In all that he does, he prospers.
Psalm 1:3 ESV
After describing how the blessed man is like a tree, the psalmist concludes verse 3 with this simple declaration: In all that he does, he prospers. This can easily be read as a sort of summary statement of everything that has come before it. A prosperous tree is certainly one that is rooted by streams of water, yields its fruit, and has unwithered leaves. He who delights in and meditates upon God’s Word is prosperous, for he has found that which is “more to be desired…than gold, even much fine gold” (Psalm 19:10). Indeed, the blessed man “who dwells in the shelter of the Most High” cannot be anything but prosperous while abiding “in the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91:1).
Yet we might be tempted to read this statement as hyperbole, especially whenever we consider it in the light of the multitude of passages that warn us of suffering and affliction within this life. However, I don’t believe that we have to write this declaration off as exaggeration to make way for pain and trial. Instead, the prosperity described within this psalm runs far deeper than our bank accounts or physical possessions can ever go. Indeed, this prosperity is guaranteed in Christ to even the poorest of believers.
I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
In Christ, Paul discovered eternal prosperity that is not dependent upon physical circumstances.
Yet notice that the text does not read, “In all that he has, he prospers.” No, this prosperity is not merely one of possession; instead, the blessed man has the assurance of knowing that all of his actions prosper. Through his meditation upon the Scriptures, he has bound himself to God’s Word, which has the assurance that it will succeed in what God has designed for it (Isaiah 55:11).
Furthermore, just as the prosperous tree yields fruit for others rather than itself, so too does the blessed man find his prosperity in the giving of himself for others. Of course, by blessing others, the blessed man truly begins to reflect the character of the Blessed One, who has abundantly blessed us!
Is this true of you? Is your view of prosperity bound to possessions and power or in possessing God’s Word and serving others? May we follow in the footsteps of our King, the embodied Word, who “came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).