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Monday, November 27, 2017

Photo of Oak Leaf

"A Lesson From Fading Leaves"

Message summary: Am I like an "oak with fading leaves" or like "a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither"?

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Autumn leaves, Lancaster Country PA"You will be like an oak with fading leaves" (Isaiah 1:30).

We are blessed with many trees, those in our own yard and in our neighbor's yards and along the farm fields across the road. We're in the late-autumn season when leaves from the deciduous trees have changed their colors and texture. With the breezy weather in full force autumn leaves appear to be dancing all about the well-manicured lawns from this past summer. Red, yellow, orange, brown and all the hues in-between gather in piles at fence lines and among the bushes.

Burning leavesAs the season progresses trees go through a process known as abscission; that is, ... they drop their leaves. This last weekend I spent a lot of time raking leaves and cleaning up our lawn and landscape areas. My next chore was to dispose of them. Some I mulched into the lawn with the mower, some I placed in large bags for pick-up along the road which is a service of our rural township, others I placed along tree and field lines. I raked some into a pile and burned them, which emitted an aroma like decaying leaves and wood smoke! This morning I look out and, behold, we have still more leaves that have fallen or blown into our yard! I suppose if I posted signs in the yard "NO TRESPASSING" the leaves would just disregard them.

Oak leafIn contrast we have two oaks with an interesting characteristic. They tend to keep their leaves well into the winter, their crimson leaves stubbornly holding on for dear life, though they have little concern for the piles of acorns that drop into our yard. We're glad the oaks keep their color in a season that can be rather bland. We shared a photo of one of these trees in last Friday's message and you can even see the bagged leaves along the road ready for pick-up.

Today let us examine a rarely considered Bible text in Isaiah that draws an illustration from fading leaves.

The text is taken from a portion of Isaiah dealing with the rebellious nation of Israel. It's a stunning chapter and includes this warning, "Woe to the sinful nation, a people whose guilt is great, a brood of evildoers, children given to corruption! They have forsaken the Lord; they have spurned the Holy One of Israel and turned their backs on Him" (Isaiah 1:4).

Golden leavesVarious illustrations are used to describe Israel's condition including today's text, "You will be like an oak with fading leaves" (Isaiah 1:30). Now the meaning in context is speaking of the nation's condition as the people rebel against God.

An oak is a splendid tree and is the first specific species of tree mentioned in the Bible, "Abram passed through the land as far as the site of Shechem, to the oak of Moreh" (Genesis 12:6). Although we realize that there is the God-designed process of trees, the fading and eventual dropping of leaves as part of the tree's life cycle,
there is also an untimely fading due to lack of water which is what Isaiah seems to mean when the verse continues "or as a garden that has no water."

A healthy tree and a healthy spiritual life is like "a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither" (Psalm 1:3).

Today we can consider the text on the national level (wherever we may live) and wonder if our nation is "like an oak with fading leaves". It's an interesting analogy to consider.

However let us consider the verse on a personal level in an examination of our relationship with the Lord. Am I like an
"oak with fading leaves" or am I like "a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither"?

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, I want to be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, fruitful in every season of my life. I don't want to wither during the winter season as I grow old and more feeble. Though I may be more dormant I can still hold fast to the profession of my faith and not let it fade over time. I can do that by living a life above reproach, clinging to Your promises, immersing myself in the Scriptures and prayer, and trusting You for all that concerns me in every season of my life, knowing that You will provide for all my needs. Like a tree receives health by drawing from its water supply I remain spiritually healthy by drinking from the springs of living water. Amen.

Amish church traffic through Mount Joy, PA 11/26/17
Church traffic coming through Mount Joy yesterday.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Still"  Video  Greater Vision

"Now I Know Him"  Video  Joseph Habedank

We appreciate so many others who blog and place helpful teaching on the web. In studying for today's message I found these two posts related to Isaiah 1:30:
You will be like an oak with fading leaves, like a garden without water.
The Leaves Faded On Bilbo’s Oak Tree!

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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 make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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