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Trees of Life

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.” (Proverb 13:12)

The word “hope” means “expectation.” We “expect” things will happen our way all the time. We assume we will get what we think we need when we think we need it……..every time.

Life does, of course, not work that way.

When our hope is deferred…..when the arrival of what we expect is prolonged… our heart becomes sick.

In other words, when we don’t get what we think we need when we think we need it…we grieve.

People who spend their lives experiencing this disappointment and grief often lose hope that they will ever get what they need….or think they need.

When we DO get what we desire….as the proverb says, “…it is a tree of life.”

There was an original Tree of Life.

It was in the Garden we call Eden and before Man went to another tree for life he ate from the real Tree of Life.

He experienced LIFE….real life….that can only come from God.

Satan successfully tempted Adam to go to a knock-off of the REAL Tree of Life. The devil tempted Man to seek life from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

That tree has brought not only spiritual and physical death to all mankind but is, to this day, still responsible for scores of people longing for life at the feet of many, many other false “trees of life.”

Other than in Genesis and Revelation (which refer to that REAL Tree of Life) the term “tree of life” only shows up four other times in the entire Bible – all in the Proverbs.

Proverb 3:18 speaks of wisdom from God as a tree of life.

Proverb 11:30 speaks of the fruit of the righteous (fruit that comes only from God) as a tree of life.

Proverb 15:4 says that a wholesome tongue (a tongue yielded to God speaking only HIS words) is a tree of life.

And there is this one…today’s proverb in this devotional thought:

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.” (Proverb 13:12)

While I believe that whenever God supplies our need it IS from the Tree of Life, I’m not completely convinced that Proverb is speaking only of when that happens.

As I said earlier, satan has caused scores of people to long for life at the feet of many, many false “trees of life.”

What are these?

Perhaps they think that having the right man or woman in their life will make everything just perfect.

If so, when that person comes along he or she becomes a “tree of life” for the one longing for life.

Maybe they think that pursuing “love” through sexual sin will bring them life. Sexually sinful acts will become their false “tree of life.”

Maybe it’s a drug that brings a bogus and fleeting sensation of “life”.

Maybe it’s the seeming rescue of an abortion. Maybe its hating someone else or taking revenge for a wrong suffered. Maybe it’s the arrogance of any sort of pride.

Maybe it’s the practice of any of these: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries” (Galatians 5:19-21a).

The lists of false “trees of life” are limitless and are found all over the Bible.

There, however, is and always has been ONLY ONE real Tree of Life: God.

God loves us and knows that only He can truly supply all our real needs.

He knows that false “trees of life” can only offer fake food. He knows they will NEVER satisfy.

God is clear about the endgame to worshiping any “tree of life” other than Him:

“those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:21b)

I believe God tells us this with much grief because He knows that many will pursue false “trees of life.”

As I read Proverb chapter 13 this morning the term “tree of life” jumped out at me.

I wondered what false “trees of life” have given me a momentary sense of joy and satisfaction in my many years of life…..but then caused me to feel that all too familiar emptiness soon thereafter.

Perhaps as you read that you will do what I did and will repent and ask the Lord to forgive you for going to any Tree of Life other than Him.

We’ve all done it.

Let’s all stop.

May the Lord bless you with REAL LIFE in Him today.

May our attraction to anything less than Him fade away.

Jesus loves you….and so do I.

Pastor Mike McInerney

Mike McInerney Ministries, Inc.

© June 13, 2016

(for use with permission)

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