#blessed: Lesson 6
I can’t believe we’re at the end of our study. I hope you have been as blessed;) from studying blessedness as I have!
We have a lot to cover in this final lesson, so we’re going to jump right into it. Let’s get started by looking at verse 3 of the passage in the Psalm we’ve been studying. Remember, this verse is still describing the esher blessed person:
He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. (Psalm 1:3, NIV)
This lesson will bring us all the way back to where we started - talking about fruitfulness. Once again, this is where all blessedness collides. ALL blessedness involves fruitfulness - blessed to be a blessing!
The verse begins by saying this blessed person is like a tree planted by streams of water.
We’ll get into the symbolism of the tree in just a second, but there are a couple things I want to point out about this little simile. The word streams in this verse isn’t the type of stream you’re probably imagining. It means “channels” or “canals,” and it is in reference to an ancient irrigation system. It represents a place of extreme fertility in which the tree is actually being irrigated by its water source.
How cool is it that?!
The passage also says this tree is planted. It is not growing randomly, sprouting up by chance somewhere. It is purposefully and strategically planted.
There is nothing accidental or random about who you are or where you are. Nothing.
God plants us in a place in which He will be the ever-present Supplier of all our needs. EVERY detail of who we are and EVERY place we’re planted is purposeful!
Now, something surprised me when I looked up the definition of the Hebrew word translated planted in this verse - the word actually means “to transplant.”
Oh here we go…Scripture is full of so many awesome things when we dig in!
The definition of the word transplant on dictionary.com is this: “to remove (a plant) from one place and plant it in another.”
Have you ever been a transplant? Have you ever felt like a transplant? Maybe you’ve been...
transplanted from the coast living in the midwest.
transplanted from the south living in the north.
transplanted from the country living in the city.
Or, our place of transplant might not even be a place, it might be a role...
transplanted from full-time ministry into corporate America.
transplanted from one professional field into another.
transplanted from corporate America into full-time motherhood.
I’ve realized something, being a transplant myself at the moment: all feelings of being a transplant involve our identity. Who am I, and where do I belong?
I’ve lived in large suburbs of big cities my whole life, and now I am living on hundreds of acres in a very small town. We uprooted our children, walked away from our beloved church home, and I let go of the role I held professionally as President and Executive Director of Unlock Freedom.
And I’m not going to lie, I’ve felt it.
But what I’ve discovered in this season is the real struggle lies in the fact that I’ve come face-to-face with whether or not I’m truly content to find my identity in Christ alone. And that’s when it hit me: when we are in Christ, we are ALL transplants.
I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. (John 17:15-16, ESV)
If we are trying to find our identity in the culture of our earthly home, then we are missing the fact that our true identity is found in the culture of our heavenly home!
So many people today are striving to find their identity within their pursuits or achievements. However, there is not a place, a role, nor an achievement that will allow our soul to be at rest within that identity. The ONLY place to find rest in our identity is when we realize that it is simply found “in Christ.” He IS our identity. When we place our lives in the nail-scarred hands of Jesus Christ, our old life is completely uprooted, and we are wholly transplanted into a new life with a new identity.
I want to show you another passage in which this same word for planted is used:
The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted [transplanted] in the house of the LORD; they flourish in the courts of our God. They still bear fruit in old age; (Psalm 92:12-14a, ESV)
Both trees mentioned in the verse above (the palm and cedar) are symbols of longevity and growth, as both are green all year and grow large in size. This verse says the righteous, who will flourish like these trees, are planted [or have been transplanted] in the house of the LORD and that they flourish in the courts of God.
Just as we discussed last week, this doesn’t mean we only flourish when we work in full-time ministry within the walls of a church (although I believe we should all serve our local church in some capacity throughout our lives). This takes us back to the same thing we talked about last week - that when we are in Christ we become the house of God because the Holy Spirit dwells within us. We are transplanted from being of the world to being of the LORD, and in that place we flourish (regardless of our physical location). It says we will still be bearing fruit in old age!
I know some pretty amazing men and women who are still impacting the world around them in what could be considered old age;) Oh how I want to be like that!
Okay, let’s take a look back at Psalm 1:3, but this time in the ESV translation. There are two small, seemingly insignificant words found in the original text which the NIV translation omits. I’ve highlighted them below:
He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.
You might be able to guess where I’m going with this:) These two little possessive pronouns jumped out at me when I was studying for this lesson because this truth is sometimes SO difficult for us to learn.
In a culture inundated with social media highlight reels, how much time do we waste trying to (or wishing we could) produce peaches when God created us to produce apples?!
OR, if we want to get really real, how much time do we spend judging others for not producing peaches when they’re an apple tree?!
God created us, planted us, and waters us to produce OUR unique fruit in OUR unique season.