The Tree of Life plays a significant role in the relationship between God and man. Brad explores that relationship and considers some other Biblical trees.
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Trees – One of God’s Grandest Creations
There they were as if for the first time, appearing as an honor guard reaching up to the sky. Even though I’ve walked by this bank of trees my entire life…I’d not noticed them in any significant way. It’s funny what jumps out at you when it’s contrasted differently… branches stark and motionless, yet bold against the grey of a dark spring sky.
I imagined them as having voices and it seemed as if they would be quietly and reverently and collectively lifting those voices to praise God. Maybe that thought rose out of a desire for fellowship in greater numbers. It can sometimes feel lonely on an old country road in an ageing community; where Jesus words in Matt 18:20 “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them”…..can be experienced quite literally. How wonderful if those trees were able to take on human form and gather with likeminded believers, infusing our small gathering and lifting their praises to their creator.
I was reminded of the many ways that all things in God’s creation bear testimony to him and draw out praise and adoration. Certainly the Bible places much significance on one of God’s grandest creations…..TREES.
The trees significance is found in hundreds of passages from Genesis to Revelation, and makes its entrance early and prominently at the onset of created man’s story: Adam and Eve and the tree of life….the tree of good and evil.
“And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.”Gen 2- 8,9
God chose the tree as his representative of moral consciousness…to contrast good and evil. And throughout the divine pages, we see the TREE; its stature, its strength, its branches, its shade, it’s fruit, and fragrances all being utilized in mighty ways to draw us to a remembrance of the LORD our God.
A powerful example of the tree utilized in Old Testament deliverance is found in that of Noah and the ark. God declares; “Make thee an ark of gopher wood.”
Imagine the number of trees required, and the slow and laborious process for Noah…. in cutting down, and hewing out each tree to become a part fitted just so in Gods grand vessel.
“with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark” What a beautiful picture of God using the “tree”, something so firmly rooted in the earth, yet by the power of God and his covenantal promise; that wooden vessel able to float and rise above the grave waters of destruction.
Psalm 96: 11, 12 “Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof. Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice”
And what would signify the end of this colossal destruction? God instructed Noah, and “he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground… But the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark; And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth.”
The leaf from a TREE. Life anew.
A Tree Beside Water
Our God desires that all men have this life anew, welling up inside us. God blesses a Godly life. The very first Psalm in speaking of men whose hearts desires are for the things of the LORD, makes an analogy to a tree… “And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” Psalm 1:3
We are reminded of restoration, and comfort in Psalm 23… the most well known Psalm…“ Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Psalm 23:4
The rod and his staff…wooden vessels of his glorious creation.
The Most Significant “Tree of Life”
But unequivocally, without question…the most poignant and powerful example of the significance of a tree, is found upon the hill of Golgotha.
On a hill far away, stood an old rugged cross,
the emblem of suffering and shame.
And I love that old cross, for the dearest and best,
for a world of lost sinners was slain.
Can we fathom, I dare say not; that it was not by chance or random occurrence; but that God the Father appointed a tiny seedling, to grow, and to stretch out to the sky, a green tree…to be hewn down at the appointed time, handled by vile man, to be fashioned into…. and to become that instrument of death. But not just any death…. the death of the only begotten…..the very Son of GOD.
Oh the love that drew salvations plan,
Oh the grace that brought it down to man.
Oh the mighty gulf that God did span,
The Curse of the Tree
Colossians 3:13 reminds us: “cursed is any man who hangs on a tree”.
But it shouts out to us as well that….“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us”
Oh the deliverance and the boundless love of God embodied in the one who allowed himself to “become sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might become the righteousness of God in him.”
We read in Colossians as well, that like a tree, we can be “Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as we have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.”
As we go about our day, it’s most probable, that the one thing we may encounter, with simple a glance of our eye….is a stately “TREE”…. a testament rich in a so many ways to Gods boundless love, grace, mercy and power.
May we like trees, bear much fruit, and seek to honor God as we are rooted in him.
“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, And he who is wise wins souls.” Prov 11:30
Images Courtesy Of:
Solitary Tree – SkitterPhoto
Apple – pixel2013
Ark – Pixikus
Dove – Janson_G
Tree – Stafichukanatoly
Brad offers up practical, scriptural advice from a perspective borne out of everyday life encounters. As we live and move and have our being…it’s the individual life lessons that most often present the greatest challenges, but can yield the richest blessings. We’ve all, as Christians had those faith affirming moments, where we’ve had an overwhelming sense of God’s spirit, or his very presence “at a particular but, maybe random time”.
Brad was born and still resides in a small community in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia, where he and his wife Karen raised their 3 children. Brad & Karen fellowship at the Greenland Bible Chapel, where Brad serves as an elder. Brad loves meeting and engaging with people. His background in sales has provided opportunities to travel throughout the US and Canada, networking with people from all walks of life. Brad is a singer/songwriter, and has recorded 3 Christian albums. Songs from his “Brighter Day” release, have aired on Christian Radio stations across Canada and two of Brad’s albums are on HopeStreamRadio’s playlist.
Nan Jones – Hope Springs Eternal
Nathan Diaz – Origen
New Life Prison Ministry – Vinny-A Very Downward Spiral
Phil Barnes – Change In The World of Missions