The view from my airplane window was striking: a narrow ribbon of ripening wheat fields and orchards wending between two barren mountains. Running through the valley was a river—life-giving water, without which there would be no fruit.
Just as a bountiful harvest depends on a source of clean water, the quality of the “fruit” in my life—my words, actions, and attitude—depends on my spiritual nourishment. The psalmist describes this in Psalm 1: The person “whose delight is in the law of the Lord . . . is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season” (vv. 1–3). And Paul writes in Galatians 5 that those who walk in step with the Spirit are marked by “love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (vv. 22–23).
Sometimes my perspective on my circumstances turns sour, or my actions and words become persistently unkind. There is no good fruit, and I realize I haven’t spent time being quiet before the words of my God. But when the rhythm of my days is rooted in reliance on Him, I bear good fruit. Patience and gentleness characterize my interactions with others; it’s easier to choose gratitude over complaint.
The God who has revealed Himself to us is our source of strength, wisdom, joy, understanding, and peace (Ps. 119:28, 98, 111, 144, 165). As we steep our souls in the words that point us to Him, the work of God’s Spirit will be evident in our lives.
God’s Spirit lives in His people, in order to work through them.
This pictorial psalm with its word imagery is a suitable introduction for the entire library of prayer, praise, and reflection we know as the book of Psalms. In contrast to “the world” is the believer’s joy and pursuit of gleaning gems of spiritual truth in the Word of God. The law of the Lord is his object of meditation. The Hebrew word for meditate means to “digest over and over again like a cow who chews its cud.” This is a spiritual preoccupation that draws the believer to the Word both day and night (v. 2). The analogy of a “tree planted by streams of water” (v. 3) pictures for us the life-giving water and nutrients of the soil that cause plant life to flourish. The result of a life so rooted in the Word is the overflow of fruitfulness.