The Fruit of the Path
"And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper."
Robert Frost ended one of his best-known poems with the following lines:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Similarly, Psalm 1 concludes its song of the two ways by presenting where each will lead. Though every path has its own unique twists and turns, ups and downs, valleys and vistas—the path of God will always lead to spiritual life and blessing, while the paths of this world plunge travelers into death and destruction.
The Psalmist uses a second image to describe the person that delights in the Lord and His Law, comparing him with a tree rooted deeply into the bank of a river. As he abides there, his life bears fruit in God-appointed seasons.
The picture here brings to mind the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22–23) and the fruit of righteousness (Phil. 1:9–10), both of which grow by the inward work of Christ for God’s glory. God preserves this tree from destruction, and its leaves do not wither. So long as the tree draws life from the River, it will bear fruit. And as believers follow God’s path, His grace will lead them home.
The wicked find none of this blessing on their path (Ps. 1:4–6). None of their labors produce lasting fruit, but rather chaff, the empty husks left after the good seed is gleaned, which the winds of time and circumstance drive away. These people will also pass before the Lord, but they will not stand before His judgment. Their path will lead to the destruction of their lives and all their works.
Final Thought: Pursue God above all else, and you will rejoice to see His fruit in your life.
CJ Harris is the managing editor for Positive Action, where he helps plan, develop, and launch Bible curricula for churches and schools. Having served as a youth pastor and Sunday School teacher, he has a passion for teaching young people about the glories of their God. A bit of a history buff, CJ received his Ph.D. in Church History in 2011, based on a study of Reformation-era missions philosophy. He and his wife—also a student and teacher of history—have two sons.
Random fact: CJ loves every board game—with the possible exception of Candyland.