12 The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar on the hills of Lebanon; 13 Those who are planted in the house of the Lord, will flourish in the courts of our God. 14 They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, 15 proclaiming, “The Lord is upright; he is my rock, and there is no wickedness in him.” Psalm 92, 12 - 15
On August 4, a massive explosion destroyed parts of the city of Beirut in Lebanon. You probably still remember the terrible pictures which we saw on TV. Destroyed houses, injured and homeless people. Angry people. And again and again the flag of Lebanon: two red bars, white in the middle, with a green cedar on top.
The cedar is the national symbol of Lebanon. It grows in the mountains and can get very old. Its wood was already highly valued by King Solomon. He asked King Hiram of Tyre to cut cedars for the temple he wanted to build in Jerusalem and where he needed the high quality wood (1.Kings 6). The roof of the temple was covered with cedar wood. The walls were covered as well with planks of cedar wood and the inner sanctum was decorated with carved pictures of palm trees and flowers (verse 29).
Palm trees and cedars are symbols of faith. When Jesus enters Jerusalem, he is greeted like a king (John 12, 12+13) “When the large crowd that had come for the festival to Jerusalem heard that Jesus was on his way to the city, they took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” and “Blessed is the King of Israel!”
The cedar, which always remains green and can live for more than a thousand years, is also a symbol of faith. Just as the cedar grows year after year, so should our trust and love for God grow. Faith is not something short-term. Faith is long-lasting. But there is one condition: the tree of faith must be planted in the house of God. It does not grow anywhere. It is planted on God's property. God himself planted this tree of faith there. So that a tree of faith can grow from a small seed.
The seed is the Word of God, which God himself planted in our hearts. God wants faith to grow. God wants our faith to be long-lasting like a cedar.
How can this happen? We are to receive Jesus Christ as our King. We are allowed to cheer him. We are to give him the glory alone. We may honor Jesus Christ every day in our lives and thank him for his redemption from sin, death and the devil. In this way our faith can grow step by step each day.
As a part of my spiritual growth, is also necessary, that I say "yes" to my location of faith. This is the church that God has assigned to me. Church is his own land. That is where I am able to grow roots.
Together with other Christians: Remaining in prayer and staying in the Word of God (Acts 2, 4). Then we are really planted by the streams of water from Psalm 1 and bring many fruits of faith for God.
Would be very pleased if you visit me again on October 3rd. I will be happy to meet you then! The story which we will cover then, will be a reflection of the "Old tree" from verse 15 out of Psalm 92.
Until then may the Lord bless you!
By the way: if you want to help the Christians in Lebanon financially, then you just can have a look at the homepage of Christlicher Hilfsbund im Orient e.V., Bad Homburg, www.hilfsbund.de .
I invite my German-speaking readers to hear my sermons.
You can find the audio files at https://www.nord-ost-gemeinde.de/predigten
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version), edited by R. Jordan
Not a Bible at hand? Please look at www.bibleserver.com . The bible in 21 languages. FREE!