Captivated with Truth
A Lenten Devotion
The Rev. Jason R. Grote
Tv and media constantly captivate people in the world today.. Real life events are brought into our homes and cars via newspapers, tv programs, radio shows, and the internet. They provide us with the ‘up-to-date’--’the latest breaking news’ concerning what ever it is that seems to be at the center of societies attention. A few years ago it was the Presidential scandal of Bill Clinton. A few months ago it was the war in Iraq.
People will ‘tune in’ to hear any, and I mean any, tidbit of information that they can get their hands on. They will seek to find any clues that might complete the puzzle or establish a definite answer about something. Full conversations and arguments were held over the ‘scandal’or the war. People devote their time and attention to these things.
What is everyone interested in? Most people are curious and in search of the truth.. They want to hear something concrete that will put their minds and consciences at ease. They want to have the confusion cleared. But in doing so they take the media as their foundation. Their whole attention, devotion, conclusions, and beliefs lie in half-truths, over-fabricated stories, and part-realities. And this is actually part of the appeal because it allows them to be the final determiner of what is true and not true.
As this applies to secular matters so it also applies to people in regards to God, Christ, and Christianity. People hear half-truths and claims that seem to have authority. But, in reality, they are nothing but fabricated and false stories. People then take these falsehoods and run with them on their own only to derive at some false belief. And it is a false belief because it founded upon some false premise and foundation.
All this attention. All this devotion. To what? To knowing the truth. In some it is to destroy the truth. And in others it is an honest search. But all the searching is done in vain because the sources being relied upon aren’t true.
Turn with me if you will to Psalm one. This Psalm compares the righteous man and the unrighteous man. Speaking of the righteous man the Psalmist says, “but his delight is in the law of the lord, and in his law he mediates day and night." The Psalmist tells us exactly what to and where to apply all of our devotion and attention.
First he says that our devotion is to be to the law, or the ways of the Lord. Our consideration is to be in God’s established ways. All of our thoughts and derivations are to be based and founded upon His truth as revealed in His holy Word as opposed to the ways and so-called truths that others put forth.
And after establishing the sure foundation, the impenetrable wall of where our thoughts are to rest, the Psalmist tells us the extent of our consideration and belief. Is it to be when we want to do it? Is it when things aren’t going well and we need answers? Or how about when things are going well? It is to be as verse 2 says, “day and night”. That is a way of saying, all the time, without ceasing.
What is it all for? So that we will be as verse 1 says, ‘blessed’. This doesn’t mean happy as some say or as the kids song says, ‘happy all the time’. What kind of blessing is it then?
Look at verse 3, “he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in it season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.” This verse is a combination of the beginning of verse 1 and verse 2. As verse 2 states that we ought to meditate day and night in his ways and verse 1 tells us that we are blessed by it, verse 3 reiterates it with imagery and continues on with what the blessing is.
We are a tree that is planted by the rivers of water. As we all know, water is what sustains a tree. Without it a tree will wither and die. And that water which keeps us strong is His truth. It is not simply a watering here or there poured out with some pot when ever it is necessary. It is a river-- a flowing and unceasing source of nurture.
Moving down in verse 3. As a tree in it’s season brings forth fruit so also will we, having the water source of God’s truth flowing within us begin to bud and flourish. It’s not an instantaneous maturation but a process. And this is good imagery here against today’s misconception of what the result is of ‘accepting the Lord as your Savior’. The notion that there is some sudden renovation that will result in a dramatic change in life-style and demeanor right away. In keeping with this imagery, let me ask this question, Who would chop a tree down in it’s early stages because it does not bear the fruit of a matured tree? Noone!! But when it comes to Christians people are very willing to do it.
Returning again to the next line of verse 3, ‘whose leaf also shall not wither’. Once the tree has bloomed, it’s fruit has been born, and it’s have leaves sprouted -- it shall not die. It will remain in bloom. Just as the leaves of the palm trees in Hawaii are always out, the leaves and fruit which stem from within our God nurtured lives will always be out in sight for all to see. They won’t turn brown, shrivel up and fall off. They will remain intact and will continue to prosper and flourish as the last line of verse 3 states.
The righteous are blessed with the strength of a tree, with unending nurture, with fruit and leaves that do not die, and with prosperity. Why? Because their beliefs, thoughts, and actions, are all centered, pointed to, and grounded in the truth of God!!
You can choose to follow ‘semi-truths’, ‘false teachings’, ‘over-exaggerated stories’, or even your own reason. But this is not the path which leads to blessing. It is the path that leads to false belief and the ways of the ungodly, which the end of psalm one states, “shall perish”.
When living out our christian lives, when seeking for answers, when looking for direction -- we need to ground ourselves in our belief in the truth of God.. All of it and not just certain aspects that we like.Our faith must be founded upon the truth of Jesus Christ, His death and resurrection, the truth of our salvation, and on the truth of God’s will as revealed in His holy Word.
It is the only foundation that will hold and support us. It
is the only one we should meditate on.. No other ‘so-called’ truths
can assure us of the blessings that God’s truth can. As everyone seems
to turn and be captivated by the ‘partial truths’ that media gives,
we as Christians need to be captivated and engrossed in the truth that God gives