Oh, the joys of those who do not
follow the advice of the wicked,
or stand around with sinners,
or join in with mockers.
But they delight in the law of the Lord,
meditating on it day and night.
They are like trees planted along the riverbank,
bearing fruit each season.
Their leaves never wither,
and they prosper in all they do.
Oh the joy! Not just joy, but joys. Joys for those who don’t do and instead do. What do they do, these joyful women?
“[T]hey delight in the law of the Lord . . .” Delight in God’s laws. Delight. When I think of that word, I think of how I feel when I see my child on the verge of learning something new. When I think of that word, I think of a truly amazing chocolate sundae. When I think of that word, I think of sunsets and boat rides and the wind in my hair on top of a mountain. I don’t know that I think of the law. This is different though. This isn’t just a law of do’s and don’ts. This is the law of the Lord, the way that we get to know Him, His personality, His priorities. And knowing Him is a delight.
“But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night.” I don’t know about you, but night can be dangerous for me. Night is where the regrets resurface, the anger gains traction, and the sadness comes for my heart. Night can be dangerous. And I’ve found that when I delight in His law during the day, I find strength to lean in and delight during the night. And His law is what gives structure to my fears. After all faith is found in remembering who He is and what He says about our collective future together. No wonder such a woman is joyful.
And what does this joy look like?
“They are like trees planted along the riverbank . . .” If there was ever a time I desired to be planted, it is today. I want to stay planted with roots deep into soil and connected to the life giving water and nutrients that I need to flourish, not looking for a place to call my own but spreading out in the space I’ve called my own. Trees planted. Planting is often intentional. I like to think that is the way it is meant in this passage. I’ve been placed in this moment for a purpose. I may physically move, but my roots in Christ, in His community on the earth, in His truth, will not move. Joy is found in stability, planting, consistent communion.
“They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season.” Bearing fruit. A life lived for oneself isn’t enough. Fulfillment comes from serving others. When we lean into God’s spirit, and stay planted, he causes
us to bear fruit, fruit that the world around us desperately needs. We bear the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control and so much more. There is no other fruit that can satisfy those around us. Christianity should result in us giving more of ourselves in each season. And in the giving we will find joy!
“Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.” Leaves are how a plant shows it’s health. You look for wilted leaves, brown spots, and then you know that there may be trouble. When we are planted in God’s word, the identity that He provides, we can live in health all the days of our lives. Now, I’m not talking about physical health; although a life without the stress and worry that comes from trying to find a place of fulfillment and peace is likely much healthier. No, I’m not talking about physical health at all. I’m talking about the kind of health that permeates relationships and organizations and even our inner thoughts. When we are healthy, when our families are healthy, when our organizations are healthy, we can grow strong. Healthy things grow. And healthy things prosper. It’s not two separate things; the one results in the other. And when we are healthy on the inside, when we are strong in our hearts, when we are prosperous in the ways that matter most, we find ourselves with a joy that lasts, day and night.