Our Bible verse for today: “Then God said, “Let the earth produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And so it was.” Genesis 1:11 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Thank God for the trees”
The other day I went hiking with my brother Bob. He lives in Dallas and was just passing through town on his way home after a business trip. Eastern Tennessee is beautiful and there are lots of great trails here. One of the features of the trails here in my community of Fairfield Glade is that they are maintained, well-marked, and many of the trees have been labeled to inform hikers as to the kind of tree it is and what some of its unique features are. Bob, being a Boy Scout and an amateur botanist, enjoyed stopping to read the labels.
I love trees. Trees are truly one of God’s amazing creations. A few months ago I read an interesting book with the title, “Reforesting Faith: What Trees Teach Us About the Nature of God and His Love for Us.” It was written by Matthew Sleeth. He is a medical doctor who was an avowed atheist and a very outspoken environmental activist. He was one of those on the extreme left who made environmental issues the centerpiece of his political activism.
Matthew ended up coming to faith in Christ and quickly became a fully committed Christian. When he began studying the Bible, he was startled to discover that his concerns for the environment were actually deeply rooted in Scripture. As I pointed out in a previous devotional, environmental concerns were a Biblical issue long before they were a political issue. Additionally, Matthew had always had a particular fascination with trees and he became an expert on them. When he began reading the Bible for the first time, he was dumbfounded to see how prominently trees feature into the story of God. Here’s what he wrote about that:
“I read from Genesis to Revelation, underlining everything the Bible has to say about trees. And here’s what I found: God has an astounding fondness for trees. Other than God and people, the Bible mentions trees more than any other living thing. There is a tree on the first page of Genesis, in the first psalm, on the first page of the New Testament, and on the last page of Revelation. Every significant theological event in the Bible is marked by a tree. Whether it is the Fall, the Flood, or the overthrow of Pharaoh, every major event in the Bible has a tree, a branch, fruit, seed, or some part of a tree marking the spot.”
In addition to providing shade, protecting against soil erosion, and providing food, trees also absorb carbon dioxide and other potentially harmful gasses, such as sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxide, and release oxygen back into the atmosphere. One large tree can supply a day’s supply of oxygen for four people.
Trees are an important part of God’s amazing creation. They’re important to Him and therefore they need to be important to us too. When was the last time you thanked God for giving us trees?