Thursday, December 4, 2008
Oak of Righteousness
Have you ever taken part in a school play as an elementary student? Did you want the role as the hero or heroine? Maybe you yearned to be the villain who had the leading role? Instead, you were given the 'leftovers' of the pond frog or meadowlark with a screeching part that lasted a whole 4 seconds. Or were you given the dreaded oak tree in the corner that your mother was so proud of? If you still hold in bad feelings towards that drama teacher who made you feel like the Arbor Day poster child, hear this: You just happened to have represented one of the greatest symbols of strength according to God's word.
In Isaiah 61:1-3, the prophet is writing of the Messiah and His coming to deliver those who have been captive, to mend the brokenhearted, and to bring good news to the afflicted. The Lord deliberately distributed His Word in order for us to saturate ourselves daily in the knowledge of Him (2 Peter 3:18). As an oak of righteousness, we need to follow 3 basic principles during the duration of our lives.
An oak tree needs to maintain proper nutrition for survival. The average mature tree will use up to 50 gallons of water a day. Just as a tree relies on its root system for intake of this moisture, we must daily ingest God's Word as if our life depends upon it. And guess what? It does! This 50 gallons of water is taken in just for daily survival. We're not even talking about how to fend off fires, beetles, and deliberate cuttings. You see, unlike the oak, we make a conscious decision if we're wanting to remain strong and upright for the Lord. We must take the initiative to feed our minds with the Bread of Life for proper defense and to be ready in season and out of season (2 Timothy 4:2).
Another great quality about the oak tree to emulate is its yearly (continuous) production of seed (acorns). Though it may take 20-25 years before it begins producing acorns, a mature and healthy oak tree is always increasing its yearly production of seed. As mature Christians, we should follow the model and strive to increase our delivering of God's Word (seed) to a lost world (Matthew 28:19-20). The typical oak can produce 10,000 acorns in the span of its lifetime, but only one will develop into a tree on average. Why the dismal ratio of acorns produced to trees developed, I don't know. But this is for sure, as we take notice of the apostles, evangelists, disciples, children of God in the Scriptures, we don't see them declining in delivering God's message because someone rejects the message (seed). Instead, they press on until their life is over. So, too, is the oak tree. Its production never declines (it may slow down when it reaches 100, but never declines) in yearly production as long as it maintains maturity!
Finally, as an oak of righteousness, we need to recognize that our steadfastness for the Lord during the length of our stay here on earth is because of our Savior. We shall glorify God through proper righteous living and praising Him(Psalm 63:3). We need to do our job as children of God. The life of an oak tree is remarkable when studied about, but the oak tree is just being...an oak tree. That's what an oak tree is and does. So must we be as obedient followers of Jesus. We need to be Christians acting like...Christians. That's what Christians are and do.