Two weeks ago, I wrote an article on the broom tree and talked about how it fit into several Bible stories. Being in the tree business, I naturally wanted to carry this theme as far as I could.
Another tree that has some wonderful Biblical metaphors attached to it is the Acacia. This is the tree described in Psalm 1 and Jeremiah 17. The Acacia is a pretty prominent landmark in the desert. They are by far the biggest tree or plant that grows in the desert. Slow-growing and long-lived, it is said that God planted them knowing that we would need shade.
The Acacia is the Bedouin’s best friend because it does so much for him. Besides providing the best shade in the desert, it also is the best and really only firewood.
The camels love to eat its leaves, and also eat its pods that grow seasonally. The Bedouins boil the pods for the camels to eat. Also, they boil the sap and it is used for both camels and people as a medicine for stomach trouble and cuts and scrapes. The Acacia is also used by the Bedouin to locate a water source, because where there is a good Acacia growing there must be some underground source of water. This is also the tree that the Ark of the Covenant was made of. As you can imagine, the metaphors are huge.
This Psalm 1 tree is a picture of someone deeply rooted in something that provides all sorts of things for people; food, shelter, shade, water, medicine. How do we become that tree? Psalm 1 has the answer, we must be in the word and meditate (“Hagah”, remember? wrestle, growl,chew) on it day and night. You can’t skip the hard work that called you to be an Acacia, and it takes some time to grow. The words are literally to always be in our mouth — we are chewing on them. When you are a good Acacia tree you are literally your community’s best friend, you do all kinds of things that bless others. You dig in and do the hard work, and then when the time comes you help out.
An interesting phenomenon with an Acacia is that almost never do you see any water around the tree, yet you know it is getting water, because of its leaves and fruit. You know there is water there because of the tree. If God is living water and we are the tree, they will know we are getting living water by the fruit we produce. It’s how much water that we get that determines how well we do in the desert.
Obviously, we need more Acacia trees. Are you willing to do the work to become one?