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April 24, 2012

Sycamore tree, Lancaster County PA
This interesting Sycamore tree is on an Amish farm on Greider Road several miles from our home. Wouldn't this be a nice long seat for a family photo with lots of kids!

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"The Everlasting God"

"Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba, and there he called upon the Name of the LORD, the Everlasting God" (Genesis 21:33). 

We often drive by some towering stately trees along Route 422 in Lebanon County east of Palmyra PA, near Hershey. These trees, uniform in height and diameter, serenade passersby from both sides of the long lane and will actually lead you right up to the original farmsite. It's a beautiful drive for those of us who take this route and yet very likely the farmer who planted these trees
many years ago is deceased. Certainly I am no forester but I would guess these trees could easily be 75 years old or more.

Yesterday we examined the origin of trees on the third day of creation when God created fully mature trees that bore fruit with the seed in it.

Walking TrailThe overwhelming majority of trees are planted in nature as seeds fall from mature trees. Our Donegal Creek trail takes us along an abandoned township road lined with trees on each side. They weren't intentionally planted but grew unmolested at the side of the tilled fields. Of course, trees in the forest start this way as well. "The trees of the Lord are well watered, the cedars of Lebanon that He planted" (Psalm 104:16).

On the other hand, we also purposefully plant trees where we want them, usually from a seedling or small tree

Brooksyne generally plants annuals and perennials that grow quickly so that we enjoy their beauty right away. Three days ago we planted a young Threadleaf Japanese Maple in our front lawn. Usually when we plant a tree I dig the hole and Brooksyne does the supervising! When I think I've finally shoveled the last scoop of dirt she usually orders, "Keep digging."

Threadleaf Japanese Maple

The maple we planted is only about 4' tall, rather small compared to the blooming dogwood to the right, but if all goes well it will grow steadily and we'll enjoy it for many years. The bright red lobed leaves complement our other colorful dogwoods and green lawn.

Trees can be planted simply for our enjoyment or we might plant them in relation to an event or in remembrance of someone special.  

"Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba, and there he called upon the Name of the LORD, the everlasting God."  This followed the birth of Isaac and the treaty at Beersheba. Frankly I am not sure nor am I able to find in a commentary with certainty the relationship of planting the tree and his calling on the name of the Lord.

However there is one thought I pull from this text. Trees are the oldest living things on earth. When we plant a tree, regardless of our age at the time of planting,
many of them will outlive us.

But for the very first time in Scripture Abraham makes a declaration about God that is abundantly revealed all through the rest of the Bible;
"There he called upon the Name of the LORD, the Everlasting God."

One commentary refers to the tamarisk tree as a "Memorial Tree". Perhaps anytime Abraham came back to this tree it was reminder to him of this significant time when he called on "the Name of the Lord, the everlasting God." Perhaps the tree planting became "holy ground" where Abraham prayed regularly and grew in his relationship with God even as the tamarisk tree grew in size and strength.  

Hopefully we have such places in our own lives. In many cases it's not a tree but a wooden altar where we do business with God. Several weeks ago during the final service in the country church we had been pastoring folks were given an opportunity to express what the church meant to them and memories they stored from the past. A 
man pointed to the altar where he had given his heart to Christ at 17 years of age in 1974. Interestingly this was at a time when Pastor Earl Martin had preached and challenged the congregation to follow Christ.

Some 27 years later Earl, who is now with the Lord, invited us to his church when we first moved to Lancaster County in February 2001. I can still visualize that cold winter evening when he greeted us with a shoofly pie baked by his wife, Helen, and a handwritten prayer complete with Scriptures as we were still unpacking our worldly goods and settling into our rental farmhouse.

Of course God continues to be the everlasting God and He is waiting for all who will to call on the Name of the Lord. Let us do so today!

"But the lovingkindness of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him."

e encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying man
Daily prayer:  Father, we call on You, our Lord and God who existed before the foundations of the world were established. From everlasting to everlasting You reign supreme in the heavens above and in our hearts below. You are the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last who loves us with an everlasting love. We want to be a faithful people who call on Your Name regularly and exalt You above the heavens as we glorify You here on earth. In the name of Jesus we praise You.  Amen.

Brooksyne's Note:
I read recently that in ancient Israel, a tree was planted when a child was born—a cedar for a boy, a cypress for a girl. As the children grew up, they cared for their own trees. When they were married, the bridegroom and bride stood under a canopy made of branches cut from the trees that had been planted in their honor years before. Thus, the Jewish tradition formed a strong bond between birth and marriage, and helped to develop a love for trees and a sensitivity to the wonders of nature.

I don't have a photo of the trees mentioned in the first paragraph but they be seen here in a Google satellite photo!

Creekside greenhouse (children on wagon)
Today's Sycamore tree is at the farm where Elam and Naomi Stoltzfus operate the Creekside Greenhouse.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Everlasting God"  Video  New Life Worship  (written by Glenn Packiam.)

"Everlasting God"  Video  Chris Tomlin

"From The East Unto The West"  Video  The Odes of Solomon

"Eternity"  Video  Brian Doerksen

"Creation Calls"  Video  Brian Doerksen  Beautiful song set to outstanding photos and videos.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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