The planting and purpose of trees
“And God said, ‘Let the earth sprout…fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, …and it was so.'” (day 3)
“Then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground…” (day 6)
“And God said, ‘Behold, I have given you…every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall eat them for food.'”
“And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man… And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” (day 6)
Our God created trees of all kinds in the beginning. There were trees that were pleasing to look at, a vast variety of fruit trees, and the tree of life along with the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
He planted this special garden, which included the tree of life, after He had created the rest of the world’s trees. This implies a physical action rather than a verbal one. To “plant” it is very deliberate and personal. The tree of life has a special purpose. In Revelation, it states it bears twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations, and was on both sides of the river of life. This may be symbolic or factual, but most likely it is both. (I would even venture to say that the tree of life represents Jesus! But that is another study topic altogether.)
Adam was instructed to not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; God didn’t say to not eat from the tree of life. Maybe Adam hadn’t eaten from it yet. But since both Adam and Eve did eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, then God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us in knowing good and evil…” and cast them out of the beautiful garden, away from the special trees, and away from His presence.
There are a variety of trees mentioned in the Bible:
Olive, Fir, Almond, Palm, Acacia, Myrtle, Cypress, Cedar, Oak, Almug and Algum, Pomegranate, Balsam, Box, Fig, Sycamore, Poplar, Terebinth, Willow, and Apple. This just goes to show that our Creator enjoys diversity!
Trees are mentioned throughout scripture and the Lord himself has made good use of them. For example:
He laid his infant head in a wooden manger.
He was like a tree that bore great fruit.
He laid his head on a wooden cross, and died, nailed to that tree.
He promises to those that conquer to eat from the Tree of Life that He planted so long ago.
“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and whoever captures souls is wise.”
Jesus used trees and vines that bore fruit for many of his parables. These are great models for us even today:
See Luke 13:6-9: parable of a barren fig tree, Matthew 21:18-22: Jesus curses a real barren fig tree, Matthew 13:8-23: the sower, John 15:1-6: He is the true vine.
A poetic thought:
“I quietly sit here watching the winds blow,
the tall trees swaying n rocking with each gust.
They stand upright, strong, and reaching for the sun, with roots grown deep, while the winds of life blow.
Sometimes these winds are gentle, causing some leaves to flutter or small branches and boughs to bounce, but other times these winds whip around and blow the leaves right off and cause the branches to crash into each other, or even break and fall to the ground.
Yet, they still stand. They can handle the storms and winds because their roots run deep.
We need to be like a tree.
We can withstand the difficulties of this stormy life if our roots run deep;
If we are grounded in our faith in the Lord God, His plan for us and His love for each of us.
Then no matter what is blown our way, or what season of life we are in, we can be strong and confident, basking in the Son.
Our roots will find that water that sustains us.
Either – we will live as a strong tree, having provided shelter, shade and protection for others, while sustaining them with our fruits,
Or – we will succumb to the storms of this life and fall.
The question is: Will you fall on your knees and seek His help,
or will you just give up and allow the despairs of life overcome?”
When the winds of life toss you a bit and your branches lose some leaves, have your roots of faith planted deeply in the rich soil of His Word, and you will not fall.
“Even now the axe is already laid at the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”
Prayer: Thank you Lord God for giving us trees. They are a mighty testimony: to a long life lived well when they are fruitful, to how we should live our life, to you being our Gardner, and to you being the source of our strength. Help us to grow tall and strong in you and deep in the richness of your Word.
Food for thought: I hope that you would seek the Lord, to give you that living water that will sustain you through the winds and storms of this life. I pray that you if you already know Him as your Lord and Savior, that you are bearing fruit for Him, today.
Fun facts: General Sherman is the largest tree in the known world. It is a Giant Sequoia Redwood in the Sequoia National Park in California. This tree is estimated to be over 2,200 years old, is over 275 feet tall, has a diameter at its base of 37 feet and a circumference of 103 feet at the ground level. Though it is not the tallest or the widest nor the oldest, when all factors are combined, it does have the most volume. It grows enough wood each year to produce another 60′ tall tree.
Photo by: Drew Wiseman – Kari dwarfed by the Giant Sequoias.