Standing in the Deep

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Original photo by Crowbared 

Daily Reformation, Psalm 1:1-6

From the Reformer

There is in the words an implied contrast between the vigor of a tree planted in a situation well watered, and the decayed appearance of one which, although it may flourish beautifully for a time, yet soon withers on account of the barrenness of the soil in which it is placed. With respect to the ungodly, as we shall afterwards see, (Ps 37:35) they are sometimes like “the cedars of Lebanon.” They have such an overflowing abundance of wealth and honors, that nothing seems wanting to their present happiness. But however high they may be raised, and however far and wide they may spread their branches, yet having no root in the ground, nor even a sufficiency of moisture from which they may derive nourishment, the whole of their beauty by and by disappears, and withers away. It is, therefore, the blessing of God alone which preserves any in a prosperous condition.

—John Calvin, Commentary on the Book of Psalms

Pulling It Together

Hurricane Fran slammed the North Carolina coast in 1996 and traveled hundreds of miles inland, destroying most everything in her path. A particular home was noted by everyone who passed as being the one that sustained the most damage in the neighborhood. 52 tall trees on one small lot had been knocked over, piling up like kitchen matches spilled from the box. The trees might have simply sustained limb damage or a few of them have their tops twisted off by the spin-off tornado-like activity that occurs at the end of a hurricane’s path. Yet because of the red clay called soil in that part of North Carolina, trees spread their roots out across the surface for water. The roots do not go deep. The result is the thick pine green quickly noticed by visitors to the State. The other result is that when the winds blow, they fall over and out of the ground entirely. They die for lack of a deep root system.

Spread out your roots into this system and that religion and another pop-psychology and your may feel just as fine as a North Carolina pine. But unless your roots go deeply in God through his word, when the winds come, you will not likely prevail—let alone stand in the judgment.

© Mark E. Ryman, Daily Reformation: Devotions with the Reformers

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