To be an Oak of Righteousness
Where there are seeds there is hope.
The dry and arid climate of Idaho promotes only a wasteland of rock and dirt. Only through rivers and streams that redirect the melting snow does life have a chance. Black cottonwoods that guard the banks of the Boise River is the reason why French trappers coined it’s original name, “Les Bois”, a city of trees. Without a river or irrigation, no such life could exist.
Walking along the Boise River on the famed Greenbelt trail, stately oaks planted over a hundred years ago dominate the park. Mature, strong, ancient in appearance, they provide a canopy of shade and homes for birds and squirrels. In a land of aridness, the trees stand out. They provide a haven for families to play and rest. The oaks also provide a picture for what it means to be rooted into the promises of God.
“They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.” (Isaiah 61:3b)
What beautiful imagery of God’s goodness and grace. Throughout the sixty-first chapter of the book of Isaiah, there are portraits provided that proclaim the results of what God has already done for us through Christ. The poor become rich in spirit. The broken-hearted are bound up in love. Those held captive by sin are now set free from darkness. Those who mourn are comforted with assurance. Instead of ashes, we are bestowed with a crown of beauty. All because of Christ.
God sent the Messiah to proclaim a year of the Lord’s favor by bringing the good news of healing, freedom, and victory. It is through the power of His Word that we receive comfort, joy, and strength. But notice the image cast for us as a result of preaching this good news. Those who place their trust in Christ are called “oaks of righteousness.” Like seeds of oaks planted in Boise, which were unnatural to the area, they still took root and grew into splendid, mature trees. Through God’s Word, seeds of faith were planted into mortal hearts that were unnatural and dying in this world. The seeds miraculously took root and were properly nourished through streams provided by God. Now look at them! The oaks of righteousness have grown and endured in the harshest of elements into a display of God’s splendor — all for his glory!
Where there are seeds, there is hope. A healthy tree can’t help but to provide seeds that fall to the ground. They have no control over whether or not those seeds take root. They just do. All that mature trees do is to stay connected to its roots. Those who are “oaks of righteousness” display God’s splendor by being majestic in thought, words, and actions, but liberally share its fruit and allow its seeds to fall to the ground. It’s amazing how many seeds a stately oak can produce.
It’s my prayer and hope that forests of oaks will someday rise up in the most unsuspecting of places and from seeds of just a few faithful oaks.