Pastoral Commentary: The trees of the field know there is a God

Pastor Dennis Fangmeyer - St. John and Trinity Lutheran Churches
Pratt Tribune
Dennis Fangmeyer.

It seems the world is in constant turmoil and some people have begun to wonder whether there is a God or not, while others claim that God is passing judgment on the world for not keeping him first in our lives. But truth be known that God is still at work in the world and miracles happen on a regular basis. Many believe in God but only seek him in emergencies or at death. And as I said before, some don’t even believe there’s a God. Yet, Ezekiel 17:24 says: “All the trees of the field will know that I the LORD bring down the tall tree and make the low tree grow tall. I dry up the green tree and make the dry tree flourish. ‘I the LORD have spoken, and I will do it.’” 

Ezekiel is saying the trees of the field know their life is in God’s hand, something that seems to elude us. Trees know about pride going before a fall and the wages of sin is death. Trees know about judgment and about new beginnings. So, is God saying we’re blockheads or that we have sawdust for brains? No, God made us for a purpose. 

He didn’t make us corn or potatoes. Corn has ears, but can’t hear and potatoes have eyes, but can’t see. Yet, God gave us ears for hearing and eyes for seeing. God made us so he could show and tell us all that he’s doing in the world, so that on seeing and hearing of God’s work, we’d worship him for all his mighty deeds and acts of love. 

Seeds sprout and grow without studying for what they’ll be. They don’t have an identity crisis; they simply grow as they were created. They can’t slow or hasten the process for it’s the power of God that causes them to grow. In the same way we don’t need to search for who we are since God tells us we are to be his dear children and our life is about growing up as his children. 

True, God could come in power to show us he is Lord of all. He doesn’t, since it would lead to judgment since God is holy and righteous and sin must be punished. Yes, we are all sinners, so we would be punished. He knows it is best not to come in power for our sins have created a great debt we cannot pay. That is why he comes to us in love instead of power. In love God sent Jesus to suffer and die to pay the debt we owe for our sins. Yes, God comes not as Judge to condemn, but as a savior to bring forgiveness and life. 

In Christ we have been given everything — forgiveness, life and salvation. Yet, as God’s children it does not end there — he’s given us purpose for this new life; the greater part being to help others see and hear that God is still at work in the world. God did not create us to be blockheads or with sawdust for brains. If the trees know of the things God is doing, he also reveals them to us, not in power but in love. God did not make us corn or potatoes, but he did, in the waters of baptism, make us a new creation so we can grow up as his children. We come together to praise and worship God for his great love, and to encourage each other to live as God’s children growing into all he desires us to be. 

What of those who fail to grow? Warn them that it is not good to run from God or resist his will, for if he cannot come into our lives in love, eventually he will come into our lives in judgment for truly he is Lord of all. So, we speak of God’s love in Christ Jesus that those who hear may believe and be saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.