Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Jesus, the Oak of Righteousness

The picture is clear. A big oak tree, tall and majestic, leaves growing, acorns galore, birds and squirrels finding places of refuge. It can withstand the hottest summer days and the coldest winter nights. It’s seen wind, rain, hail, thunderstorms and blizzards. Then one day there’s a rush of wind and – crack! – down comes the big oak tree.

Why? This tree has seen stronger winds than this before. Why did it come down today? The answer lies inside the big oak tree. The trunk is hollow, its support system is weak – how did it happen? Grubs! Big ones, eating away at the inside. With each bite the tree gets weaker and weaker.

Look at my life. It’s like that big oak tree. To the casual observer it stands tall and majestic. I’m a pastor, you know. The leaves are growing, It grows deep within, hidden until the storm. By there are acorns galore, birds and squirrels are finding places of refuge, I’ve seen some pretty strong storms in my day – I’ve withstood them all.

But wait – something’s wrong. There’s a weakness growing deep within. Then all of a sudden there’s a rush of wind and – crack! – down comes the big oak tree.

Why? I’ve seen stronger winds than this before. Why did I come down today?

The answer again lies within. It has nothing to do with the external forces. God promises not to give me anything more than what I can handle. God promises me that His rod and staff will comfort me when I walk through the valley of the shadow of death.

There is something eating at my insides. There are little grubs eating away at my strength. What are these grubs? Where did they come from?

They are the strongholds that I’ve allowed Satan to have. The unconfessed sin, the bitterness and anger, the disobedience, the selfishness... When there’s only one, it seems so small compared to the big oak tree. How can anything so small do any damage?

Time. Over time that grub eats away, it gets bigger and begins to multiply. Before I know it there are many little grubs eating away at my insides.

Is it too late? Never! Not with Jehovah-Rophi, the Lord who heals! He can heal anyone. He can remove the grubs, the strongholds and restore my strength. Brad Friedlein

Isaiah 61:1-3
The Year of the LORD's Favor
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.


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