The tree that does not wither.

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A life of integrity ensures a long and fruitful ministry.

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During a recent trip to Austin, my wife and I had the opportunity to admire some oak trees that are more than a hundred years old. As you can see in this picture, they are fully alive and growing.
tells us about the tree that does not wither.
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shows a contrast between the righteous and the wicked. The wicked man is portrayed as a chaff driven by the wind... while the righteous man is compared to a strong and live tree that does not wither. Such man or woman is greatly blessed: How blessed is the man...
Who doesn’t want to have a life like that? The problem is that not all want to have the price to have it!
How is the man whose life does not wither?

He’s careful to choose his friends.

Your friends can make you or break you! Build you up or destroy you!
Your friends are an indicator of your moral and spiritual values. If your friends are drunkards, probably you like drinking; if your friends are thieves, probably you are one too or do not see anything wrong with stealing; if liars…; etc.
That’s why the Bible clearly warns us:
1 Corinthians 15:33 NASB95
Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.”
In common language, “if you walk with wolves, you will learn to howl”...
The righteous is careful and wise when choosing his friends.
Such wise choosing is shown as avoiding the advice of the wicked.

Avoiding the advice of the wicked. 1

Although the word “counsel” may refer to a group of people that make decisions, here means “advice, purpose, recommendation”.
“walk” is used in both Testaments as a synonym of “living”.
Therefore, the righteous man does not live according to the advice given by the wicked.
The consequences of following their advice may be serious and painful: all the relatives of Dathan y Abiram died plus 250 who were offering incense because they followed the advice of Dathan and Abiram who opposed to Moses and Aaron.
Numbers 16:24–32 LBLA
24 Habla a la congregación, y diles: “Alejaos de los alrededores de las tiendas de Coré, Datán y Abiram.” 25 Entonces se levantó Moisés y fue a Datán y a Abiram, y le seguían los ancianos de Israel, 26 y habló a la congregación, diciendo: Apartaos ahora de las tiendas de estos malvados, y no toquéis nada que les pertenezca, no sea que perezcáis con todo su pecado. 27 Se retiraron, pues, de los alrededores de las tiendas de Coré, Datán y Abiram; y Datán y Abiram salieron y se pusieron a la puerta de sus tiendas, junto con sus mujeres, sus hijos y sus pequeños. 28 Y Moisés dijo: En esto conoceréis que el Señor me ha enviado para hacer todas estas obras, y que no es iniciativa mía: 29 si éstos mueren como mueren todos los hombres o si sufren la suerte de todos los hombres, entonces el Señor no me envió. 30 Pero si el Señor hace algo enteramente nuevo y la tierra abre su boca y los traga con todo lo que les pertenece, y descienden vivos al Seol, entonces sabréis que estos hombres han menospreciado al Señor. 31 Y aconteció que cuando terminó de hablar todas estas palabras, la tierra debajo de ellos se partió, 32 y la tierra abrió su boca y se los tragó, a ellos y a sus casas y a todos los hombres de Coré con todos sus bienes.
Num 16:24-32
Advice from the wicked will suck the sap of your life!
Who do you seek counsel from?
He is also careful choosing his friends by:

Avoiding participation with sinners and scorners.

Despite being a murderer, God had mercy on Moses and chose him to take God’s people out of Egypt and be their leader. His brother Aaron committed a great fault by pleasing the people and making an idol for them to worship. God was merciful to him and chose him to be their spiritual leader. They were sanctified, set apart for God’s service.
The people of Israel did not learn from the punishment received by the complainers and scorners of Moses and Aaron’s ministry. They participated too!
The very next day, they continued complaining about their leaders and saying “It is your fault! Those people died because of you!”. Such complaining and murmur displeased God who sent a plague over them and another 14,700 died. Their trees withered!
To make it clear, God gave them another proof as His approval of Aaron as their spiritual leader. How did He do it? By making Aaron’s rod to sprout….. A way of showing that He was as a tree that had not withered.
Throughout my ministry, I have seen the trees of many Dathans and Abirams wither; without exception all people who opposed my ministry are withered, and without fruit. None of them is pastoring, so far!
The righteous tree does not wither because...

His delights is in the Word.

his delight is in the law of the Lord” v. 2

He comes to the Word everyday.

And in His law he meditates day and night.” v. 2b
He sees it, not as an obligation, but as a delight, a pleasure.
The righteous acknowledges his need of God’s direction and wisdom and he knows that the only way to get it is thru the Bible. Divine guidance is not given thru newspapers or self-help books, only thru the Bible! That should be our daily bread!
The instruction Moses gave to Joshua, if he wanted to be successful, was:
Joshua 1:8 NASB95
8 This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.

He is like a well-fed tree.

He is like a well-fed tree.

firmly planted by streams of water” v. 3
When there is a drought, trees wither or dry. When there is abundant water and a rich soil, they grow and become strong.
Many trees died during the recent drought, but none of those next to rivers. They are well-fed because they are planted next to stream. They get their daily nutrients.
The progressive withering of many Christians is usually like this: first, they neglect daily Bible reading; next, they stop attending midweek Bible studies; then, Sunday School; and last, worship services. The trees do not wither from one day to the other; it is progressive!

His life is fruitful and prosperous. 3

Fruitful in its season.

Have you ever seen a tree that is fruitful all year round? I have not! I have heard that there are very few varieties, but I never seen them.
Every tree has it season! Some Christians give fruit all year round, but the majority has their season. There is a problem with the tree if season after season does not produce any fruit. There is also a problem when year after year you do not see fruit in the life of a Christian! Maybe he is a withered tree or even worse, maybe he is chaff!
What happened to the fig tree where Jesus went to look for fruit and found none? It withered!
The righteous is actively producing fruit: the fruit of the Spirit, fruit of lips that confess Jesus’ name, and fruit for Christ (souls rescued from the enemy).

Always verdant.

Although some may consider it beautiful, for me, a winter scene with all the trees dried and without leaves is sad and depressing! I prefer to see verdant trees!
Their green color indicates life!
What is the color of the chaff (the wicked)? Beige! It is dead!
What is the color of your leaves? If green, make sure that you produce fruit. If beige, you need the abundant life that only Jesus can give you...
If some of your leaves are green, but some are turning beige, you need a prune! Get rid of those things that are killing your tree. Ask God to clean you up!
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