We have a beautiful tree in our front yard, and every time I look at it I am reminded of two things – the frequent mention of trees in the Bible and select words from Joyce Kilmer’s famous poem:
I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree…
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;…
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
It is interesting and significant how God used trees to express man’s experience and to gather the history of the human race around them. I shall mention briefly several of these trees.
Tree of Condemnation
One of them I would call the Tree of Condemnation, which was intended as a tree of testing, but became a tree of condemnation. “The Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it. But the Lord God warned him, ‘You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden— except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.’” (Genesis 2:15-17)
In the early chapters of the Bible we have a creation that God pronounced as “good.” There was no sickness, sorrow, weakness or tears. There were no broken hearts until man sinned. In the last chapters of the Bible we have much the same world. We have a new heaven and a new earth. Sickness, sorrow and death have been forever banished. The sad story of sin throughout the human race describes all that goes on in between.
Tree of Despondency
Another interesting tree is the one I call The Tree of Despondency. The Juniper tree is known to us mainly for the discouragement on exhibit there. The first few Chapters of I Kings 19 relates the details of Elijah’s flight from Jezebel to the shade of the Juniper tree: “But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.” (I Kings 19:4)
Tree of Fruitfulness
In Psalm One we have the Tree of Fruitfulness: “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.” (Psalm 1:3) To be a fruitful Christian we must be deep-rooted Christians. Those deep roots come from “meditating on God’s laws day and night.”
Tree of Redemption
There is another very important tree which Peter describes: “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” (I Peter 2:24) This is the tree which I will call the Tree of Redemption. There Jesus died bearing the curse of the law: “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.” (Galatians 3:13)
Tree of Life
The Tree of Life is yonder in the eternal ages. “And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.” (Revelation 22:1,2) Then the flaming sword which kept open the Tree of Life is sheathed forever.
The Tree of Redemption is the most important one for your consideration at this time. Only as you realize the significance of Calvary will the Tree of Life mean anything to you.