And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.” Genesis 1:29 ESV
This is one of the more obvious purposes of trees in God’s creation. They are here to nourish us just like all the other plants on earth. However, the purpose of trees goes far beyond a simple nourishment of our bodies! I’d like to show you how truly manifold their purpose is and what we can learn from them. Yes indeed, we can learn a lot from the trees in God’s creation. And both, their perfect harmonization with nature and all the ways in which they serve as a sign for us, are a wonderful miracle to gaze at!
The Manifold Purpose Of Trees In God’s Creation
The glorious and manifold purpose of trees becomes apparent when you take a look at all of their different parts. They show how thoroughly God has thought out every aspect of The Diversity of Creation. Therefore, I’ll guide you from the bottom to the top to show you the importance of each and every part. Knowing about these things will further increase your trust in the goodness and perfect provision of our God. This I have experienced in my own life, so here we go:
The Roots of a Tree
The roots of a tree are its source of life. They go deep down into the earth where they find water to drink. A tree doesn’t just drink the water from the surface. Instead, it uses the water that was filtered through many layers of earth and sediment. This water is more pure than the one on the surface and contains many minerals and nutritions from the different sediments.
Through putting down roots into a good foundation, a tree also finds stability and strength. Only with that will it stand firm, resist storms and even attacks from humans who cut it down,
“For there is hope for a tree,
When it is cut down, that it will sprout again,
And its shoots will not fail.
“Though its roots grow old in the ground
And its stump dies in the dry soil,
At the scent of water it will flourish
And put forth sprigs like a plant.” Job 14:7-9 NASB
So, even if you cut down a tree, it will often revive itself because God has given it strong roots and a good foundation.
The Trunk of a Tree
Starting in the book of Genesis, people used the trunks of trees to build things.
Some examples are the ark of Noah (Genesis 6:13-14), the temple of the Lord (1 Kings 5:5-6) and the cherubim in the Most Holy Place (1 Kings 6:23). This list is by far not exhausted! And even today, wood is used in all areas. You can find it in handles of tools, paper, walls and doors. It is a great material to work with and it regrows which gives it a limitless availability.
Added to that, the wood of a tree can also be used to make a fire. This fire is good for roasting meat and to warm us in cold nights. It is also a source of light to penetrate the darkness and to show us the way. Fire is further used to refine silver and can burn away bonds that hold us captive. In short, if God didn’t give us wood to burn, we would not have come that far!
The Leaves of a Tree
The leafy trees in God’s creation give shelter to animals. And when the sun is too hot, humans can rest in their shade and be refreshed. A great example for this is found in the life of Jonah whose testimony includes the following verse:
Now the Lord God appointed a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be a shade over his head, to save him from his discomfort. So Jonah was exceedingly glad because of the plant. Jonah 4:6 ESV
The word “plant” that is used above refers to an oil plant and could mean a castor-oil plant (compare the translations in biblehub.com). I thought it to be a good example because the German translation of “castor oil plant” has the word “tree” in it. To be precise, it literally translates to “wonder tree” or “palm of Christ”.
And when the leaves fall in autumn, the minerals they received from the tree go back into the earth. That way, the fertility of the soil is restored which helps both, other plants and new leaves of this tree to grow. I don’t know about you, but I can’t help but marvel at such a perfect cycle which could only be established through a wise Creator!
The Fruit of a Tree
As mentioned in the introductory verse, the fruit of a tree nourishes us. There are so many kinds of fruits and each one of them gives us other things we need. They further contain seed(s) with which a tree can reproduce itself, creating another perfect cycle. Added to that, the fruit will also tell us what kind of tree we are facing. Sure, the leaves are distinct as well, but not everyone knows how to distinguish them. It is way easier to look at the fruit because they vary in shape, color, scent and taste.
I’m so thankful that God has blessed us with such an amazing provision! Just imagine how it would be if we could eat nothing but grass or leaves — that would be so boring! Therefore, whenever you are down, please keep in mind how gracious your Father is and how God Cares For Us.
How the Trees In God’s Creation Relate To Us
Now that we looked at all the different aspects of the trees in God’s creation, I want to focus on us as the children of the Most High. The amazing thing is that every single one of the above points relates to our lives as Christians! In his wisdom, God has given us trees as a perfect example of how we are to be in many different ways. Here is what they teach us:
The Roots of a Christian
Just like with the roots of a tree, there are two important aspects of our roots: drawing nourishing and pure water and standing firm. Those are both adressed in the Bible and the correspondances are named below.
We Should Draw the Living Water of God
We, too, need water to live and just like trees, we should not be satisfied with the dirty water on the surface. Instead we should be searching for the pure water of God which cannot be found unless we earnestly seek for it. We must ask for it with a sincere heart because
On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” John 7:37-38 NIV
When we follow those instructions and come with a true thirst for God’s truth, He will bless us with his living water. As for why we need this water,
Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:13-14 NIV
Thus, if you want to live and grow, you need to stretch yourself out for the living water of God. This water is God’s Holy Spirit who gives eternal life to all who believe (see John 3:15 and John 7:39). And when people come and try to cut you down with lies, the truth of God will always bring you back to your feet!
We Should Should Stand Firm In the Word of God
Next to drawing the living water of God, we also need to put down roots into a firm foundation to stand our ground against the enemy. To accomplish this, our foundation must be unshakeable. And what is more unshakeable than the Word of God? He himself declared,
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” Matthew 24:35 NIV
Everything will come to an end and be destroyed.
Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” 2 Timothy 2:19 NKJV
The only foundation which we can rely on through all times is the Word of God, meaning Jesus (see John 1:14),
For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 3:11 NKJV
Therefore, put your trust in Jesus and in him alone. If you do this, He will bring you through all the storms in your life and hold you firm in his love. This is also wonderfully seen in God’s Unfailing Faithfulness!
The Trunk of a Christian
As mentioned above, the trunk of the trees in God’s creation can be used for building and making fire. Both of those aspects are also true for us. In the past, wood was used to build the temple of God, but now we are the material for God’s holy temple.
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 ESV
And just like the wood of a tree can also be used to light the dark, Jesus commands,
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16 ESV
This means that we should not hide but shine God’s light into the world. Don’t be afraid of people judging or rejecting you and don’t give in! There is only one exit on the highway to hell and we are the lamps pointing towards it. We are the ones who should boldly proclaim that Jesus is the only way, the only truth and the only life (see John 14:6).
The Leaves of a Christian
We don’t have to hide small animals in our pockets, but like the trees in God’s creation we are to be a place of shelter as well. This is especially true for spiritually younger Christians, nevertheless Christians who are more mature and unbelievers can also find protection under your wings. I can confirm this with my own experiences. Whenever I felt weak or attacked, I ran to a brother or sister for support and guildance. They were always there for me and with their help, I was able to fight all obstacles and leave the place in victory.
The falling of leaves in winter can be compared to us dying. On the one hand, the shelter of those who took refuge in us is gone then. On the other hand however, every Christians leaves something behind that can fertilize hearts and enable other Christians to grow in their faith. To visualize this amazing cycle, I’d like to introduce you to the inspiring story of a young martyr.
How Patrick Hamilton Fertilized the Hearts of Many
In 1527, there was a scottish man named Patrick Hamilton. He was 23 years old and discovered that the teachings of the established church didn’t contain the true foundation to the Christian faith. This truth was only found in the Bible and after coming back from the University of Marburg, he boldy preached the gospel to everyone. This got him arrested and many priests came and tried to convert him. They all failed though (one was actually converted!) which eventually led the authorities to sentence him to death. When he was set on fire, he still wouldn’t keep quiet and kept peaching to those who stood nearby until he was consumed by the fire. His last words were,
“Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”
Jesus Freaks: Martyrs, page 106
This is written on the pages 105-107 in the book “Jesus Freaks: Martyrs. Stories of those who stood for Jesus: the ultimate Jesus Freaks” by dc Talk and The Voice of the Martyrs. (I am not making any money with this Amazon link. Its only purpose is to show you which book I mean. The link to The Voice of the Martyrs however, I highly recommend checking out. They are an awesome organization, fighting for Christians worldwide.)
In this record, they also included the following comment:
The day Hamilton was burned, someone dared to say to his persecutors:
“If you are going to burn any more, you had better do it in a cellar, for the smoke of Hamilton’s burning has opened the eyes of hundreds.”
Jesus Freaks: Martyrs, page 106
This shows that even in our death, God can use us to fertilize the hearts of others. Even in our death are we able to save other people, shining the way for them to come to or grow in their faith!
The Fruit of a Christan
By your fruit, people will recognize that you are a Christian. Your deeds shall make it evident to others that you are a true follower of Jesus. And just like it is easier to distinguish the trees in God’s creation by their fruit rather than by their leaves, so it is also easier to see your light through your deeds rather than just through your words. The fruit I’m speaking about is explained to us through Paul who wrote,
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23 ESV
Also, you can and should nourish people by telling them about the word of God. This is the best and sweetest nourishment you could ever give to someone, because
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4 NIV
Fruits bear seed to reproduce the plant they belong to. Similarly, you bear The Imperishable Seed of God in your heart with which you can extend his glorious kingdom. When you share it with others like a tree spreads its seed, you will be their door to salvation, for
The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life,
And he who is wise wins souls. Proverbs 11:30 NASB
So, remember that you can lead other people to everlasting life. Don’t hesitate to share the word of God, for it is the only way to salvation!
What Should We Learn From the Trees In God’s Creation?
First of all, the trees in God’s creation with all their purposes and cycles clearly testifiy against evolution. It is just not possible for such a perfect harmony to happen on accident — at least not as often as it did in nature! Instead, everything we see and feel was carefully created by the Lord our God.
Secondly, trees should remind us of how we are to be. We as Christians should lay our foundation in Jesus and trust in him alone. We should stand firm in storms and not give in to the world. It is our call to be a light for the world and as we’re shining, we have the great honor to be a dwelling place for the Holy Spirit! When other people are struggling with the enemy, we should be their shelter. And in all of this, God says,
“fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 ESV
Therefore, fear neither people nor your death. Instead, show your love to everyone and sow the word, the seed of God’s kingdom, into their hearts!
And last but not least, look at all the aspects of a tree. God has given so many great features and purposes to simple trees which don’t even have a soul. How much more will you be shining when you’re walking in what God has planned for you! He has a great purpose for each of us and He will lead you along a safe path when you
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6 NASB