Wednesday, June 24, 2009
In case you can't tell from this perspective, the yellow flower in this photo is a tomato blossom. Tomato blossoms are not the most beautiful flower in the garden, but they hold some of the most wonderful promise... the promise of delicious, red, ripe, juicy tomatoes!
Blossoms signal beginnings. Actually, the bud is the beginning, and then the blossom, finally culminating in fruit.
Genesis 1:1, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth."
Before the beginning, there was nothing: no plants, no people, no life. In fact, I do not think there was even any space or any time. I think that God created time, and then space, kind of the way I mixed topsoil, peat moss and compost together in my raised garden bed this spring. I was preparing a place to grow tomatoes, and other vegetables and berries. God was creating a place to raise eternal souls.
Yesterday I was reading about Aaron's rod that budded.
Numbers 17:8, "The next day Moses entered the tent of the Testimony and saw that Aaron's staff, which represented the house of Levi, had not only sprouted, but had budded, blossomed and produced almonds."
The main point of this story is to confirm the spiritual authority of the tribe of Levi, and particularly the authority of Aaron and his sons within that tribe. God had charged the priests (Aaron and his sons) and Levites (the rest of the tribe of Levi) with the care of the Tabernacle and the overseeing of the sacrificial system.
Going back a chapter, we see that some Israelites had challenged Aaron's role and wanted to burn their own incense before the Lord.
Numbers 16:3, "They came as a group to oppose Moses and Aaron and said to them, 'You have gone too far! The whole community is holy, every one of them, and the Lord is with them. Why then do you set yourselves above the Lord's assembly?'"
God instructed the head of each tribe to bring a staff to the Tabernacle. They were to write their names on these staffs and leave them in the Tabernacle overnight. God's plan was to put an end to all this bickering by sending a sign of His favor to the staff of His chosen leader. God said that the staff of the man He chose would sprout.
In the morning, Aaron's staff not only sprouted, it also budded, blossomed and bore fruit. Or, nuts, as the case may be. This is interesting because if the staff had merely sprouted, observers could have accused Moses and Aaron of replacing Aaron's staff with a sprouting branch from an almond tree. But God did a huge miracle and made the staff sprout, bud, blossom and bear almonds all at the same time, something that never happens naturally in nature. There was no explaining away this sign.
This is also a beautiful picture of how God brings life from nothing. My grandfather had a cane. It was rather a distinguished cane, shaped and polished and given a rubber end to keep it from skidding. There is no way that cane would have started to grow, apart from a miracle of God. Aaron's staff, and the staffs of the other men, were just as lifeless as my grandfather's cane, yet God brought life from Aaron's.
Ephesians 2:1, "As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins."
Just as the cane of Aaron was "dead," totally devoid of life, so were we before the Spirit of God breathed into us faith and life and a hunger for Himself.
When we live through the Spirit, we bear fruit that is pleasing to God. Just as I await tomatoes at the sight of the first blossom on one of my plants, so God looks forward to the fruit He knows we will bear by His grace and through the power of His Spirit.
Galatians 5:22-23a, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control..."
Did you ever think of how Spirit-fruit in our lives gratifies the Lord even more than a bountiful garden of vegetables gratifies us?