Worship Gatherings: Sundays @ 9:30 AM | Wednesdays @ 6:30 PM

Trees

Trees have been on my mind. Around here, they’re starting to turn. A few of the maple trees have already broken into fiery bright orange. It’s almost cliché to say this, but Fall is my favorite season. Every year I get nostalgic in the Fall. Lots of great things happened to me in the Fall. I met my wife in the Fall. We got married in the Fall. I have lots of fond memories of bonfires and costume parties from my youth. But this morning, the trees are stealing the show.

It’s not the foliage, although it is beautiful. But instead, the life cycle of a tree has captivated me. Trees represent something. The Word of God is replete with important things happening around trees. Two trees in the middle of the Lord’s garden had great significance. The Tree of Life represented the ongoing, eternal life we were designed to enjoy with the Lord. The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil symbolized a life of ongoing death separated from fellowship with the Lord. Of course, mankind was deceived into choosing a life of ongoing death, which brought a curse, and severed us from the Tree of Life.

The Word of God is replete with important things happening around trees.

After that, trees were pivotal in the rescue of Noah’s family from the flood. The Lord had Noah build an ark out of Gopher trees. The English word wood is used in Genesis 6:14, but the Hebrew word often means tree. A little farther along, and the Lord appears to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre (Genesis 18:1).

Fast-forward again, and the Hebrew word for tree is in Genesis 22:6, where it says that Abraham took the tree (wood) of the burnt offering and laid it on his son, Isaac.

And of course, Jesus was hung on a cross, but the Apostles also used the metaphor hung on a tree. They did this because it was a tie-in with the Law of Moses, where it says anyone hanged on a tree is cursed (Deuteronomy 21:22-23).

Then go all the way to the end of the Bible, and what is there? A tree. The Tree of Life is made available to God’s human family once again (Revelation 22:2).

His people will be like healthy trees.

This isn’t a comprehensive list of important moments with trees, but it should be enough to whet your appetite. Trees mean something. So, what do they mean right now? Does every tree mean something? Should we be thinking about trees differently? Should we find a new respect for trees?

Yes.

I’m not talking about some kind of hippie-dippy tree-hugging, although I’m an advocate for responsible forestry and conservation. What I am talking about is messaging. What is the Lord saying to us through creation, specifically through trees? Twice He used trees as instrumental parts of saving humanity: the ark and the cross. He has a plan for trees in the New Jerusalem with the Tree of Life. So, in the here and now, what do trees tell us about God’s plan?

For one, the Lord tells us that His people will be like healthy trees.

He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. – Psalm 1:3

The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. – Psalm 92:12

A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit. – Proverbs 15:4

So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. – Matthew 7:17

The theme of trees is threaded throughout the entire Bible, and often God’s people are compared to them. The prophets and Jesus even go the other direction and compare rebellious Israel to unhealthy trees.  You could say that the Bible ties people and trees together in a cohabitation. Wherever people are, there will be trees. Unsurprisingly, God’s dwelling on earth and the places he often appeared to people had trees.

The Garden of Eden was filled with trees. The Tabernacle had a symbolic tree in the golden lampstand; it had flowers, branches, and was essentially modeled after a flowering almond tree. God appeared to Abraham and Gideon under trees. In fact, trees are mentioned in the Bible more frequently than any other living creature after God and people.

But here’s my favorite. The life cycle of trees is a constant reminder of God’s plan for His people. Right now, the trees are “dying.” Their leaves are changing color, and likely by the middle of next month, they’ll be mostly fallen. All winter long, the trees will remain bare of any sign of life. By all appearances, they’ll be dead. Then somewhere around the middle to the end of March, life will emerge. The leaves will begin to bud, and what was “dead” will come to life again. The trees remind us of resurrection. God built into the trees a yearly reminder of His intentions for His people: to raise us from death, just like He raised His Son, Jesus.

But the reminder isn’t limited to our ultimate resurrection. God can and does raise us again and again from the ashes of our ruins. Your bad choices, your poor judgment, and every step you’ve taken in the wrong direction that has sown death and sorrow into your life will never be too much for God to resurrect. Look at the trees. New life blooms again and again, with the passing of each year. All you must do is plant yourself in Jesus the way the tree is planted by streams of water. If you do that, though it may take time to see fruit, you will see resurrection power blow through your life.

The trees remind us of resurrection.

I know that this sounds perhaps a little strange, but trees have meaning. It would do our souls well to restore some of the wonders that modern life has stolen. The Lord has built creation in a way that speaks to us. It contains divine messaging. Not in the sense that we don’t need the Word. In fact, we need the Word to even know what creation is saying to us. The divine messaging of creation points us to the Creator. The trees tell us something. Let them encourage you and remind you of God’s promise and His faithfulness.

Related Posts

No Comments