High upon the mountain side of our family property is a tree, that if you viewed it today, you would consider it to be ugly and certain to die. For one simple reason, it has no top. The uppermost tender part of this tree has been cut down and hauled away. Yet the root of the tree, still firmly fixed and deeply rooted, has not given up, but rather will produce another top to this tree of the same DNA and the same root. Three times now this process has been repeated and the top of the tree taken into our home for what will be certain death, in the fullness of time. The cutting off cannot be survived by man’s efforts, for despite all its beauty and tenderness it will certainly die. And yet in this series of events, a great and awesome spiritual truth is to be remembered.
Ezekiel 17 paints the picture for me, far better than I can. In verse 5, a human king has attempted to cut off the top of an evergreen tree and transplant it in his own land. The process, flawed from the start, results in the death of the top and the fruit that followed it. But something awesome happens in verse 22. God says “I will also take of the highest branch and will set it, I will crop off from the top of his young twigs, a tender one…and will plant it”. The tree, still rooted produced a top, with a tender branch, from the right root and the right DNA. This is affirmed in Isaiah 11:1- a Rod and a Branch from the root of Jesse; Yes, David’s daddy and the line of the Messiah. God accomplishes something man could not, but He’s not done. For in Daniel 9:26, we find that this Branch that is so well described in the prophets, will be cut off. He will die; plain and simple. The tree, like the one I cut off will be carved into a rough, cruel cross and the Messiah would shed His blood for me there. For all His innocence, tenderness and the power of God, He will die because He chose to. And because He chose to die, God raised Him up and gave Him a Name that is above all names. In His resurrection, I have victory & eternal life; because of His birth, His life and His death I have an Advocate and Friend with me all the time.
At my house we will have an evergreen tree this Christmas. We won’t worship it or even honor it, but it will serve to remind us of the Savior who was born in Bethlehem just over 2000 years ago on that twenty fourth day of Kislev (our December), as given by Haggai the prophet of God. No celebration of His birth is complete without the reminder that His death would ultimately be required. The illustration was not devised by pagans, but by God Himself and handed to us by Ezekiel; Personally, I think God knew exactly what He was doing….and still does! Merry Christmas to all!!