We have some beautiful verses in the Bible. This verse is one of them. But to really appreciate what is being said here, it helps to know a little bit about oak trees.
One of the important features of an oak is its extensive root system which spreads wide and deep to help to secure it, even during violent storms. In the grounds of where I work, we have a large oak tree that has survived five hundred years of wind, hail, snow and rain (and a good bit of sunshine too). It could not have achieved such longevity without putting down deep roots. So, if we are to be God’s oaks, how do we ‘grow’ our roots deep in Him. Well, we are told that we are ‘oaks of righteousness’. This gives us a hint.
This simply means that we live our lives in such a way that we are right with God and and right with man. That’s easy to write but mighty challenging to live, so how do we do it?
It’s as we give our lives wholeheartedly to Jesus Christ, deliberately shunning sin in our lives that we become deeply grounded deeply in Him, able to withstand a multitude of storms. Whether it be financial hardships, marriage difficulties, ill health, persecution, ridicule and abuse, disappointment, redundancy or depression, nothing will overwhelm us.
As well as being known for its strength and durability, oak wood shows a greater resistance to attack by destructive growths.
As we walk in ‘righteousness’, as well as putting down deep roots, the strength of Christ develops in us. We can ‘resist the devil’ (James 4:7) and all his destructive ways. We recognise that he is ‘a thief and a robber” (John 10:1) and “he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:34). He is our enemy but we can resist him and overcome.
Some oaks are evergreen. This means that they retain their foliage all year round. This thought is reflected in Jeremiah 17:7-8:
Blessed is the man whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”
In other words:
“Our faith will remain green forever.”
Isn’t that a beautiful picture?
So, in conclusion, what do oaks of righteousness look like?
1. They have a root system that is deeply grounded in Christ.
2. They have strength to stand against the wiles of the devil.
3. They are fruitful in good times and bad.
A ‘display of his splendour’ indeed! Don’t you want to be an oak of righteousness? I certainly do!
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