The Psalms employ poetic language to deliver spiritual truth in fresh and insightful ways. Paul, also, made generous use of metaphors to convey meaning in his writings. In Psalm 1, we are taught that what made the man of verse 1 so distinctive was his delight in the Word of God (v2). That relationship to Scripture is likened to the deep roots which he had sunk by the brooks of water. Paul spoke in Colossians of believers being “rooted” in Christ and receiving nourishment and sustenance from Him (Col 2:7).
In the Psalms, the metaphor is a stream or brook; in Colossians, it is the soil. In either case, it bespeaks a believer who has sunk roots into fellowship with Christ, drawing every need and daily strength for growth from Him. While Psalm 1 stresses the Scriptures and Colossians the Person, it is only through the written Word that we can hold communion with the Incarnate Word. Get to the Book!
The Secret and the Seen
Inherent in the metaphor of “roots” is the fact that they are not seen on the surface. They are unseen to the observer. This emphasizes that there is a secret life of communion with God which is not visible to others. This means time alone, away from the technology and noisy world in which we live.
But the unseen does have a visible counterpart: Psalm 1 reminds us of fruit which is developed in season. Colossians 2:7 speaks of “abounding therein with thanksgiving.” The result of an unseen life in fellowship with the Lord will be the appearance of fruit with a fragrance which will be visible and apparent to all.
Amidst the demands of high school life, university, business, and family, each of us must develop the discipline of time alone with God on a daily basis. Roots take time to develop and to deepen. Live beside the Brook!
The Security and Stability
Finally, the imagery of roots suggests stability and security. While Psalm 1 may have in view the eternal consequences of “dwelling by the rivers of water,” it contrasts the tree, which is rooted, with the chaff, which is driven by the wind. Those who are rooted in fellowship with Christ know a stability amidst the many winds of doctrine and trends in both the social and the evangelical world. They are “established in the faith” (Col 2:7), as they had been taught. That does not equate to a refusal to change or to “serve our own generation” (Acts 13:36). Stubbornness is not a spiritual virtue. Change, however, must always be within the scope of the Word of God and should not be driven by changes in society.
The concept of security seems almost “rooted” in the metaphor of “roots,” if you will allow the expression. This security involves not only eternal security, but that which serves each believer so well amidst the many trials of faith which assault us in our experiences here. Elsewhere in Colossians, Paul wrote of those who were “not moved away from the hope of the gospel” (1:23).
We have the choice of being either a rooted tree or driven chaff. Which would you like your life to be?