WEEK 5: The Cedars of God in Lebanon
“The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, ‘The Lord is upright; He is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in Him.’” (Psalm 92:12-15, NIV)
Walking through one of the cedar tree reserves in Lebanon was awe-inspiring. As I touched some of the oldest trees in the reserve (that are between 2,500 and 3,000 years old), I was transported back in history. In the Old Testament, Moses ordered the priests to use the bark of the cedar for the cleansing of lepers and Solomon used cedar wood to build the temple in Jerusalem – these are just two accounts of the trees in the Old Testament. Instantaneously, my soul was flooded with emotion and tears streamed down my face – I was witnessing and touching the very cedars of Lebanon described in the Bible.
To understand Psalm 92, it is necessary to know something about these cedar trees. They are evergreen and are normally found on high ground and on dry rocky slopes, in regions where the summers are hot and dry and the winters are cold (and often snowy). The Lebanese cedars only start producing cones (seeds) after 40 years, and it takes 17-18 months for cones to mature. For the seeds to germinate, cold winters and moist ground are needed. The trees grow rapidly until the age of 45-50, and after 70 years, the growth is much slower.
So often, as Christians, we impatiently seek quick growth and the quick production of “spiritual seed”. We somehow try to avoid the “dry seasons” in life, thinking God has abandoned us, not realising that seed bearing will come even in the winter of our lives. Do not rush into superficial maturity in Christ; let us learn from this tree and allow our roots to grow deep and our branches to grow wide. Then our seeds will sprout and mature even in the coldest of times. Let us be patient in Christ and follow the seasons He has set out for us so we may be useful in His Kingdom.