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May 23, 2010
Casting in the Tree
Shortly after Israel escapedthe clutches of Egyptian bondage, they came to Marah hoping to find water. But the water was bitter. Moses cried out and “the Lord showed him a tree.” Moses cast it into the waters and the waters were made sweet. Casting in the tree made all the difference (Exodus 15:22-25).
In the days of Elisha, he and his servants were cutting down trees for a new residence (2 Kings 5:1-7). As one was cutting, the iron ax head fell into the water and sank to the bottom. The servant cried out, “Alas, master! For it was borrowed” (vs. 5). No problem. Elisha simply “cut off a stick and threw it in there; and he made the iron float” (vs. 6).
Here are two examples of bad situations made so much better by casting in the tree. So it is with our lives. Problems arise as we strive to serve God faithfully but God has given us a tree; the tree of Calvary. Cast it in!! See the difference it makes.
Are you needing saving from your sins? Cast in the tree. When you and I sinned the very first time, we came under the death penalty (Rom. 6:23). Our sentence would be eternal separation from God. Worse yet, there was nothing we could do to remedy the problem. But God cast in the tree! Jesus “bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we having died to sins, might live for righteousness — by whose stripes you were healed” (1 Pet. 2:24). Because of the tree being cast in, we can obey the gospel and no longer fear death (1 Cor. 15:55-57).
Do you want to get rid of your old sinful self? Cast in the tree. Are you tired of sin? Are you tired of what it is doing to you? Cast in the tree. Not only did Jesus have a cross to die on, you do too. In becoming a Christian, you crucify the old man and rise to walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:1-7) Say goodbye to the old man!! You can live in a joyful new life and say with Paul, “I am crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).
Are you tired of churches using gimmicks and recreation for “power” to draw people? Cast in the tree. How ashamed we ought to be if we ever think we need to draw people to Christ with food, recreation and entertainment. There’s enough power in the tree. Jesus Himself said, “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to Myself” (Jn. 12:32). The man who sees his problem with come to the tree of Calvary for his remedy. He needs nothing else. He wants nothing else. He desires only “Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:1-5).
Do you ever feel down? Do you ever feel like quitting? Cast in the tree. Paul said he often was hard pressed, perplexed, persecuted and struck down (2 Cor. 4:8-9). How can we hold up under all the discouraging things that come our way in this life? Cast in tree. That was Paul’s answer. He said he was “always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body” (2 Cor. 2:10). When it got hard, he just remembered Jesus. He endured the cross and afterward sat down at God’s right hand in heaven (Heb. 12:2). The world will look at us with bewilderment and wonder what keeps us going. What a great testimony when they see that it is the tree!!
Has someone hurt you? Are you struggling to forgive? Is your patience with someone really wearing thin? Cast in the tree. Come on now. Have any of us ever been hurt more than Jesus? Can we hear Him saying on the tree, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Lk. 23:34). Can’t we do the same (Col. 3:13)? Maybe the “scruples” of someone is testing your patience. Are you tempted to push your way with no regard for their feelings? Cast in the tree (Rom. 15:1-3).
Is some trial or happening in your life causing you to wonder if God loves you? Cast in the tree. Jesus has forever settled that matter. The tree proves His love. Let nothing deter you from serving Him and separating you from His love. The one who did not spare His own Son will reward us well when this life is over (Rom. 8:31-39).
No matter what comes into our lives, we can always cast in the tree. It changes things. Let us all praise God for the cross of our Lord.
I am certainly not qualifiedto talk about good nutrition. I try to do good but set a buffet before me and I am likely to go only to the foods I like. I may completely turn my head away from some foods that would be really good for me. And then I would surely return too often to the “sweet stuff.”
I may get by with that in regard to my physical health but my nutrition habits in Christ need to be more balanced. Sadly, there are many Christians who only want to be fed “sweet stuff” from the preacher. They want the things that go down smoothly. Isaiah was asked by his listeners, “Do not prophesy to us right things; Speak to us smooth things” (Isa. 30:10). Paul told Timothy, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn away their ears from the truth and be turned aside to fables” (2 Timothy 4:3-4). Simply put, they turned to “junk food.” Such people will never be healthy in the Lord. We need to eat from all of God’s word. Sometimes what He desires to feed us may not go down very well but it will be what we need.
The apostle Paul’s aim as a gospel preacher was to make the table a “full course meal.” He said to his listeners, “For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27). We must eat from all of it. No message from God, even if it rebukes us in a major way, should turn our stomach. The prophets often had to speak bitter messages to God’s people but to them all the words of God were sweet (Ezekiel 2:1 – 3:3). Too often we criticize our religious friends because they “just will not listen to what the Bible says about ________________.” But then, we turn right around and have certain topics that we also will not listen to or respond to. How well does a sermon on modest dress go down? Or marriage, divorce, and remarriage? Or dancing? Or social drinking? Or __________________________ (you fill in the one you don’t like).
I may prefer the “sweet stuff” but I can remember a few times along the way when too much of it made me sick. Let’s balance the meal and enjoy the bountiful feast the Lord has prepared for us.
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Athens, AL 35611