The Evergreen Tree
The last couple of days the temperature has gotten down into the 20s here in Texas, reminding me of my childhood, especially that Adirondack cold and snow that looked just like a Currier & Ives Christmas card, and of the holiday only 51 days behind us that’s become such big business in the U.S. But not all Christians think all those gifts, decorations, and decked out trees are a good idea.
In fact, the Puritans in colonial Massachusetts wrote laws against singing carols and decorating trees. They taught that all this frivolity desecrated the sacredness of the time of Jesus’ birth. There are still groups of Christians who take this same sober restrictive view, but before we start hauling all those trees out of our living rooms, we might want to check out what Hosea said God said about a luxuriant, virulent green tree.
“O Ephraim, what is this idolatry thing to me anymore? I will respond! I will certainly answer him and look after him. I am like a luxuriant juniper tree. Your fruitfulness comes from me.” Hosea 14:8
Throughout his book Hosea’s been dealing with idolatrous paganism, but rather than eliminating all the powerful symbols used in the false, idolatrous worship, he transformed them. His people worshiped fertility gods and illicit sex, so Hosea declared that the Lord was their true husband and that they would only find true lasting pleasure in intimacy with him, enjoying the fruitfulness of sex in their marriages, and obeying the 7th commandment.
They built their worship centers in the shade of luxuriant trees, so Hosea closes his book with God, himself, declaring the end of Ephraim’s idolatry and that he was the one who is the true tree of life.
LORD, teach me to learn how to take the powerful symbols in our culture that lure people into the worship of false gods and destructive behaviors and use them, like Hosea did in his culture, to bring both your judgment and salvation message. Thanks that I can find life, fruitfulness, and care in the shade of your loving grace. Bless all those trees the Israelis are planting again in the land.
For more from Dave Wyrtzen please visit TruthEncounter.com!