Bible Society of South Africa
Xanthe Hancox

The role of trees in the Bible – Day 14

The palm tree — abundance for the obedient

Bible text(s)

26He said, “If you will obey me completely by doing what I consider right and by keeping my commands, I will not punish you with any of the diseases that I brought on the Egyptians. I am the LORD, the one who heals you.”

27Next they came to Elim, where there were twelve springs and seventy palm trees; there they camped by the water.

Exodus 15:26-27GNBOpen in Bible reader

Just before God issued this ruling, the Israelites had been grumbling to Moses about the lack of water. For three days they had travelled in the desert without water and when they eventually found some at Marah, it was bitter. Moses cried out to God who showed him a piece of wood which he tossed into the water to make it drinkable. Shortly afterwards, the Israelites arrived at Elim.

The seventy palm trees at this oasis where the Israelites camped for a month teach us a lot about surviving in tough times. The palm tree does not simply grow in the desert; it flourishes abundantly. It’s able to do this through its unique rooting system which comprises both a taproot which extends straight down and a network of shallow, soft roots. The taproot keeps the tall palms swaying in the wind without falling over while the other roots spread out in every direction to collect water.

If we obey God, he will provide for us and equip us to make it in this desert world. We won’t go through it without trials, but God has given us our own survival system — prayer. Israel grumbled when faced with trials. Moses called out to the Lord. Grumbling focuses on the self; prayer focuses on the Lord and his resources. Grumbling is based in fear, prayer is based in faith.

Elim is a sign of the abundance the Lord will supply Israel if they will only obey. The Lord will take care of our needs. All we have to do is obey him, have a relationship with him, and walk with him.

Bible Society of South Africav.4.16.20
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