A Tree Planted by the
Rivers of Water
By David Brandt Berg
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I love trees. They are one of God’s most beautiful creations, in perfect balance and symmetry. You know why that tree out there is perfect? Because it does nothing but fulfill the Lord’s purpose for it. It never makes a mistake. It’s perfect. It only obeys the Lord’s will for it in everything it does, in spite of blights and bugs and storms. The Lord takes care of it and it lifts its leafy arms to praise the Lord.
It just bends and bows and nods its head to the will of God and smiles all day. Did you ever notice a tree is full of smiles? Every parting of the branches is a smile with the corners turned up. A tree is nothing but smiles, no frowns, unless man or storms sometimes bend it the other way and make it a little ugly; then it just grows right back up again toward the Lord. No matter which way you bend it or even break it, it’ll grow right back up again. Nothing can stop it unless it’s cut down and killed, and then even the root will come back to life.
Every single branch has to be perfectly designed and grow at the right place and in the right direction and the right weight, with branches on all sides of equal size and numbers and weights so the tree won’t tip over. It weighs tons, and yet it is balanced on one little trunk! It’s like a ballet dancer dancing on one foot, with her skirt all spread out, perfectly balanced.
A tree is a vision of the perfection of God’s creation. It always stands straight and strong, as if in worship to the Lord and looking beautiful for all to enjoy, giving shade and shelter, and sometimes fruit and food and some even clothing.
Trees can supply man’s three basic necessities: food, clothing, and shelter. An amazing, marvelous thing is a tree. A woman is like a tree; she gives her family food, clothing, shelter, beauty, love, comfort and companionship, and is strong and reliable, and helpful and a blessing, just like a tree.
I was just lying here looking out the window at that beautiful tree, thinking how it grows for His glory and according to His will and produces exactly what He has ordained it to produce, fruitful and flowering, strong and beautiful, fulfilling its mission in life just like we’re supposed to.
Lord, help us to be like trees, planted strong in Your earth and nourished with the water of Your Word and fertilized with the food of Your very body. You’re like the earth in which we grow and on which we stand and depend, and without whom we could not exist. Help us to be strong, strong and true like trees growing for Your glory, fruitful and helpful for others, obedient and performing the mission for which You’ve ordained us, to grow and bear fruit for Your glory and to be a blessing to man.
I think that I shall never see,
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is pressed,
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
The first piece of clothing man ever wore was a fig leaf, and a fig is from a fig tree. And some of the finest cloth is linen, and linen is made from flax, which comes from a flax tree. And of course lots of shelters are made from trees, from the little thatched huts of the poor to the mighty chateaus of the rich. Food, clothing, and shelter—all from trees.
In fact, one of the most delicious natural sweeteners is maple syrup, made from the sap of the maple tree. The leaf from the maple tree is the national emblem of Canada. There’s another country, I think, that even has a tree on its flag as its national symbol, as a symbol of might, power, growth, usefulness and beauty. Trees are wonderful!
I don’t think the world could get along without trees. They make houses out of them and they provide all kinds of fruits. Almost all fruits come from trees, except berries, and most nuts come from trees.
If you didn’t have trees, there would be no shade, and if there was no shade, that means a lot of the brush and shrubbery couldn’t grow and animals wouldn’t find a habitat, and the soil would wash away and become a barren desert just as it has in a lot of places when people cut down all the trees. It just became a barren desert, a wilderness which couldn’t support life. You can hardly have life without trees. Trees are an absolute necessity to both the life of man and animals.
Trees are one of God’s greatest gifts to man, and we could hardly live without trees. God said that you’d be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that brings forth his fruit in his season.
“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”1
Originally published March 1981. Adapted and republished January 2014.
Read by Simon Peterson.
1 Psalm 1:1–3.
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