Note: My previous 2 posts covered Psalm 1:1 which is David’s “letter to parents and Christian schools or home schools” what NOT to do, and Psalm 1:2 what TO do.
“Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful; (2) But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night. (3) 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.” (NKJV)
The Results (from verse 3):
If verses 1 and 2 are followed, there will be a resulting scenario of “sowing – reaping”, and that is exactly what David tells us by relating kids to a planted a tree that produces fruit.
He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, The first thing to notice in this allegory is that someone with intelligence, and with a purpose planted the tree in a place where it had every opportunity to grow correctly and to produce fruit. God’s plan for a tree to produce fruit is to be planted where it will get all the nourishment it needs to fulfill its purpose. Trees that produce fruit need sun, nutrients, and a lot of water for nourishment. Apple trees need over 150 gallons of water a week to produce edible apples. By contrast, a desert pine or desert oak needs very little water to grow, however those trees do not produce usable fruit. In the area that David lived, most all of the trees that produced fruit were planted by people, and were planted next to the rivers. Those fruit bearing trees took in water and nutrients daily to maintain proper growth, maturity, and fruit bearing.
I have a garden in our back yard at home, and I notice that when I do not water the garden with the same amount of water at the proper times, the fruit or vegetables will be small and deformed. Also, those plants that do not get full sun every day have very little (if any) produce. Another aspect is if I do not fertilize the plants or the soil with nutrients they need to grow, the produce will not be very good. So plants need daily water, sun, and nutrients to properly produce good fruit. Just water alone won’t work, just fertilizer alone won’t work, and just sunlight won’t work, but a proper balance of all three.
This allegory suggests growth and maturity, and with the proper nutrients. The Bible is clear in other passages that people are to grow and mature “to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13), which includes young people as 2 Timothy 3:15 says: “and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” Also, Peter ends his second epistle with the requirement of growth : “but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”, and Paul eludes to teaching and growth in Colossians 3:16: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another…” Conversely, Hebrews 5:12-14 has an admonishment of spiritual immaturity and lack of growth: “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”
The first part of verse 3 says that (in light of this psalm and this book): Godly and obedient parents will place their children in an environment where they will daily learn a proper balance of information, experience, specifically including God’s Word and the knowledge of Jesus Christ, to gain maturity by learning how to apply that knowledge, and to use what they have learned for the glory of God in fruitfulness by obediently serving Him in all they do.
A few other things to mention about the fruit producing trees in David’s area:
- They did not plant themselves: It took careful thought as to the best place for the growth of the tree and consideration of the future fruit produced. (Parents need to carefully consider where is the best place and/or training for their kids)
- It took great effort to plant and tend a tree correctly, tilling soil, pulling weeds, pruning branches, fertilizing, etc. (It takes great effort to train kids correctly for proper growth, maturity, and producing fruit)
- In the arid climate where David lived, properly growing and producing fruit trees were a statement of the skill and effort of the owner of the tree. (What statements are said about your Christian schooling or your kid’s growth, and the godly and obedient skills and efforts of your teachers or as you their parent?)
- Fruit trees were a huge blessing to many people when the fruit was harvested. (How many people will benefit from the kind of fruit your kids produce?)
- Fruit trees were not planted by alkaline or bitter water, or the tree’s fruit would not be edible, and of no use to the owner. (You have heard the saying: garbage in, garbage out. What is being taught to your kids during all of their waking hours and will that nourishment produce godly results that God and others can benefit from?)
I believe parents will be rewarded, or not, by where they “plant” their kids because they will one day give an account as to how their kids were educated; and God’s Word (the Bible) will be the basis of that judgment. Quality sound Christian schooling is a viable choice for parents to “plant” their kids as God intends, so if you are involved in Christian education, please ensure the biblical soundness of schooling.
That brings forth fruit in its season. When does a tree produce fruit? In its season. The term “its season” is extremely important here. David could have said “…that brings forth fruit.” And ended the statement there, but he did not, he added the line “in its season.” (some versions say “in due season”) That term is used in the Bible 27 times and always refers to the same thing: that there is a proper and designed period of time for things. Ecclesiastes 3:1 “To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven.”
When the subject is fruit, a bountiful harvest comes AFTER a long and effort filled period of nourishing, tending, pruning, training, and growing, not during. Mark 11:13 says “And seeing from afar a fig tree having leaves, He went to see if perhaps He would find something on it. When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs.”
David uses the metaphor of a tree bearing fruit in season, in the context and style of Psalm 1, to specifically say that there is a period of time for teaching your kids (watering, nourishing, tending, pruning, training, growing), and AFTER that is complete, then they will produce fruit.
When is fruit ready to be eaten? After it has received its nourishment, and is MATURE. Only responsible, aware, and godly parents can tell for sure when their child is fully nourished and mature enough to bear fruit, to be “picked from the vine” and used by God.
Whose leaf also shall not wither; Parents have to be very conscious of the maturity of our kids. If we think they are mature when they are not, the world will overcome them, and they will wither like David says. A withered leaf cannot draw in nourishing sunlight, and the tree does not produce fruit.
Bruce Shortt, author of the book “The Harsh Truth about Public Schools” says that, 88% of children who are raised in Christian homes, attend Christian churches, but attend public schools will turn away from Christianity. He says that a person’s moral foundation is set by about age 9, and the type of world view a person has for life is formed from age 12 through age 18.
George Barna, in his book “Transforming Children Into Spiritual Champions” he says that “cultivating a biblical worldview means learning to think and act like Jesus”. This means learning Jesus’ biblical teaching in every school subject in every school year. Only then, can the spiritually mature person be fully equipped to withstand the satan led attacks on Christians that come in college, the secular world, and every day life. And, will have the firm foundation to be used by God, and be blessed by God as Psalm 1 starts out.
Our societal laws have placed ages of maturity on some responsible things such as driving, voting, drinking, and enlisting in the military, and I think a child’s age of when they are spiritually mature enough to go out into the world and be able to bear fruit (and not be overcome by the world) is similar to those ages, but the Bible does not seem to list any specific age. It does, however, give us this wonderful and perfect metaphor of a fruit tree, and we are to parallel with that metaphor our choices as parents with the focus of our children bearing fruit for God at the proper season.
Pro 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.” When will the child be done with training so he or she will not depart from it? When he is old, indicating training takes a long time. The greatest hope for the church, for evangelism, for our country, and for humanity, is in the proper solid bible based teaching and raising of godly children, who when mature, can unwaveringly act like Jesus to expound the saving gospel of Jesus “in due season”.
And whatever he does shall prosper. It is when kids have that spiritual maturity, (that ability to think and act like Jesus in everything), that they will fulfill their purpose as a tree fulfills its purpose by producing fruit. In God’s eyes, they will they be prosperous in whatever they do, wherever God places them. The Hebrew word for “prosper” used here means to break out on your own, to mightily move forward, to be prosperous in your trained endeavor. To be prosperous is to have all your child’s training in place, so he or she can confidently and mightily move forward with God’s plan for their life. A plan that includes Gods blessings.
Parents will be rewarded for their how obedient to God they were when raising their children. Maybe not necessarily how they turned out, because we live in a fallen world, but in the type and quality of a job they did for their kids in light of God’s requirements of them. Generally speaking, how well they honor God with their life is a direct reflection on you, and therefore your legacy. Please, parents, do whatever it takes, and however long it takes, to correctly raise your child to be your legacy for God.