Job 14:7-14 “For there is hope for a tree, if it is cut down, that it will sprout again, and that its tender shoots will not cease. Though its root may grow old in the earth, And its stump may die in the ground, yet at the scent of water it will bud and bring forth branches like a plant. But man dies and is laid away; indeed he breathes his last and where is he? As water disappears from the sea, and a river becomes parched and dries up, so man lies down and does not rise. Till the heavens are no more, they will not awake nor be roused from their sleep. ‘Oh, that You would hide me in the grave, that You would conceal me until Your wrath is past, that You would appoint me a set time, and remember me!’ If a man dies, shall he live again? All the days of my hard service I will wait, till my change comes.”
This week, our Wednesday night Topical Bible Study is on the wonder of the tree; this mostly forgotten and taken-for-granted creation of God, that without in the world would mean the end of life as we know it. Genesis 1:31 tells us: “Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.” From this we understand that God cares for, rejoices over, is good to, and loves what He has created. When we enter the woods or merely rest in the shade of a majestic tree, do we sense God’s pleasure in the works of God in the creation? Do we consider the emanations of the sweet benevolence of Jesus Christ and His infinite joy, kindness and graciousness? Do we see His love and purity; the shadows of His beauty and loveliness, full of benevolent design? All reveal the wisdom of their Maker. Glory to the one Lord; praise to the great Designer. Many today fail to distinguish between the tree and the tree’s Creator. When we walk into a forest, we are properly awed. Wherever His work is being faithfully carried out, wherever His will is honored and respected, wherever praise is flowing forth in honor of the Creator, there indeed is a cathedral.
“I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree. A tree whose hungry mouth is prest, against the earth's sweet flowing breast; A tree that looks at God all day, and lifts her leafy arms to pray.” – Joyce Kilmer
Trees are the largest, tallest and oldest living things on the planet, but perhaps more impressive is the work that all trees accomplish and the benefits they provide for the remainder of the earth’s biosphere. Here is a list of some of the things that trees do for us: (1) Produce and provide oxygen, (2) Moderate global temperatures, (3) Enhance Rainfall, (4) Collect and absorb dust and other atmospheric pollutants, (5) Produce and protect healthy soil, (6) Provide food – like fruits and nuts, (7) Provide shelter for animals, birds and insects, (8) Provide medical and healing products, (9) Provide building produces, (10) Provide paper products, (11) Provide wood for furniture, bowls, toys, handles, etc.(12) Provide fuel for cooking, heat and campfires, (13) provide a living fence to break drifting sand and snow, (14) Provide sensory stimulation of beauty for sight, fragrances of smell, fruit for taste, leaves rustling in the wind for hearing, wood products and bark for touch, (15) Produces shade, (16) produces privacy, (17) Produces watershed (18) Produces a sense of rootedness in landscape and landscaping. One of the joys of examining the book of God’s Works in nature is discovering the evidence of the Creator’s unmatched intelligent grand design and incredible ingenuity in reducible complexity in the miracle of the tree and this amazing living machine’s function. The forest is a integral component of the earth’s biosphere system.
Romans 1:20-25 “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.”
God, who made, owns, and loves what He created, has in His love permitted people to manage and us the material creation. He is the Landlord; we are the caretakers/stewards that oversee the production, distribution and consumption on the Lord’s estate. We are to “tend” (to till, work, serve) and “keep” (have charge of, guard, save life, protect, preserve and celebrate) this garden called “Earth”. We are to have a balanced and healthy attitude towards nature, arising from the truth of its creation by God. The care and love of God for Hid creation is reflected in all that He has made. And the world around us also witnesses to a God who cares not only for us but for all that He made and called “good”.
I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree.
In Christ, Brian
In Christ, Brian