Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Wooden Faith

I believe that there is nothing in the Bible that is insignificant. Truly, everything that is there is purposeful. For some things, the reason is obvious, such as Jesus’ crucifixion. For many others, we scratch our heads and wonder why God chose to tell us in His Word, the name of the Roman guard that Peter slashed.

I was thinking this week about wood. Yes, I was thinking about the substance of which trees are made. Before you decide that I have way too much time on my hands, or that I have completely lost what marbles I had left, consider the following with me.

God created the world in six days. The first two days were spent separating day from night, and the earth from the sky. There was no land yet, so the earth was just water. The first mention of any life on earth is in Genesis 1:11 where grass, plants and trees are formed. Only three days later did He create man and woman. Therefore, wood was here before people.

Adam and Eve had free reign in the Garden of Eden, except for that one tree. They were forbidden to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Of course, we know what happened. They ate and were banished from the garden. From then on, wood and trees become one of the most overlooked, yet very significant part of the scriptures.

Consider, if you will, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It did not cause Adam and Eve to sin, but it was there to witness it. It is just as much a part of the story as Adam and Eve or the serpent. Without it, there is no fruit. Let’s take a brief look at what God has to teach us about trees and wood.

In Genesis 6, not long after the fall from Grace in the Garden, God decided to wipe out all people. However, He found Noah to be a righteous man and decided to save him and his family. How did He save them? He told Noah to build a boat out of gopherwood.

By the time of Abraham, the sacrificial covenant system that was in place, required a burnt offering, which used wood. When Abraham was told to sacrifice Isaac, they were headed up the hill and Isaac said “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” (Genesis 22:7).

God spoke to Moses through a burning bush and Moses wooden staff played a huge role in the liberation of the Hebrews. The Ark of the Covenant, which was the embodiment of God’s presence, was made from acacia wood. Certain woods were prescribed by God for use in the Tabernacle and Temple.

Then there was Jesus. He was born in a manger which was probably made from wood.
He was raised by a carpenter. He was probably taught the trade and learned how to work with wood. He used trees for illustrations. Zacchaeus climbed into a tree to be able to see Jesus. Finally, two wooden beams were used to bring a cruel and terrible end to His time as a human.

Is it a coincidence that the same substance was the first form of life, the vehicle by which sin entered the world, and also held the weight of Jesus and all of our sin? I think not. God always allows for redemption. Adam and Eve picked the forbidden fruit from a tree. Therefore, God arranged for trees and wood to play a part in His plan of redemption. Noah’s ark saved all of humanity, the burnt offering forgave sins, Moses’ staff delivered the Hebrews from Egypt, and when Jesus, the carpenter’s son, stretched His arms across the wood that Friday, we were saved from sin forever.

Never overlook the ordinary things in your life. God uses the great and the minute things to complete His plan. In your prayer time, ask God to reveal to you those things, in His plan for your life, that you might ordinarily overlook.

For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption—that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the LORD.” (1 Corinthians 1:26-31)

1 comment:

Pastor Phillip Howle said...

Stacy, that was extremely thought provoking and very well written. Hope you a great day buddy! Phillip