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He will be like a tree planted by the streams of water
that brings forth its fruit in its season,
whose leaf also does not wither.
And in whatever he does, he prospers. Bible

“planted.” The Hebrew word is shathal (#08362 שָׁתַל), and it means “to plant” or “to transplant.” The proximity of a tree to water is a matter of life or death. If it has a constant flow of water, it will flourish. This is what God promises to the person who delights in, and meditates on, God’s Torah—he will flourish. Notice that the verse does not say, “He will be like a tree growing by the stream” as if the tree grew there by itself and by chance. No, this tree in Psalm 1:3 was specifically “planted” (or transplanted) there beside the stream. In the same way, if we are going to flourish in this life and the next, we have to “plant ourselves” in the Torah and in God’s Word. We humans will not think and act in a truly godly manner if we just act out of our natural impulses and desires. It takes a deliberate effort to be “transformed” (Rom. 12:2) and have a godly heart and mind. Notice, however, that the Psalmist regards this behavior as the appropriate activity of the righteous without any hint of legalism—it flows from a heart of love and devotion.


Commentary for: Psalms 1:3