“Wickedness never brings stability, but the godly have deep roots.” – Proverbs 12:3 NLT
We live on about an acre of land that is covered with beautiful old oak trees. When we built our home there more than two decades ago, we chose to place it on the one open spot on the entire property because we didn’t want to remove a single tree. In the 20-plus years we have lived there, we have left about half the property uncultivated and wild. There is no sprinkler system and we do little in the way of maintenance or manicuring. Yet even in the driest times of the year, the oaks in that part of our property are just as green and lush as the ones that enjoy the daily dose of water I provide. Why is that? How come the trees that receive no water look just as good as the those that benefit from my generous sprinkling? The answer is simple. They have a different source. They don’t need my water because they get what they need from somewhere else. They have sunk their roots deep into the soil and have tapped into a water supply that I can’t see. They are not dependent on my meager supply, but have discovered a virtually limitless flow of cool, clear water that more than meets their needs – regardless of the weather.
In this Proverb, we are reminded that the godly also have deep roots. “The godly are well rooted and bear their own fruit” (Proverbs 12:12b NLT). The image of the “root” (שֹׁרֶשׁ, shoresh) is a word picture that emphasizes the security and stability of the righteous. Those who are wise, or godly, have sunk their roots deep into the soil of God’s gracious love, and are firmly planted. They are not only nourished as a result, but they can’t be uprooted. David described these people as “trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do” (Psalm 1:3 NLT). Elsewhere in the Psalms we read, “But the godly will flourish like palm trees and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon. For they are transplanted to the Lord’s own house. They flourish in the courts of our God. Even in old age they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green” (Psalm 92:12-14 NLT).
There is a permanency and vitality to the life of the godly. When we seek our roots deep into God’s unchanging faithfulness, we find ourselves with a firm foundation and a reliable, unfailing source of sustenance. The winds may blow, but we hold firm. The droughts may come, but we never thirst. The same can’t be said for the wicked. Those who refuse to place their trust in God find themselves on shaky ground. They end up trying to quench their thirsts from other sources that dry up and never quite fill up their need. God put it this way in the book of Jeremiah: “Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans, who rely on human strength and turn their hearts away from the Lord. They are like stunted shrubs in the desert, with no hope for the future. They will live in the barren wilderness, in an uninhabited salty land. But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit” (Jeremiah 17:5-8 NLT).
Deep roots are a metaphor for trust. When we trust in God, it is as if we have sunk our roots deep into a limitless source of refreshing, life-giving water. We can handle the droughts of life. We can withstand the storms of life. Our roots are strong. Our foundation is firm. Our hope is secure. In God!
Father, I want to sink my roots into Your firm foundation. I want to place my trust in You and not in “mere humans.” I don’t want to end up like a stunted shrub in the desert with no hope for the future. Keep teaching me to trust in You for all that I need. Nothing else can substitute for You. Amen.
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men