Bible Society of South Africa
Xanthe Hancox

The role of trees in the Bible – Day 21

Beautiful trees

Bible text(s)

3They are like trees that grow beside a stream,

that bear fruit at the right time,

and whose leaves do not dry up.

They succeed in everything they do.

Psalms 1:3GNBOpen in Bible reader

Some time ago a friend sent me a poem by Alfred Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918), an American poet and journalist. He wrote the poem in 1913 and it was called “Trees”:

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earths sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

How beautifully these lines capture the essence of our journey through the trees of the Bible over the past month! Imagine the majestic cedar or the tall pine tree lifting her leafy arms to pray, the birds nesting in the willow beside the water or the sycamore who has lived intimately with the rain.

We can build ships and skyscrapers and smart phones but we cannot manufacture a tree. Only God can create the beautiful crown-shaped pomegranate and the palm tree which flourishes in the dessert or the sturdy oak.

My friend added that this poem reminded her of Psalm 1, which is exactly where we started our discussion on trees. The psalmist says that those who meditate on God’s Word are blessed and that they are “like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither — whatever they do prospers”. Let us be like a tree — anchored in God, pruned by his Word and watered by his Spirit so that we may continue to bear good fruit.

Bible Society of South Africav.4.14.1
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