(I was reminded of this article I wrote several years ago when the Pastor used Isaiah 61 for the sermon this Sunday. I hope you will enjoy reading my ponderings. Please remember that this is copyrighted material and may not be reproduced or used in any way without my permission. Thank you!)
Can you imagine a world without trees? There are so many varieties of trees! A short walk through the woods and we will see trees in all sizes, shapes and types. Trees add great beauty to our world. Giant redwoods and sequoias are so majestic to behold (One of my requested destinations in our future travels is to go see them!). Pines, oaks, and other hardwood varieties provide many useful products for us. Deciduous trees put on a magnificent display of color in the fall season. Some trees provide cones, acorns or berries for food. Wildlife abounds in areas where there are lots of trees for shelter and food. We probably all enjoy sitting in front of the fireplace or an outdoor bonfire in the cooler weather. The addition of some hickory or pecan wood to our grill makes steaks and burgers taste so much better! The list goes on and on.
What makes a tree strong and mighty? In a recent trip to East Texas I was saddened to see the effects of the drought on their trees. Many were already dead or were in the process of dieing. The ground around them was cracked open due to lack of moisture. The trees could not get nutrients through their root system because there was no water in the ground to be carried. Their roots were not in a place that could nourish the tree. Even trees planted by creeks were dieing because the creeks were dry. Their SOURCE was no longer there to supply their need.
Several years ago we had timber thinned on our land in Louisiana. In one particular spot we have picked out a place to perhaps build a house in a few years. We carefully selected the trees to be taken, marking the weak and overcrowded ones. We selected many of the trees to remain on the basis of the beauty they would provide in the fall. We also carefully preserved dogwood and holly trees by not marking anything right around them to be cut. To our dismay on our next visit after the thinning, we discovered that several of the trees we intended to be kept had blown down during a wind storm, and some took my beautiful dogwoods down with them! Although the remaining trees had been strong, they were dependent on the trees around them to help anchor them in place. The thinning of the trees revealed that the root structure of some trees was not strong enough to uphold the tree on its own. Together, they had great strength, but alone, some could not withstand the strong wind.
Have you ever considered that WE are like trees in some ways? Did you know God wants us to be TREES (a creation of great strength)!
Isaiah 61:1-3 (KJV)
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;  To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;  To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified. (The Hebrew word used here for “tree” means “strength”.)
The AMP version of v.3 reads, “…that they may be called oaks of righteousness [lofty, strong, and magnificent, distinguished for uprightness, justice, and right standing with God], the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.
Don’t you think of “strength” when considering an oak tree? God wants us to be strong trees of righteousness. Note that a tree can not plant itself! The anointing of Jesus brings about the changes that make us mighty trees and give glory to Him.
Colossians 2:7 (AMP)
Have the roots [of your being] firmly and deeply planted [in Him, fixed and founded in Him], being continually built up in Him, becoming increasingly more confirmed and established in the faith, just as you were taught, and abounding and overflowing in it with thanksgiving.
Our roots must be in the right place, firmly and deeply planted. We must be firmly established in faith and on the Word. God must be our SOURCE. We are not intended to stand on our own, but to be part of the body of Christ. There we can draw strength and encouragement from one another. We can intercede and minister to help each member stand firm against storms in their life.
Psalm 1:3 (KJV)
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.
When we are planted by the river of God, we will flourish and we will have fruit. As His river flows through us and out to reach others we will grow in strength.
Lord, make me a tree, strong and righteous! Help me sink my roots firmly into You, Lord. Help me to daily feed on Your Word and commune with You. Keep me planted by Your river that I may grow and flourish, that I may help uphold others in the body of Christ. Lord, today I reaffirm that YOU are my Source. Amen.
Copyright by Kathy R. Ellzey, 2009