“Whoever trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will flourish like a green leaf.”
Proverbs 11:28 (ESV)
Making the most of summer break, my daughter and I have been going on long bike rides, crossing four neighborhoods at a time on these hot July days. To be able to make it home, though, we stop along the way for water and snacks. One of our favorite places to stop is under a large shade tree on the edge of someone’s yard which also has a bubbling rock fountain behind it. It is so refreshing to sit in that shade, out of the hot sun, and hear the gurgling water behind us as we gulp from our water bottles and eat pretzels and Cheez-Its. We are so thankful for those wonderful, thick, green leaves that are filled with life, and in turn, restore vitality to us by shielding us from the sun and providing a cool spot to be refreshed.
Despite the searing heat of July, I wonder: How are these trees so filled with brilliant green leaves and so full of life? It is because they grow naturally, receiving all the water they need from one main source. They don’t go anywhere else for their needs. They simply grow as the root system of the tree provides for them.
Proverbs 11:28 reminds us that, like the tree, we do not need to look for life anywhere else. When we trust in anything other than the Lord, we will fall. Trusting in God brings about the righteousness that helps us flourish like the green leaves of a tree in spring and summer. Jeremiah 17:7-8 beautifully expresses the life of the righteous, whose trust is in the Lord:
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.” (NIV)
Just as the green leaves withstand the heat of July, the righteous who put their hope in the Lord will stand strong in times of trial and will not wither; they will remain full of life – evergreen.
Do you put your trust in the Lord? It is easy to find other things in which to trust: money, people, jobs, grades, physical strength, appearance, material items. Is there anything you trust more than the Lord for your life? Everything except Jesus will fade away (1 John 2:17, Matthew 24:35), and if your trust is in any of those other things, you will fall. Place all your trust in Jesus. Turn to him and be like the person described in Psalm 1:
“That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither – whatever they do prospers.” Psalm 1:3 (NIV)
Delight in God’s word and find refreshment to stay evergreen!