THE REFUGE DEVOTIONAL
The Psalmist, who is thought to be David, makes a comparison between a godly man who pursues righteousness and a tree that has been planted near streams of water. In contrast, notice that the gardner took careful thought as to where he would plant the tree. He sought out the entire vineyard looking for a very specific place; a place where the soil showed to be the richest, where the grass was already green and growing in its fullest measure. This had to be a place that was supplied by, not just one stream, but by many streams of water. The gardner had to make sure the tree was planted in a place where it would get its vital necessities for growth. It had to be a place where the sun would shine on it in all of its power, and where the streams of water were flowing so as its roots grew down into the earth it would suck in its nourishment; anchoring it deep into the ground.
The gardner had a purpose for this tree, it would have to survive the storms of its age, not being uprooted by the fiercest of winds, and it would have to survive the coldest of all winters.
This tree was planted with great intention to grow to its full potential. The gardner knew this tree would one day become a refuge for travelers providing fruit and shade in the hottest of seasons. It would become a safe haven for the birds of the air to nest in, also providing a resting place for the beast of the field. When the gardner found the perfect place, he planted the tree firmly into the ground, tending to it daily with care.
Those who are saved are compared to this tree. They have been called by God by divine grace; it is not their own doing, but it is the will of God, who is the sustainer of life.
God, in His great mercy, carefully looks down upon His beloved and tends them in the season of their ignorance, when their eyes are blinded to His love because of the corruption of sin. He guides them with a delicate hand in their lost estate keeping them from total ruin. When they astray too far He says to them, as He does the mighty oceans when He set their boundaries, you shall go no further.
The Lord’s protecting hand, then turns them with love. He watches over them until the perfect time He had decreed before the foundations of the world to awaken them. Then He positions them in their proper place where He begins to reveal Himself to them.
Like the gardner who planted the tree, God himself, plants them firmly in His church which He carefully sought out for them and begins to call their name as He did His servant Samuel. The Lord tends to their needs using His other servants who have gone before them; those who are rooted and grounded in His eternal truth.
Then when the fullness of time comes, the season being ripe for the harvest, the Master looks down upon His beloved and says to them, “Awake my child, arise, come unto me.” Instantly, saving faith penetrates their heart and their eyes become open. Like Isaiah they realize they are in the presence of a Holy God and recognize they are unclean and live amongst an unclean people.
They cry as Peter, “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!” Then the mercy of Jesus, who knew them before they were ever born, flies to them with haste. He shows them the cross where He bled and died for their sins. When the poor sinners see the excellence of Christ death on the cross, they sense the beauty and the loveliness of God’s plan for salvation.
Their minds become convinced that it is of God and they believe in Jesus as their Lord and Savior with all of their heart. A new song springs forth out of the deepest affections of their soul and they begin to sing songs such as, “What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus; What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. Oh! precious is the flow That makes me white as snow; No other fount I know, Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”
“He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers.
Psalm 1:3 NASBS