From Pastor Jim – June 6, 2019

While on one hand it was sad to see so many trees felled, the reality is that God has some great joyful things in store for us as His ambassadors, including the opportunity to eventually love and be a blessing to our (new) neighbors. As I pondered the changing landscape, it occurred to me that one of the most common metaphors used in Scripture has to do with trees. (Metaphors help us understand who God is, who we are, and what our role is in creation.)

On the very first page of Genesis, God places the father and mother of the human race in a garden filled with trees, all of which—save one—He gives them for food. We all know how the disobedience of Adam and Eve in eating the fruit from that tree cost them Paradise. But trees continue to follow humanity throughout the rest of the Bible too, all the way through the story of God’s redemption. On the last page of Revelation, there again, is a tree. The tree of life grows in a Garden-City, bearing leaves and fruit for the healing of the nations.

Many of the major biblical characters are associated with a tree in one form or another. Noah built an ark out of trees. Then he and his family knew it was safe to leave the ark because the dove brought back an olive seedling. God met Moses through a burning bush and sent him with a limb in his hand to free the people of Israel. God’s Tabernacle and later, Temple, were packed with garden-and-forest imagery, the latter built with the mighty cedars of Lebanon. The ark of the covenant was made from an acacia tree. Even the menorah—that famed seven-branched candelabra in the Holy Place—was a symbol of the tree of life.

The psalmist compares the man of God to a tree beside a stream. Proverbs likens wisdom to a tree. When Israel’s prophets describe the restored creation and God’s renewed covenant with His people, they speak of majestic trees—myrtle and cypress—replacing the weeds of the curse. And when Isaiah foretells the Messiah, he describes Him as a shoot from the stump of Jesse. David reminds us that God’s rod and shepherd’s staff – made from a tree – will comfort us.

While John the Baptist warns that unfaithful Israel will be chopped down, Jesus calls Himself the true vine, and we are the branches. I suppose you could say to abide in Christ is to life in a tree-house. And the most important tree metaphor is the fact that Jesus bore our sins in His body on a tree—the cross.

This Sunday we will celebrate the life, death, and resurrection of the one who died on the tree at Calvary, so that he could be for us THE one and only true Tree of Life. Christ has died. Christ has rise. Christ will come again. Thanks be to God.

Genesis 2:9 Out of the ground the LORD God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Genesis 3:6 When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.
Genesis 3:17 “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’; Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life.
Revelation 2:7 ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.’
Revelation 22:2 in the middle of its street On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
Revelation 22:14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city.
Proverbs 11:30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, And he who is wise wins souls.

Pastor Jim Carver

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