REFORESTING FAITH

How can we Learn God’s Love for Us from the Trees

In Psalm 1, the psalmist compares a righteous person to a tree, firmly planted by streams of water, that yields its fruit in its season; its leaves do not wither, and in whatever it does, it prospers. This is a recurring set of images that draw us to the importance of the work of God. The description in Psalm 1 is similar to the description of the tree in Ezekiel 47:12 and the tree in Revelation 22:2. In all three descriptions, we see the following:

  1. A tree firmly planted by water
  2. A tree that yields fruit
  3. Leaves that do not whither
  4. A tree that is prospering

Dr. Matthew Sleeth offers these quotes from his book: “With the exception of God and people, the Bible mentions trees more than any other living thing.” “If I had to pick one subject other than Jesus to corroborate the inspired origin of the Bible, I’d pick trees. Why? Because while the Bible was written by many people over numerous centuries, the consistent use of trees throughout points us to one author.”

“I’ve come to understand that one of the most important reasons God chose trees is that at every stage of their lives, trees give.”

Tell about the new movement Blessed Earth and about the importance of trees in the Bible. “One of the reasons I believe God blazed a tree by every important character and event in scripture is because of trees’ nearly universal presence. There are trees in virtually every place that humans live on the planet.”

This week preaches itself. Psalm 1 is a key creation-care text. It brings us back to the beginning in the Garden of Eden, and it points us to the end with a new heaven and earth. It reminds us yet again what this book we call the Bible is all about — life and our journey toward righteousness. Creation always points us in that direction. We just need to be aware of our surroundings. Consider using this week’s sermon to launch an initiative to plant trees. The poor communities and subsidized housing areas have few trees or no trees. There is a missional opportunity and evangelistic opportunity here. While planting trees, people may have the opportunity to share the story of God’s redemptive love. What a powerful image of a follower of Jesus heading into the community with a tree in one hand and God’s word in the other!

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