He is like a tree
Planted near streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
This tree is near streams of water, not just one stream, but many streams. Even if one stream fails, there is another. These are streams of grace, mercy, forgiveness: the Christ Stream and it will never fail.
In the driest of times, God can make fruit and vines grow. In the agony of pain and grief, there is a soaking in of the water of God Himself that can replenish like no other: His Presence.
The country of Israel is so dry. I grew up in Arizona, which is also so hot and dry. God’s Word is water to the weary in an extreme dry land (grief can be that dry land). But, He can make vines, palm groves, gardens, aloes, cedar trees, roots, all kinds of trees, and fruit flourish abundantly.
The fruit comes forth in season. “Patience in the time of suffering, faith in the day of trial, joy in the day of prosperity,” says Spurgeon.
And on the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither, nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing.
The Lord even keeps our leaves from withering. Who cares about the leaf? God does. He cares about the tiny details. In fact, the fruit is for nourishment and the leaves are for HEALING!
Whatever he does shall prosper.
We know this promise, yet our trials and troubles “see the very reverse of the promise…But to the eye of faith this word is sure, and by it we perceive that our works are prospered, even when everything seems to go against us. It is not outward prosperity which the Christian most desires and values: it is soul prosperity which He longs for” (Spurgeon).
There are circles within circles. Within the circle of God’s greater good are ferocious losses, crosses, and sorrows: “The devil hates this leaf and the Word of God, so does he also those who teach and hear it and he persecutes such, aided by the powers of the world” (Martin Luther). There is opposition to this leaf prospering.
In Genesis 42:36, Jacob’s sons return from Egypt after talking to their long-lost brother Joseph (they do not know it is Joseph) and they tell their father that they have to take Benjamin back to Egypt. Jacob is terrified to lose another son.
Jacob lamented, “‘You have bereaved me of my children: Joseph is no more, and Simeon is no more, and now you would take Benjamin. All this has come against me.’” His human grieving heart hurt hard and cried out in consternation.
Yet, the larger purpose was revealed—-this excruciating, illogical, crazy circumstance kept the Israelites fed and alive during the drastic famine and a remnant was saved for later deliverance.