Job 14:7-9 – At least there is hope for a tree: If it is cut down, it will sprout again, and its new shoots will not fail. Its roots may grow old in the ground and its stump die in the soil, yet at the scent of water it will bud and put forth shoots like a plant. (NIV)
During my reading through the Bible again this year, the above verse jumped out at me. It reminded me of the olive trees I saw in Jerusalem at the Garden of Gethsemane. There are several there which are of a great age. If memory serves, one was a sapling at the time of Christ!
One of the startling characteristics of these olive trees is that they seem to die, but then they send new shoots up from the roots of the old tree. In some trees, there are very old portions in the middle, while new growth twines itself around the outside. Thus the tree is regenerated! It is most unusual.
Isn't it interesting that Jesus chose the Garden of Gethsemane, surrounded by trees which continually sprout new life, to spend his final hours in prayer before his crucifixion? Perhaps their mute witness to eternal life encouraged Him.
Where I live, the only trees like the olive are the poplar and ash trees. In regenerating themselves, they send runners through the ground, which then pop up right in the middle of my lawn! Someone can cut down the "parent" tree, but these new shoots keep on growing.
There are parables of new life everywhere in nature. As the speaker in today's Scripture from Job pointed out, although a tree may seem to be dead, it may well, with the faintest encouragement, spring forth to new life.
Likewise, when we die, we may seem to be gone forever. Not so. Let's hear the words of Paul:
1 Corinthians 15:36-37,42-44 – How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. (NIV)
The point is that because Jesus lives, we have this hope that will not fail. In Christ Jesus, we shall live again!
Prayer: Lord God, we praise You for signs of new life everywhere we look. We praise You for parables of eternal life in nature. We praise You for the hope of eternal life that You impart to us through Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.