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Taught by a Forest of Trees

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
October 6, 2023 12:00 am

Taught by a Forest of Trees

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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October 6, 2023 12:00 am

Watch, listen, or read the full-length version of this message here: https://www.wisdomonline.org/teachings/taught-by-a-forest-of-trees // All of nature is a classroom where the Gospel can be illustrated, the Christian edified, the unbeliever warned, and the glory of Creator God revealed. This is no truer than in examining some of the smallest creatures, like the honeybee and the ant. Whether it’s through our own visual observance or the meticulous scientific study of their complexities, we can discover undeniable truths in learning about these creative marvels. This message from Pastor Davey on these tiny teachers will deepen our awe of the marvelous Creator.

 

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Jeremiah says, hey, go study a tree.

Make some observations. Observe that the best parts of the life of that tree are analogous to the best parts of a believer's life, when they are in rooted relationship with the Lord and His Word. Security, stability, productivity, growth, perseverance, able to withstand adversity, remaining fruitful. These are some of the characteristics of a believer who is tree-like. Trees give us a reminder of who God is. They are intricately created to carry out some magnificent responsibilities on earth. When you look in Scripture, trees are often used as messengers of gospel warnings and promises, revealing the ultimate hope of heaven's splendor. Today on Wisdom for the Heart, we continue through our series on creation called, In Living Color.

We're looking at the character of God revealed in what He's made. Here's your Bible teacher, Stephen Davey, with a message that he's called, Taught by a Forest of Trees. There are around 7.6 billion people on the planet today and growing. We benefit and get most of our oxygen from plant life, trees, which are alive and well. For most of your childhood and mind, the number of trees has been a point of concern. You were told in school that when you were growing up, there were about 400 billion trees alive and well, which is around 60 to 70 per person.

It's not a lot. And everyone was further alarmed by the fact that 1 billion trees are being cut down every year and that number is growing with a growing world population. So everyone was put on alert, especially schoolchildren. Planet's in danger. We're obviously going to run out of trees. And with that, we're going to run out of oxygen. In 2013, experts working with the School of Forestry and Environmental Sciences at Yale University, a conservative school in the Northeast, decided to launch an aggressive global program that would plant 1 billion trees.

I don't have anything against that at all. But they didn't know what kind of impact that would make, what kind of percentage that would produce on the planet. And surprisingly, they learned an accurate count had never before been attempted.

It had been a guess. And so with the help of National Forest Inventories and newly advanced satellite imaging, this team from Yale spent two years studying all the available data with the help of computerized data processing tweaked just for this project. Just in 2015, they actually came up with the count. We have on the planet just a little more than 3 trillion trees. We're not running out of oxygen and we're not going to run out of trees. In fact, we know now that one average mature tree, just one, produces 260 pounds of oxygen. That's enough oxygen for you and one other person to inhale that year.

It'll produce that much in one year, just one tree. Now, if you're here today, for the first time, you might wonder, what in the world have you walked into? You've heard of tree huggers as preachers preaching on trees. You happen to have walked into a series we've called In Living Color where we're studying the marvels of God's creative genius because ultimately we're giving glory to God, our creator. And today, I have decided to explore with you something so common that we could miss it, the average ordinary tree. I want to give you three thoughts that kind of govern, outline our study today.

Number one, let's go back and start at the beginning. First of all, trees are miracles of God's creation. In Genesis chapter 1, a text that we've referred to often in this series, the Bible records for us what only God would know as an eyewitness.

He was the only one there. And he gave the information to Adam, passed on and ultimately written by Moses. God spoke into existence on the third day, vegetation, plants, and trees. The Bible says, then God said, let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed.

You could write it on the margin with this Hebrew construction already, already yielding seed, and fruit trees on the earth, again, already bearing fruit. Again, as we've already discovered in this series, the language of this creative act in this creation week shows God commanding into existence fully mature systems, not seeds, but trees, and trees mature enough to already bear fruit, just as Adam and Eve were created and immediately ready to eat, a fully developed creation, which would have been necessary in fact for Adam and Eve and all the animals created as well on the sixth day to have something to eat. Now, of course, evolution has continued to make much of the fact that the world looks old, and therefore the biblical account is either wrong or, and I've heard this with my own ears from people, God is deceiving us. It's his fault, then. He's deceiving us. Well, the world looks old, as does the universe, by the way, because in order to benefit mankind and to offer us the benefits of everything from starlight to fruit trees, he creates it immediately operational. And God isn't deceiving us because he just told us what he did. It isn't a secret.

It isn't deception. The eyewitness tells us, here's what I did on the third day. I created these trees, immediately mature and bearing fruit. In fact, it's brilliant and perfectly logical that God would create plants and trees to produce oxygen and food, and then a couple of days later, create the animal kingdom and the human race who would need them. Imagine, here's this forest of trees suddenly spoken into existence by the creative command of God. Now, if we look individually at trees, we know that they come without any external or internal skeleton to provide support and strength. However, we now know what Darwin did not know, that inside each individual tree are cells, and each cell has this rather robust cell wall built around it, trillions of them in each individual tree, which gives it its strength. It's fashioned in a superior, rounded fashion, which allows for it to grow tall and yet bend in the wind in any possible, in every direction, just as they did last night, and yet support this crown of branches immensely heavy, providing maximum strength.

By the way, we've copied the same idea for telephone poles that bend and sway. Trillions of cell walls make up the wood of the tree, but where did evolutionists wonder that wood originally come from? Botanists estimate there are at least 60,000 tree species in the world, but one evolutionist from the University of Hawaii admitted, quote, we know next to nothing about how trees got here. We know how humans did, but we don't know how the tree got here. What's even more interesting is that fossil evidence reveals that trees were around with the dinosaurs. In fact, that the dinosaurs and the fossil record shows that they're wandering among oak trees, elm trees, magnolia trees. Wait, that's supposed to have died out or at least evolved in some other form a long, long time ago, but one evolutionary report stated that new research shows, again, this is new to us in our generation, the genome of spruces and pines reveal they have barely changed at all since the days of the dinosaurs. They should have died out millions of years ago or evolved into different species of trees or at least have evolved into a two-story house with a backyard fence. One particular tree evolutionist had even nicknamed the dinosaur age tree, the Wilemi pine tree, and then they discovered it in 1994 in Australia.

Did they rewrite the books? Not on your life. Still, the evolutionary propaganda declares of the Wilemi pine tree this, it displays no evolutionary changes over the past 200 million years. I wonder if that's because it's not evolving. One rather transparent botanist admitted in one study I read from in preparation for this today and I quote, the origin of wood, just ordinary wood, that is the first steps of wood evolution are unknown. We don't know how, we don't know when, we don't know where we got that tree from.

Well, actually we do. We've been given an eyewitness account that God created trees by his verbal and creative command. Certain trees have been found now to have defense systems against being overeaten. They can produce chemicals that make their leaves taste bad.

They all taste bad to me, but they've even discovered that as hungry insects salivate on particular elm trees, as one insect dives in to eat away, the tree chemically reproduces the saliva of that insect and emits that chemical into the air and that odor alerts predators that like that kind of insect to fly in and take care of it. Research is discovering a lot underneath the ground as well. The old view that I grew up with, the old view was that trees in a forest competed in this life and death struggle for limited sunlight and limited resources. That's what we were taught. Come to find out that's not actually true.

They're not competing, they're actually enabling. For instance, they discovered when a young sapling springs up in the shade of a thick forest, older trees through their roots share nutrients with that sapling, which by the way is a wonderful demonstration of God designing us to help younger people. God designed the older tree to assist the younger tree.

There's a spiritual lesson in there. Researchers have discovered as well that older trees even change their root structure to open up space for the roots of the younger tree. Networks of electrical impulses are now discovered to be constantly passing between root tip of one tree to root tip of another tree, broadcasting everything from drought conditions to predator attacks. A forest of trees, one author wrote, is more sophisticated than the world wide web.

In fact, he called it the wood wide web. They're miracles of God's creation. And that's just a little bit of what I learned. And maybe it'll whet your appetite to study this marvel a little more.

Let me give you a second thought. Trees are metaphors of godly believers. Just as we've observed, older believers are to teach younger believers, older women to teach younger women, Titus 2, older men teaching younger men, 2nd Timothy 2. Time after time, if you go through the scriptures, the authors of scripture refer to trees as illustrations of godly believers, sermons again by Charles Spurgeon I've mentioned before on trees and analogies to believers more than I could possibly read. Those who trust in the Lord and delight in his word in the Bible are called, illustrated by a strong rooted tree, Psalm 1.

Jeremiah the prophet declared it this way. This sounds familiar I know to Psalm 1, but Jeremiah put it this way, blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and whose trust is the Lord, for he will be like a tree planted by the water that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes, but its leaves will be green and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit. Jeremiah says, hey, go study a tree.

Make some observations. Observe that the best parts of the life of that tree are analogous to the best parts of a believer's life when they are in rooted relationship with the Lord and his word, security, stability, productivity, growth, perseverance, able to withstand adversity, remaining fruitful. These are some of the characteristics of a believer who is tree like, rooted in the soil of the character and in the confidence, guided by the revelation of God.

Let me give you a third thought. Trees are messengers of gospel warnings and promises. On one occasion a fig tree that wasn't bearing any fruit was used by Christ to communicate by way of illustration the fruitlessness of that current generation of Jews and the current nation of Israel.

It was empty spiritually and Jesus pronounced judgment on the nation and gave them an illustration of that judgment in this barren tree, Matthew 21. It couldn't help but think of the fact that one of the fearful effects of judgment that will fall on the human race during the tribulation period after the rapture of the beloved church, the bride, involves trees, part of his judgment. But one of the fearful effects of this tribulation period, we're told in the book of Revelation in chapter 8, is that as God pours out his wrath on earth, one of the things he's going to do is bombard earth with hail and fire and he will destroy one third of all of the trees on the planet. You can imagine that kind of devastation. Imagine as God wipes them off the planet the reduction of oxygen.

Imagine in parts of the world the thinning of oxygen and the resulting difficulty in breathing which may be a very real part of the horrific conditions on earth as the wrath of God in this seven year period of tribulation is unleashed on earth. I couldn't help but think that the very first warning to humans was related to a tree, right? We could call it the tree of pride. In Genesis chapter 2 we read, the Lord God commanded the man, this is Adam and this is YV saying, from any tree of the garden you may eat freely, but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat. For in the day that you eat from it, you shall surely die. This tree would represent knowledge of sin. It would be disobedience in the eating of it.

It would come to illustrate the defiance. And what happens? Eve comes along, takes the initiative in her own independence of Adam, certainly of God, and in her pride she is swept into this alluring temptation that she will be as wise as God eat.

And she does. And Adam in his rebellion and defiance and pride eats as well. And sin enters the world. And Adam and Eve, who would have lived as long as they lived in obedience in that state of innocence, in that perfect condition, began to die. Cells in their bodies began to die.

Attributes in their physical condition began to be affected by age. This was the tree of pride. They essentially said, the knowledge of good and evil will not belong to God. It will be ours. We will be like God. Mankind is saying the same thing today. We're sovereign.

We are God. God placed that tree there so that Adam and Eve, though innocent and created without a sinful fall in nature, had a choice to make, pride or humility, obedience or defiance. Imagine, here they are in the Garden of Eden. The Hebrew word for Eden is delight. They're in the Garden of sheer delight.

God says, I've created all these trees. Look, they're already bearing fruit. You can have all you want from any one of them, but not this one. And the same thing that happens to them is the same thing that happens to your children and mine. Put five things in front of them and say, you can have anything of those five you want, but don't take any of this one over here.

What do they do? I want that one. Why can't I have that one? Why can't I have that one right there? I really want that one. That's my favorite one. I don't want those five. I want that one. Imagine, here they are. What would their priority be? Fellowship with God, worship of God, obedience to God.

No, I want that one. Self-willed, self-exalting, self-promoting, God-denying, God-despising, God-defying pride. They are expelled from the Garden of Delight, but not without being given a promise of another tree, of a coming, suffering, Satan, crushing, sin-defeating, grave-killing Redeemer. This is the tree of pardon. Paul writes to the Galatians, this Gospel, by the way, he tells us just a few verses before verse 13 of chapter 3 that the Gospel was preached to Abraham. Don't think for a moment that these patriarchs were in a fog, that they didn't know anything about a coming Redeemer, that they didn't know anything about a suffering Savior. David will write in Psalm 22 of his crucifixion, even the fact that his clothing will be bartered off by the casting of lots.

What is the Gospel that was preached to Abraham? A few verses later after that statement, we're given it in verse 13. Christ, here it is, redeemed us from the curse of the law, the fact that we've broken it. I want that one. I'm going to defy God. I'm going to live my life like I want to live it. We can be redeemed from our sinful pride.

How? Well, it's written, cursed is everyone who hangs upon a tree, literally translated, cursed is everyone who hangs upon wood, wood. In ancient Judaism, a criminal worthy of death was typically stoned to death and then tied up or hung from a post or a tree, the precursor of the cross, where his body would hang until sunset as a visible statement that he had been rejected by God the Father and his unrepentant sin.

He wasn't rejected because he was hanging from a tree. He was hanging from a tree as an illustration that he had been rejected by God in feeling the effects of that curse having broken the law. So Jesus Christ takes on our sin.

He allows himself to bear the curse on our behalf and he's hanging there as an illustration that he's rejected by God the Father. So we will never have to be rejected by God the Father when we come to him and to that cross. But one tree stands for our pride. One tree stands for our pardon. There's a tree yet in our future that stands for our promise, eternal promise. In Revelation chapter 22, there's an orchard of trees in heaven.

In the Father's house, there's that river cascading from the Father's throne down those 12 levels, creating a boulevard of water on either side of that main boulevard. It's interesting, the only vegetation mentioned in the Father's house, although there will be every species and specimen, recreated, perfectly ordered to last forever, altered. It's interesting, the only vegetation given special attention and mentioned in heaven is a tree. Then he showed me, John writes, a river of the water of life clear as crystal coming down from the throne of God and of the lamb in the middle of its street on either side of the river was the tree of life, think orchards, bearing 12 crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month, changed, altered. It's interesting that in heaven, we're going to have trees and these trees are going to bear fruit. In fact, God is going to alter what we normally experience so that the tree of life is going to bear a fresh crop of fruit every month, 12 months out of the year. Wait, there are months in heaven?

Yes, there are. In fact, it reminded me that we need to spend at least one session in this series on the new creation and how there are months and how there is time and progression of events and eating. Praise God for that.

So we'll spend time in the future. The first tree witnesses the sin of mankind. The second tree witnesses the savior of mankind. The third tree is witness to the splendor of heaven given to mankind. That first tree of pride hoped in the second tree of pardon. Have you gone to that second tree? Have you gone to that cross of wood upon which your Redeemer died?

Have you gone there? You will not have that next tree of promise. You will not get there. There is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved. He's it. He is the only way, the only truth, the only life you could render into the Greek language.

No one, not even one, you could translate it, comes to the Father except through Him. You've been cursed by your own sin nature. Don't worry about Adam.

Take a look in the mirror. Your only hope is the tree of pardon. Have you gone there?

Have you gone there? If you have and you've placed your faith in Him as your Redeemer, you've got this tree of promise coming because you've gone to the tree of pardon. I love the way one author put it, the foot of that cross touched earth as if to communicate to us that God had come in God the Son to earth. The arms of the cross stretch outward as if to communicate to us whosoever will may come. The top of the cross points upward as if to say there's a heaven to gain where you can live forever. There's much to learn from studying the universe that God created and today we've seen some of those powerful lessons as we've looked at trees.

This is wisdom for the heart. Our Bible teacher Stephen Davey pastors the Shepherd's Church in Cary, North Carolina. Stephen's taken this series and turned it into a book. It's a beautifully bound hardback book that makes a great addition to your resource library. It also makes a wonderful gift. That book is available at a special rate right now. Call us at 866-48-BIBLE or visit wisdomonline.org for information. Please join us next time as we explore God's wisdom for the heart.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-10-06 03:19:20 / 2023-10-06 03:28:15 / 9

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