Bible Society of South Africa
Xanthe Hancox

The role of trees in the Bible – Day 12

The oak tree — pride comes before a fall

Bible text(s)

12On that day the LORD Almighty will humble everyone who is powerful, everyone who is proud and conceited. 13He will destroy the tall cedars of Lebanon and all the oaks in the land of Bashan. 14He will level the high mountains and hills, 15every high tower, and the walls of every fortress. 16He will sink even the largest and most beautiful ships. 17-18Human pride will be ended, and human arrogance will be destroyed. Idols will completely disappear, and the LORD alone will be exalted on that day.

Isaiah 2:12-18GNBOpen in Bible reader

Even today, oak trees are known for their longevity and strength. The sturdy oak stood as a witness to many events. Jacob took the false idols from the members of the household and buried them under an oak at Shechem (Genesis 35:4). It was by an oak tree that, years later, Joshua took idols from the nation of Israel, who promised to serve only the true God (Joshua 24:14-26).

Despite its obvious might and strength, you’ve probably already noticed that the oak tree is one that has many negative associations as well. Some oaks served as sites for idol worship (Hosea 4:13), and the oak forests of Bashan symbolised pride and loftiness (Zechariah 11:2).

This tree serves as a warning to us — it’s easy to become arrogant, to take the credit for what we do well and bask in our successes. It’s easy to idolise money, to focus on worldly success rather than spiritual victories. When God gives us success in any area of our lives, let’s not forget the source of that success. May we choose humility, for God gives grace to the humble.

Bible Society of South Africav.4.20.14
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