A tree whose leaves wither: Isaiah 1.30

“For you will be like a tree whose leaves wither, like an orchard that is unwatered.”

Isaiah 1.30

Isaiah’s imagery sees the wicked as trees who fail. This after mentioning the “sacred orchards” of idol worship. When the Lord judges, the unfaithful will not remain.

Contraste this image with Psa 1.3. In the present, and at the end, the righteous flourish. Which will you be?

#votd #Isaiah #trees

The Tale of the Three Trees

Ed Melott posted the following parable on a discussion list. The author of the piece is unknown but the story is wonderful and I hope you are edified by it.

Once upon a mountaintop, three little trees stood and dreamed of what they wanted to become when they grew up.

Continue reading

#christ, #jesus, #parable, #trees

Trees by the River (Psa 1)

My favorite Psalm is probably the 1st one. Here are my thoughts on why it is so great:

The book of Psalms begins as follows – “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper. The ungodly are not so, but are like the chaff which the wind drives away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall perish” (Psa. 1).

This first psalm is sometimes called the “door to the Psalms” because it introduces a basic theme that is seen repeatedly throughout the book. Namely, there are two choices in life: either live for the Lord or live for oneself. This psalm clearly shows that God’s favor is upon the righteous and His condemnation upon the wicked.

Blessed (i.e., joyful with divine favor) is the man who avoids the progression of sin described in Psalm 1:1. Metaphorically speaking, we ought not to “walk” near sin, “stand” next to it, or “sit” upon it. Problems begin when one starts listening to the advice of the wicked while walking with them. These problems increase when one stops to spend time with the sinful and make them his companions (cf. I Cor. 15:33). Problems multiply still further when one chooses to sit down and fully embrace the lifestyle of the ungodly.

In strong contrast, the delight of the righteous man is in God’s law (Psa. 1:2). He finds ultimate fulfillment, true contentment and satisfaction, in the Scriptures. Psalm 119 is a good commentary on this verse. The blessed man comes to God’s word with a disposition to listen and learn from it, not to plug his ears or become angry at it (cf. James 1:19). In fact, this person will give deep reflection and thought to God’s word (i.e., meditation)–not just lip service.

If Psalm 1:1 describes what the blessed man does not do, and verse 2 describes what he does do, then verse 3 describes what he is like as a result of what he does and does not do.

“He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water.” A tree of this sort is firmly grounded and has an abundant root system; it is stable and not likely to be blown over by the storms of life. It has steady access to life-giving water and remains strong consequently. One whose foundation is God and His life-giving word is able to endure any trial!

Such a tree will bring “forth its fruit in its season.” A primary purpose of trees is to bear fruit. A healthy, mature tree will not fail in fulfilling its purpose. One who is constantly exposed to and meditates upon God’s word will be fruitful for the Lord (cf. Matt. 7:16-20).

The leaves of a healthy tree will not wither. Likewise, one who continually drinks in God’s word will not become sickly in spirit. As long as he seeks first God’s will, whatever he does will prosper (cf. James 1:25). This is not to say that a godly man will never suffer failure, but that his life will be successful (especially in ultimate terms).

Psalm 1:4 indicates that the ungodly are not like the blessed ones. They are not like trees planted by rivers. They are lacking in spiritual nourishment because they don’t rejoice in God’s word and meditate upon it. As a result, they are weak, sickly, and unproductive spiritually. They will not prosper because they have made themselves worthless–like chaff!

In the final judgment, they will be separated from the righteous (cf. Matt. 3:12). The wicked will not “stand” (i.e., succeed) before God Almighty (Psa. 1:5; cf. Rev. 6:15-17).

The Lord sees everything and is aware of the activities of the righteous and the wicked (cf. Nah. 1:7). Ultimately, the wicked will not be able to continue in their sinfulness; God will put an end to their practices (Psa. 1:6).

#psalms, #trees

The Tree at Calvary

Admittedly, I haven’t thought before about my favorite, but without the tree of Acts 5:30, I don’t guess any other trees matter!

Here’s a brief related lesson from our website you might enjoy:

Three Gardens & Three Trees
What is the Bible all about? What’s its major theme? Roy Deaver once answered that question as follows: “It is the glory of God, and the salvation of man, through Christ Jesus our Lord.”

That is an excellent answer, in my estimation. But, what if we were to be even more concise? No doubt there are other words that can be used to express the overall theme of God’s word, but here is brilliant way that only requires five words: Three gardens and three trees. Allow me to elaborate upon that for you.

The first garden and first tree are found in the very beginning: The Garden of Eden and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This is, of course, where sin entered the world and mankind fell spiritually (cf. Gen. 3). God created everything–including the possibility of choice for mankind. Although they were commanded not to partake of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, they were led astray by the devil and their lust. Death consequently entered the world because of their disobedience and there was now a need for a savior (cf. Rom. 5:12).

The second garden and second tree are found in the culminating acts of Jesus’ sacrifice for all the world: The Garden of Gethsemane and the cross of Christ. Jesus prayed and wept in the garden that the Father’s will would be done, and that will was done when the Lord voluntarily offered Himself up for the sins of the world on that wooden cross that had been fashioned from a tree (cf. Matt. 26:36ff; Gal. 3:13).

The third garden and third tree are found at the very end of that which is temporal and passing away: The garden of God (Heaven) and the tree of life. At the great and final Day of Judgment, everything physical will be destroyed (cf. II Pet. 3:10,11). All will stand before God and either be blessed with a heavenly home or suffer His eternal wrath and vengeance in flaming fire (cf. II Cor. 5:10; II Thess. 1:8,9). May it always be our aim to be faithful and true to Almighty God that we may one day eat of the tree of life in the heavenly abode (cf. Rev. 22:2)!

Dear friends, this succinct summary hits the beginning, middle, and end of human history, and it addresses three of its most pivotal moments. Three gardens and three trees–that’s one way of telling the story of the Bible, in a nutshell.

#gardens, #roy-deaver, #trees

Nathanael’s fig tree

Whatever Nathanael was doing under the fig tree, it was a moment of truth for him, a moment when he demonstrated his integrity. Had he refused a shady deal at the city gates? Was he in contrite, humble prayer in his backyard? Wherever he was, whatever he was doing under that fig tree, Jesus knew it and used it to show him that of such are the kingdom of God.

This is my choice of tree.

Read it at the end of John 1.

#gospel-of-john, #integrity, #trees

Daily Nudge: tree — and news

What’s your favorite Bible tree? nudges the Nudge today. And do give a bit of explanation, shall we?

Yes, a bit late getting to the Nudge this morning, but we’re getting there. I do hope the Fellows are not growing dependent on it. I’d like to see more of your posts, thoughts, experiences. Maybe I should lay off the Nudge for a week. I trust there’d be no withdrawal symptoms. Maybe the Fellows’ independent posts would be even better than responding to the Nudge. What do you think?

And maybe I should lop off the “– and news” part of the Nudge’s titles? Hmm?

#news, #nudge, #trees