Our Daily Bread (ODB) Devotional 3 October 2020 – The Tree Wisperer
ODB Devotional for November 3, 2020
The Tree Whisperer
By Patricia Raybon for ODB
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season.
Read: Psalm 1
Bible in a Year: Jeremiah 30–31; Philemon
Some call him the “tree whisperer.” Tony Rinaudo is, in fact, World Vision Australia’s tree maker. He’s a missionary and agronomist engaged in a thirty-year effort to share Jesus by combating deforestation across Africa’s Sahel, south of the Sahara.
Realizing stunted “shrubs” were actually dormant trees, Rinaudo started pruning, tending, and watering them. His work inspired hundreds of thousands of farmers to save their failing farms by restoring nearby forests, reversing soil erosion. Farmers in Niger, for example, have doubled their crops and their income, providing food for an additional 2.5 million people per year.
In John 15, Jesus, the creator of agriculture, referred to similar farming tactics when He said, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful” (vv. 1–2).
Without the daily tending of God, our souls grow barren and dry. When we delight in His law, however, meditating on it day and night, we are “like a tree planted by streams of water” (Psalm 1:3). Our leaves will “not wither” and “whatever [we] do prospers” (v. 3). Pruned and planted in Him, we’re evergreen—revived and thriving.
Where and how do you sense your soul being tended by God? What do you do to “delight” in Scripture?
O Gardener God, I yield my stunted places to Your pruning and watering, surrendering my dry places to grow green and revived in You.
Psalm 1:1 uses two literary devices: synthetic parallelism and tricolon. In synthetic parallelism, the second line restates or builds on the first line. A tricolon uses three parallel phrases or words in quick succession without interruption.
In three statements (tricolon) that build on one another (synthetic parallelism), the opening statement of the psalter describes what the blessed person doesn’t do: he doesn’t “walk in step with the wicked,” “stand in the way that sinners take,” or “sit in the company of mockers.” To walk with someone is to be associated with them, but not as intimately as standing or sitting with them. Mockers are the culmination of the list because they not only participate in evil themselves but mock those who pursue righteousness.
In contrast, verse 2 describes what the blessed do: they’re consumed with the law of God and meditate on it day and night. The phrase “day and night” depicts totality. The blessed can think of nothing other than God’s instructions.
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