Tree Planting

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Every year in Israel they celebrate Tu Bishvat, which is celebrated on the 15th of Shevat (Hebrew calendar). It is also called Rosh HaShanah La’llanot, literally, ”New Year of the Trees.” This is the season in which the earliest-blooming trees in the Land of Israel emerge from their winter sleep and begin a new fruit-bearing cycle. They mark the 15th of Shevat by eating fruit, particularly from the kinds that are singled out by the Torah in its praise of the bounty of the Holy Land: grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates. On this day we remember that “man is a tree of the field” (Deuteronomy 20:19). ”When thou shalt besiege a city a long time, in making war against it to take it, thou shalt not destroy the trees thereof by forcing an axe against them: for thou mayest eat of them, and thou shalt not cut them down (for the tree of the field is man's life) to employ them in the siege.” We want to look at Psalm 1 and reflect on the lessons we can derive from our botanical analogy.

Psalm 1

”Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on His law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers. Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, for the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction.”

The Righteous Vs. The Wicked

We see the contrast between the righteous person and the wicked person. The righteous person does not follow after the wicked, nor do they even sit with those who mock the Lord and His ways. This is a question that you need to ask yourselves. Who are my friends? Who are my companions? If they do not love the Lord and His commandments, His ways and His statutes, should you be in their company? If you delight in God’s law and you meditate on His Word, should you sit with those who mock the Lord and curse His name? The righteous stand for truth, for they are the light in the darkness. They speak God’s Word and they live by it. They are like a tree planted by streams of water. The water is represented by the Holy Spirit. We are planted in God’s Word where the Holy Spirit can water us day and night. The righteous will not suffer drought, nor will his leaves ever wither. The righteous will bear fruit in season.

Yeshua/Jesus tells us in John 15:1-8, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in Me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the Word I have spoken to you. Remain in Me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in Me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in Me and My words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to My Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be My disciples.”

If we are planted in God’s Word by the waters of the Holy Spirit, we will bear that fruit, and much fruit at that, and we will be disciples of the Lord and we will prosper (receiving the blessings of the Lord) in the work of the Lord. But just as Psalm 1 and Yeshua tell us, if we are like the wicked we will not bear fruit, the fruit of the righteous, and we will be cut off and thrown into the fires, for we will be like chaff. The choice is ours. Do you want to be brought down by the companions you keep or do you want to sit in the presence of God, being watered by the Holy Spirit so you will flourish and bear fruit? Your friends, your companions, those you work with or attend school with will see your light, and your words to them will bring truth, and with prayer and conviction you can save many for the kingdom because you will prosper because the Lord watches over the ways of the righteous.

Maybe we too need to be awakened so that we can begin a new season of bearing fruit, and as we bear fruit, the Holy Spirit will bear fruit also in us, for the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. We also see in Jeremiah 17:7-8, “But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

Along with our delight in God’s Word, we must trust Him as we walk with Him living out His Word in our lives. Without faith it is impossible to please God. To have faith we must trust God that He will do all that His Word says He will do in our lives. When we trust God, it too is like being planted by the water. Our roots go down deep and we drink in that life-giving water, and we stay green no matter what comes our way. The trials and tribulations of life do not affect us because we trust in the Lord. We know that our lives are in Messiah and He is the giver of all that is good. So we continue to bear fruit even in the midst of all that comes our way in life. We stay green and watered and we bear fruit.

Psalm 92:12-15 tells us, “The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the LORD, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, 'The LORD is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.'"

If we are planted in the waters of the Holy Spirit, living by God’s Word, even when we are old and grey God will still use us for His kingdom and we will bear fruit for the glory of God. How great and awesome is that: in God’s eyes we are never too old to serve Him. “Go Green!” Be planted by the water of God’s Word and you will always be living green.

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