Trees Planted by Streams of Water

Steven Bouma-Prediger

Read: Psalm 1

He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. (v. 3)

I have never forgotten this tree. Many years ago, while hiking in the mountains of Sequoia National Park, at the end of a long day I stopped near the tree line, above which no trees are able to survive because of the high altitude. I spied a group of four or five stunted trees I couldn’t recall ever seeing before. The trees were about 10 feet high, with reddish brown bark, cones three to five inches long, and short needles in bundles. The trees were contorted, misshapen by the ever-present, unrelenting wind. I looked the tree up in my tree book. It was a foxtail pine, so named because its short bushy branches resemble the tail of a fox.

The ground was rocky, with little soil, but there was a small stream of water gurgling along through the stony soil. These high-altitude trees were alive only because of this humble flow of water.

Those who delight in the law of the Lord, the psalmist tells us, are like trees planted by streams of water. In this opening psalm, which introduces the entire psalter, the author uses a tree to teach a lesson. Those who meditate on God’s Word and ways are like trees that give fruit in season and whose leaves do not wither. In everything they do, they prosper. May it be so with us. —Steven Bouma-Prediger

Prayer: Help us, O Lord, to delight in your law, to be like trees planted by streams of water.