The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life,
and the one who is wise saves lives.
The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life because good fruit comes from good trees. Jesus noted this. You can tell the heart of a person by the fruit he bears. One can try to imitate goodness, but if his heart is not good his outward goodness will appear superficial.
There is a difference between controlling one’s tongue from saying angry words and from not thinking of angry words at all. There certainly is a difference between learning to act good so as to get one’s way and taking delight in blessing others. Focus on righteousness and the good fruit will come. Make Christ the model of righteousness, and trust in him to provide that righteousness. A good tree is good because its roots draw rich nourishment. Find your nourishment in God’s Word, in Christ’s work, and in the Spirit’s indwelling.
Finally, seek to be a soul-winner. There are different ways to capture. There is the face-to-face witness, doing good deeds, being a good friend; writing, praying. One thing that stymies us is projecting activities that unnerve us and may be what we are not gifted in doing; often the result is missing out on opportunities given us. Thus, as we fret about doing street evangelism, we miss the opportunity given when our neighbor strikes up a conversation with us. We don’t need to ask God to give opportunity to witness, so much as to ask him to open our eyes to the many opportunities he already places before us.
Pray today that you will be a tree of life to your neighbor; pray that you may capture a soul through your love and good fruit. And thank God that he captured you!
2 Samuel 4-5
4 When Ish-Bosheth son of Saul heard that Abner had died in Hebron, he lost courage, and all Israel became alarmed. 2 Now Saul’s son had two men who were leaders of raiding bands. One was named Baanah and the other Rekab; they were sons of Rimmon the Beerothite from the tribe of Benjamin – Beeroth is considered part of Benjamin, 3 because the people of Beeroth fled to Gittaim and have resided there as foreigners to this day.
4 (Jonathan son of Saul had a son who was lame in both feet. He was five years old when the news about Saul and Jonathan came from Jezreel. His nurse picked him up and fled, but as she hurried to leave, he fell and became disabled. His name was Mephibosheth.)
5 Now Rekab and Baanah, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, set out for the house of Ish-Bosheth, and they arrived there in the heat of the day while he was taking his noonday rest. 6 They went into the inner part of the house as if to get some wheat, and they stabbed him in the stomach. Then Rekab and his brother Baanah slipped away.
7 They had gone into the house while he was lying on the bed in his bedroom. After they stabbed and killed him, they cut off his head. Taking it with them, they travelled all night by way of the Arabah. 8 They brought the head of Ish-Bosheth to David at Hebron and said to the king, ‘Here is the head of Ish-Bosheth son of Saul, your enemy, who tried to kill you. This day the Lord has avenged my lord the king against Saul and his offspring.’
9 David answered Rekab and his brother Baanah, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who has delivered me out of every trouble, 10 when someone told me, “Saul is dead,” and thought he was bringing good news, I seized him and put him to death in Ziklag. That was the reward I gave him for his news! 11 How much more – when wicked men have killed an innocent man in his own house and on his own bed – should I not now demand his blood from your hand and rid the earth of you!’
12 So David gave an order to his men, and they killed them. They cut off their hands and feet and hung the bodies by the pool in Hebron. But they took the head of Ish-Bosheth and buried it in Abner’s tomb at Hebron.
David becomes king over Israel
5 All the tribes of Israel came to David at Hebron and said, ‘We are your own flesh and blood. 2 In the past, while Saul was king over us, you were the one who led Israel on their military campaigns. And the Lord said to you, “You shall shepherd my people Israel, and you shall become their ruler.”’
3 When all the elders of Israel had come to King David at Hebron, the king made a covenant with them at Hebron before the Lord, and they anointed David king over Israel.
4 David was thirty years old when he became king, and he reigned for forty years. 5 In Hebron he reigned over Judah for seven years and six months, and in Jerusalem he reigned over all Israel and Judah for thirty-three years.
David conquers Jerusalem
6 The king and his men marched to Jerusalem to attack the Jebusites, who lived there. The Jebusites said to David, ‘You will not get in here; even the blind and the lame can ward you off.’ They thought, ‘David cannot get in here.’ 7 Nevertheless, David captured the fortress of Zion – which is the City of David.
8 On that day David had said, ‘Anyone who conquers the Jebusites will have to use the water shaft to reach those “lame and blind” who are David’s enemies.’ That is why they say, ‘The “blind and lame” will not enter the palace.’
9 David then took up residence in the fortress and called it the City of David. He built up the area around it, from the terraces inwards. 10 And he became more and more powerful, because the Lord God Almighty was with him.
11 Now Hiram king of Tyre sent envoys to David, along with cedar logs and carpenters and stonemasons, and they built a palace for David. 12 Then David knew that the Lord had established him as king over Israel and had exalted his kingdom for the sake of his people Israel.
13 After he left Hebron, David took more concubines and wives in Jerusalem, and more sons and daughters were born to him. 14 These are the names of the children born to him there: Shammua, Shobab, Nathan, Solomon, 15 Ibhar, Elishua, Nepheg, Japhia, 16 Elishama, Eliada and Eliphelet.
David defeats the Philistines
17 When the Philistines heard that David had been anointed king over Israel, they went up in full force to search for him, but David heard about it and went down to the stronghold. 18 Now the Philistines had come and spread out in the Valley of Rephaim; 19 so David enquired of the Lord, ‘Shall I go and attack the Philistines? Will you deliver them into my hands?’
The Lord answered him, ‘Go, for I will surely deliver the Philistines into your hands.’
20 So David went to Baal Perazim, and there he defeated them. He said, ‘As waters break out, the Lord has broken out against my enemies before me.’ So that place was called Baal Perazim. 21 The Philistines abandoned their idols there, and David and his men carried them off.
22 Once more the Philistines came up and spread out in the Valley of Rephaim; 23 so David enquired of the Lord, and he answered, ‘Do not go straight up, but circle round behind them and attack them in front of the poplar trees. 24 As soon as you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the poplar trees, move quickly, because that will mean the Lord has gone out in front of you to strike the Philistine army.’ 25 So David did as the Lord commanded him, and he struck down the Philistines all the way from Gibeon to Gezer.