Torah with them. So how were they going to meditate day and night on the Word of God? Memorize it. Memorize it. That's what they did, they memorized it. And that way they would be reflecting over it all the time. Do you memorize the Word of God? Is your tap root going ever deeper? Are you going to stand in the day of trouble? Well, this one, he just delights in meditating on it. And this is not that kind of meditation like the Buddhists do, where they're trying to empty their mind all the time, saying meaningless phrases or thinking about meaningless questions like what's the sound of one hand clapping? The purpose of considering “what's the sound of one hand clapping?” is to empty your mind, right?

No, we are trying to fill our mind with concepts, ideas, the truth of God. That's Christian meditation. You're working over the phrases. And then finally, it's a way that practices what you learn. Verse 3, it says, "Whatever he does, he prospers.” James 1:22: "Do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourselves; do what it says…The man who intently looks into the perfect law that gives freedom and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it--he will be blessed in what he does." If you want the blessing at the beginning of the Psalm, you have to do the things you meditate on. It's not just for intellectual advancement, it's so that you can change your life. So, it's a way of fruitfulness, finally. A way of fruitfulness. What does it liken us to? A tree planted by a river. Isn't it beautiful that you don't have to go through the world to try to find all of God's ideas and all the things he wants to say to you? All you do need to do is turn on the light, reach for the Bible, and open it up. Could it be easier?

A Way of Fruitfulness

You are like a tree right by a river that comes right to your door, if you'll just open it up and reflect on it. It comes right to your door! You're a tree planted right by a stream that brings to you everything you need for life and godliness. It's just coming right to you... And it's a permanent fruitfulness, you're rooted there, you're not moving, you're just there, and it's a patient fruitfulness. In verse 3, it says, "It yields its fruit in season." When the season comes, that's when the fruit comes, not right away. How long do you think it takes for that drop of water to get from 50, 60, 70 feet down below up to the leaf? Perhaps a long time. And the nutrients too. And then the cells do what they do, and then the light comes from the Sun, and then, and then, and then. It yields its fruit in season when the time comes.

So, the meditation you do today will bear fruit in your life seven years from now. Do you see how that works? And so, the fruitfulness that we enjoy today came from meditation we did maybe seven years ago or seven months ago. We're preparing all the time for fruitfulness, and it will come most certainly. And I love it, it says, "Its leaf never withers." When you think of something shriveling and withering, you think of it aging, but you know, you could be 80 or 100 years old and still bear good fruit for God, because your root system is so deeply rooted in the Word of God. How old was Moses when he left those sheep and came to lead the people of God? He was 80 years old; his leaf hadn't withered at all. Ready for fruitfulness all the time in season, out of season, always ready. And it says, "Whatever he does prospers." It's the pervasive fruitfulness, every area of your life touched.

The Way of the Wicked: Fruitless Rebellion Against God’s Word

A Contrary Way

Well, that's the way of righteousness. What about the way of the wicked? Well, the way of the wicked is fruitless rebellion against God's Word. Verse 4 says, it's a contrary way, it's the opposite way: "Not so the wicked" it says. All those good things I just talked about, not so in reference to the wicked. No fruitfulness, no permanence, no joy, no delight... And it all starts with their despising of the Word of God. They delight rather in worldly things, they delight in their own opinions, they delight in the opinions of the world, and the counsel of the wicked, that's what they delight in. And so, they live an entirely different kind of life. It's totally opposite of the blessed man and opposite results as well.

A Way of Fruitless Impermanence

It's a way of fruitless impermanence. Verse 4 says: "They are like chaff that the wind blows away." Now, this doesn't mean much to us in our technological 21st century American culture, so I had to go overseas to learn what this meant.

I was in Pakistan and it was harvest time, and they were harvesting the... I think it was rye, I may be wrong about that. But they had packed out a threshing floor, it was just hard packed dirt, and they had this pile of all the things they had cut, and they just took a fork, a threshing fork, and just threw it up in the air and the wind came and just blew the chaff away, just blew it away. Well, what's the principle of threshing? Well, it's a matter of density. Do you see? It's a matter of weight. Alright, the way of the wicked is a way of lightness and impermanence, nothing is left after all those years, it's gone, it disappears. One or two generations later there's not a trace left. It's gone. Remember the Hebrew word for weight is “Kavod” which is also translated glory. If you have the glory of God in the center of your life, there is a weightiness to who you are, a weightiness to the things you do and they will last. But if you've exchanged the glory of God for an idol, there'll be no weightiness to you and you will be blown away like chaff.

A Way of Eternal Condemnation

And therefore, ultimately, this is a way of eternal condemnation. Look at verse 5: "Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous." The “Therefore” is there to show us there's a connection between the way that we live our life here in regard to the Word of God and what will happen on Judgement Day. There's a connection between the two. For those that rebel against the Word of God and throw it off as though it is a hard burden, there is eternal condemnation. They're not going to stand. Earlier in the Psalm, the righteous man did not stand in the way of the wicked, he didn't stand in that way. On judgment day, the wicked will not stand with the righteous, they will not survive. Isaiah 40:6-7 shows us the truth of this, "All men are like grass and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever." If you are like the righteous man who is taking in the Word of God all the time, you will stand forever.

The Way of the Lord: Active Over Both

 Now, finally, it talks about the way of the Lord. In verse 6, it says: "The Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish." God is actively involved in both ways, he watches over the way of the righteous, like a shepherd caring for you, or like perhaps a vine tender who tends the vine for maximum fruitfulness. He's watching over your life all the time to be sure that everything that happens is in conformity with that fruitfulness. But the wicked, he watches over to protect his righteous to keep them safe. And it says in the end, verse 6, "The way of the wicked will perish." Not just that the wicked will perish, but the way of the wicked will perish. There will come a day when there will be a new heaven and a new earth, and there will be no such thing as a way of the wicked. That whole way of living will be gone, entirely gone, and only the way of the righteous will remain.

Now, God has given a full provision that we may not perish. John 3:16: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish. [There's that same word.] but have eternal life." Jesus Christ has given us as the Word, he has given us the way that we might have an eternally fruitful life.

Application: Storing Up Treasure

Now, what application can we take from these things? Well, so many, I've already given you many. Don't walk with the wicked, don't take counsel with them, but be separate from them. But I want to talk to you specifically about practically how you handle the Bible every day... Jesus said: "Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is known by its fruit." (Matthew 12:33). And then he said, "Out of the fullness of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him." (Matthew 12:34-35)

You have a storage bin in you, it's called your mind. What are you storing up in that storage bin or room? Are you treasuring up the Word of God for future fruitfulness? Jesus said the same thing in Matthew 13. After all the parables, the difficult parables, he asked his disciples, "Have you understood all these things?" "Oh yes, Lord, we've understood them." said the disciples. And Jesus said, "Very well, therefore every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old." (Matthew 13:51-52). What are you storing up in your storeroom? Treasures for future fruitfulness? It's hard to say. Treasures or worthless things? Now you have about 10 days between now and the beginning of September. In that 10 days, I would like to urge you to choose a book in the Bible that you can get through in a month, one that you can read through in a month. Buy a notebook, spiral down notebook or any kind of binding you want, and get a pen, and read through a certain amount of scripture, maybe about 10 minutes of scripture, and while you're reading, write down observations, keywords, questions, things that pop in your mind while you read, just write them down with a pen.

At the end of that time, take the things you've written and pray through them and say, "God, give me the answer to this question, or God change my life in this way as a result of this, or God teach me what this keyword means to me." Maybe it's the word treasure or gold or silver, something like that. This is meditation, let your tap root push down through the soil until you find the water God has for you. Will you close with me in prayer... Father, we do thank you for the time we've had now to meditate together over Psalm 1. Father, I pray that my brothers and sisters in Christ here would be faithful to take this challenge that they might read through one book of the Bible, then come to know it better in September. Father, I pray for that. And whether they do or don't do that specific thing, oh God, I pray that each one of them would behave like trees planted by a stream of water yielding its fruit in season. Father, help us to bear the good fruit you have for us, for we pray in Jesus’s name. Amen.

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