Bible Society of South Africa
Xanthe Hancox

The role of trees in the Bible – Day 9

The cedar tree (Part 2) — grow upwards, outwards and downwards

Bible text(s)

Egypt is Compared with a Cedar Tree

1On the first day of the third month of the eleventh year of our exile, the LORD spoke to me. 2“Mortal man,” he said, “say to the king of Egypt and all his people:

How powerful you are!

What can I compare you to?

3You are like a cedar in Lebanon,

With beautiful, shady branches,

A tree so tall it reaches the clouds.

4There was water to make it grow,

And underground rivers to feed it.

They watered the place where the tree was growing

And sent streams to all the trees of the forest.

5Because it was well watered,

It grew taller than other trees.

Its branches grew thick and long.

6Every kind of bird built nests in its branches;

The wild animals bore their young in its shelter;

The nations of the world rested in its shade.

7How beautiful the tree was —

So tall, with such long branches.

Its roots reached down to the deep-flowing streams.

Ezekiel 31:1-7GNBOpen in Bible reader

Yesterday we spoke a bit about the value of the cedar tree. In today’s passage there are three things worth noting about the way the cedar tree grows.

They grow downward. Cedars send their taproots deep, seeking hidden springs and wrapping around rocks for anchorage. According to Numbers 24:6, Israel itself is strong and happy like cedar trees beside the waters. Paul urged the Ephesians to be rooted and grounded in love and in Colossians 2:6-7 we read: “As therefore you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so live in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith.”

They grow upward. Cedar trees have been known to reach heights of over 40 metres! As Christians, we walk on the earth, but our heads should be above the clouds, focused on Christ. As the American poet and novelist J.G. Holland once said, “God, give us men, tall, sun-crowned, who live above the fog.”

Cedars grow outward. The branches of the cedar tree grow out horizontally and become very wide-spreading. Stretching out as they do, these branches provide shade and shelter from the elements. Should not our lives also reach out like branches to touch the needs of others?

Bible Society of South Africav.4.16.20
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