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Sunday, August 27, 2017

Thoughts from the Past - Two Kinds of Trees

Roane County Park, Tennessee

Two Kinds of Trees

Jeremiah 17:5 Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD. 6 For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited. 7 Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. 8 For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.

A pastor friend of ours preached at both a funeral and a wedding on one weekend. He was highly praised by various people after both events. This is not because he's some kind of Baptist wonder boy or the next John MacArthur. His strength is only in the fact that he trusts and hopes in the LORD, so he has access to the water. He strives to be faithful in giving God's word to saints and sinners because of that.

Those flatterers - and it was nothing but flattery, for as he put it, "somewhat less than one" of them showed up Sunday at the church fellowship he pastors - but, those flatterers' problem is that they trust in man and the arm of flesh, and have departed from God. They are in a desert spiritually. They get all excited when someone passes by and spills some water on them from his full bucket, but the next day or so they've forgotten all about it.

Now if you ever tried to water plants in a desert area you know how that works. Parched ground in a desert place can absorb water with great speed and require more again tomorrow or it "forgets" it had any. And, when a large amount is dumped on it at one time, it often runs off at a fierce rate and leaves little lasting benefit.

Proverbs 30:15 …There are three things that are never satisfied, yea, four things say not, It is enough: 16 The grave; and the barren womb; the earth that is not filled with water; and the fire that saith not, It is enough.

So it is with those who trust in man. They recognize the water when it comes near them, but no lasting benefit comes from it. Their roots are in parched places. They seem to drink it up but in a day or two they're as dry as ever. (By the way, there a lot of people like this, and they are not all in dead beat churches!) 

[As a side note:  God’s word does not return unto Him void, Isaiah 55:11.  It will accomplish something for Him.  Maybe some of these people will one day have a desperate need and will remember where the water is, or perhaps it will serve for “evidence for the prosecution” when they stand in judgment before God.]

In the Arizona desert south of Tucson there are many mesquite trees. They are usually rather runted as trees go. They are scrubby and not usually well developed. They survive in that dry, hard soil and they are better than nothing, but they aren't much either. They provide a little shade and a little food for animals.

My parents, though, once had the opportunity to see what mesquite trees could do when planted by water. They found a spot where the trees are growing right by a river where many gallons of water must be available to their roots. Never had they seen such mesquite trees as those! Big, huge trees like oaks - well developed and beautiful. Obviously they never suffer from drought.

The trees up on the desert plain have no idea what good things an abundance of water would do for them. The ones in the river bed have no concept of drought. The ones in the desert are small and emaciated both to preserve water and from the lack thereof. The ones by the waters know not heat nor drought. They flourish.

And so it is with people. Those who have walked away from the Lord, His word and His ways and are trusting in man and the flesh, live in a barren wilderness but cannot realize it. Those who trust and hope in the Lord find continual water to bear fruit and green leaves even in these days when spiritual drought has covered the globe! May God grant us the strength to follow hard after Him, to hope and trust in Him, that we may be among those who do not feel the heat or drought of these times!

Psalm 1:1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. 3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

John 4:10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water... 13 ...Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: 14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

Written Sept. 5, 2006; edited Sept. 2012.

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