Devotional Week 42 Monday
“Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us. Unto Him be glory.”
Ephesians 3: 20
“Here Paul coins a word for his own peculiar use. It seems as though at times the Holy Spirit crowded such great and radiant revelations into the apostle’s mind and heart that even the rich vocabulary at his disposal was not sufficient to express them. But when ordinary language fails, Paul employs his own. There was no superlative at hand which could describe his sense of the overwhelming ability of God, and so he just constructed a word of his own, the intensity of which can only be suggested in our English phrase “exceedingly abundantly.’ The power flows up and out, and over! It is a spring, and therefore incalculable. We can measure the resources of a cistern; we can tell its capacity to a trifle. We can register the contents of a reservoir; at any moment we can tell how many gallons it contains. But who can measure the resources of a spring? It is to this spring – like a quality in the Divine power, the exceeding abundance, the immeasurable quantity, that the apostle refers. We can bring our little vessels to the spring and take them away filled to overflowing, and the exceeding abundance remains. The ‘doing’ of our God is an inexhaustible well.”
J. H. Jowett
Today’s Study Text:
“And he (she) shall be like a tree firmly planted and tended by the streams of water, ready to bring forth its fruit in its season; its leaf also shall not fade or wither; and everything he (she) does shall prosper and come to maturity.”
Psalm 1: 3
“A Matter of Maturity”
Psalm 1 Part 13
“Maturity in Christ is about consistent pursuit in spite of the attacks and setbacks. Maturity in Christ is not about finally attaining some level of pseudo-perfection. It is about remaining in the arms of God. Abiding and staying, even in my weakness, even in my failure.”
What does the word “mature” mean to me?
Have I ever felt that “spiritual maturity” was not possible, at least in my life?
“Spiritual maturity has to do with wanting to do the Father’s will for us – not only out of duty but out of overwhelming adoration and devotion. God measures maturity by the level of devotion we display.”
“Growth in godly character is not only progressive and always unfinished, it is absolutely necessary for spiritual survival. If we are not growing in godly character, we are regressing; in the spiritual life we never stand still.”
There are few things I enjoy more than reading a passage of Scripture which I believe I am familiar with only to uncover the fact that there is a truth to be revealed which I’d previously overlooked.
Our study text for today reveals the fact that the godly individual is like a durable tree, well-planted by streams of waters. The Psalmist could have stopped with this short piece of information but he did not. He continued by sharing the detail that this tree was fruitful and its leaves were extremely healthy. In fact, they never withered.
And then, in a final description of the godly, the Psalmist states that “everything he (she) does shall prosper” (Psalm 1: 3). As I shared with you, this was the second Psalm I memorized as a young ten-year-old girl. In addition, Psalm 1 was my dad’s favorite Psalm and many times for family worship, this was what I would call his “go-to” passage to read. So to say I thought I knew this Psalm would be an understatement. And yet, I have learned so much already by thoroughly digging in the words of the Psalmist and today, the last phrase in Psalm 1: 3 proves to be no different.
As I read the words: “Whatsoever he doeth shall prosper” from the King James Version of the Bible, I thought about the many years of hearing the word “prosper” and thinking I knew what it meant. In the English language, “prosper” means to “render fortunate.” When we describe a person as “prosperous” most of the time our thoughts automatically turn to the idea of financial well-being.
But if we go to the Hebrew word “tsalach” we find it means to move forward, to break out, to advance mightily. Interesting, the word “prosper” can also mean to grow up, to mature as the Amplified Bible notes. “Prosper” can also mean to come to wholeness or completeness. Actually, we limit our thoughts by believing that prosperity only has to do with what’s in my wallet or the balance in my bank account. As Pastor Richard M. Simpson points out in his commentary of Psalm 1, we need to “be aware of how easily this text can be manipulated into a proof text for a prosperity gospel that asserts that you too can be rich, successful, and happy (like a tree ‘planted by streams of water) if you are counted among the righteous.”
Instead, I would rather we focus on the Psalmist’s original meaning when this poem was penned. This means that when we prosper, we will continue to grow, we won’t stagnate. We will put out new foliage and our roots will continue to grow down into the moist earth fed by a clear healthy stream.
In the terrific book, Psalms for Praying, author Nan C. Merrill shares these thoughts regarding Psalm 1: 3 – “Blessed are those who walk hand in hand with goodness, who stand beside virtue, who sit in the seat of truth; For their delight is in the Spirit of Love, and in Love’s heart they dwell day and night.” Then author Merrill specifically describes the “tree” in Psalm 1: 3 in this manner:
“(The righteous), are like trees planted
by streams of water,
that yield fruit in due season,
and their leaves flourish;
And in all that they do, they give life.”
I just love this paraphrase of Psalm 1: 3, especially the words: “In all that they do, they give life.” Isn’t that what God’s children are to do in a dark world? Aren’t we to be heavenly life-givers here on earth?
In summing up the insights to be gained from Psalm 1: 3, Professor Jann Cather Weaver underscores that – “We can live in one of two ways: either prosper in following Yahweh’s teaching or perish…To emphasize this extreme, the psalmist sets up contrasting “polar” opposites within the Psalm: streams of water vs. driving wind; fruity and leafy trees vs. discarded chaff; prospering ‘leaves that do not wither’ vs. perishing ‘chaff that the wind drives away.’”
The questions for us today are this: Will I continue to grow and mature? Will I continue to prosper as I feast on the Word and abide by my Father’s living stream? In the inspiring passage of author John Maxwell, “Change in our lives is not brought about by our tense tinkering. It is brought about by the radiant, immeasurable energy of Christ, which has never left the world since He first said yes to God.” The words of the Apostle Paul to the Christians in the city of Colosse inspire us still today: “If you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ – that’s where the action is” (Colossians 3: 1, 2, The Message Bible).
“Set your minds and keep them set on what is above, the higher things, not on the things that are on earth.”
Colossians 3: 2
“Now my life is hidden with
Christ in God;
I am Yours, Lord,
for better, for worse,
in times when I feel well and alive,
and in the bleak landscape of my darkness;
in it all I am Yours.”
“My God, I can do no more!
Be for me the One who can!”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus