Sunday, May 29, 2011
Trees of Fruit
Rewind to the Wednesday before convention. Wednesday morning I was praying for a few of the girls in my youth group and as I was praying, I got a picture of these girls as sapling trees - healthy, but young. As I prayed for God to work in each of their lives and reveal himself to them, I saw the trees grow into mature trees with full leaves and fruit on their branches. It was a great picture, and I continue to pray that they (and all our youth) grow rooted in God's love and mature in their faith.
Saturday morning at convention - I woke up feeling pumped and alive, still feeling the presence of God from our first general session the night before. I got up, picked up my Bible and decided to do the open-to-a-random-page-and-read-whatever-is-on-it style of morning Bible reading. I opened to Ezekiel chapter 47:1-14. In it the prophet Ezekiel is seeing a vision of a river flowing from the temple, and at one point he notices that there are many trees along the side of the river. Verses 12-13 "Fruit trees of all kinds will grow along both sides of the river. The leaves of these trees will never turn brown and fall, and there will always be fruit on their branches. There will be a new crop every month, for they are watered by the river flowing from the Temple. The fruit will be for food and the leaves for healing."
After reading this, I felt drawn to read a verse in Revelation that has captured my heart recently. Rev. 21:5 has been in my thoughts constantly for a few weeks here. But this time, I read all of chapter 21 and into chapter 22, which says "Then the angel showed me a river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. If flowed down the centre of the main street. On each side of the river grew a tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, with a fresh crop each month. The leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations."
Wow! Pretty amazing parallel between these two passages. Throughout this whole day at convention I kept thinking on the relationship between what I had read, and then more passages kept coming to mind.
Psalm 1:1-3 - those who delight in God "are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do." So, when we follow God, we are the trees?
Galatians 2:22-23 "But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control." So we're the trees, and this is the fruit - the fruit that brings healing to the nations.
Ok, yeah, wow. All through the day I'm ruminating on these passages and making connections and feeling blown away by the Spirit. Then that evening, I share these things with the girls that I was praying for (from the top of the blog) and one of them says - "that's like what you were praying for us."
Yes! Right on! You (we) are the trees planted by the banks of God's river of life, bearing fruit that brings healing!
So there's all this amazing stuff about the trees and the fruit. But there's also this river of life that the trees are planted beside. In the Ezekiel passage, the river flows from the Temple. In the Revelation passage, the verses I shared are directly after a section saying how there is no longer a Temple because God lives with His people, they don't need the temple because they are directly in His presence. The river flows from His throne. Awesome! And in the Galatians passage, the fruit is produces by the Spirit - the Spirit is the River of Life!
I could continue - but for now I'll stop! People of God, the Bible is so rich! Be rooted in Him! And lets use the fruit that His Spirit produces in our lives to heal.