Tag: completely destroy those I tell you
Scripture reading for February 26th: Deuteronomy 17-20
“When you lay siege to a city for a long time, fighting against it to capture it, do not destroy its trees by putting an ax to them, because you can eat their fruit. Do not cut them down. Are the trees of the field people, that you should besiege them? However, you may cut down trees that you know are not fruit trees and use them to build siege works until the city at war with you falls.” (Deuteronomy 20:19-20)
This unusual title and Scripture passage probably has you wondering if I have gone “green”! No, I’m not a “tree hugger”! In this passage of Scripture, God was laying down rules for making war and how the Israelites were to fight under His direction. God was going to be with them and fight for them and give them victory over their enemies. They did not have to do it all themselves!
God wanted His people to have victory and after the battle to enjoy the fruit of living in the land. A tree takes a long time to grow and produce fruit. Cutting it down can be done in a very short time. In war, most pagans destroyed everything in the land and did not hesitate to use even the fruit trees to destroy a city. God was with His people and they were to be compassionate and think about the future needs of those who would reside there. God’s compassion and love are evident here!
Fruitful trees are like fruitful people! The righteous man is likened to a tree planted by streams of water that yields fruit even in a dry year. (Psalm 1:3) He meditates on God’s law and draws life-giving water from God’s river of life. Another Psalm likens the righteous to a palm tree planted in God’s house, bearing fruit in old age. (Psalm 92:12-15) Fruit bearing trees are blessed by God! However, trees that should bear fruit but don’t, are under a curse. Jesus cursed a fig tree because it had no early fruit and it dried up immediately! (Mark 11:12-14, 20-21)
I am not sure these passages are necessarily related. God has used trees as examples of both righteousness and wickedness in the Bible. He cares for creation! He cares for His people! Give Him praise today for His care of you and do your part to care for His creation!