BIBLICAL REFLECTIONS: PLANTED BY

Wednesday, May 11, 2016
Where are you planted, on a mountaintop or on a hill? By the riverside, the roadside or by a stream; down in the valley? It matters where you are planted because as a local adage puts it, it is where you are tethered that you are supposed to find pasture. How we live is important to each and every one of us. Equally important to us is where we live? There is an apparent link therefore between where we live and how we live, because where we live influences how we live.

Are you living close to a bar or a night club? Persistent high noise levels must have driven you crazy particularly when you needed that much-desired rest. If you are living close to a railway track or a busy airport, similar noise levels, at odd hours of the day or night, could have wrecked your sleep endless times and got you all stressed out.

In the Bible, as we read the very first psalm, the psalmist talks about “a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.” (Psalm 1:3) This is how the psalmist pictures a worthy, successful, straightforward, honest, diligent and loyal person. He knows no hardship; no hassle. Everything he touches turns to gold. S/he is someone that God uses and uses mightily.

Many people do not realise that their blessings are a shoot of the blessings of someone that has close association with God. When Abraham moved out of Haran to go to a land that God was going to reveal to him, he took his nephew Lot with him. When their herdsmen began to quarrel, Abraham knew it was time for them to part company. “Let’s not have any quarrelling between us or between your herdsmen and mine for we are brothers…Let’s part company if you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go to the right, I’ll go to the left.” (Genesis 13:8-9) Lot chose rather greedily “the whole plane of Jordan that was well-watered, like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt …” (Genesis 13:10)

After Lot had chosen the plot of land that he was interested in, God said to Abram: “Lift up your eyes from where you are and look north and south, east and west. All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever …. Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land for I am giving it to you.” (Genesis 13:17) In the end, Lot lost all he had after the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, where he resided, were destroyed. “God remembered Abraham, and he brought Lot out of the catastrophe that overthrew the cities where Lot had lived.” (Genesis 19:29) Abraham still remained the reason behind God’s intervention. God made a move because of Abraham, not because of Lot.

Lot distanced himself from his life source and all around him crumbled. It did not dawn on him that his prosperity was due to his relationship with Abraham who was blessed by God. This phenomenon is misunderstood by many who seek to succeed in life whatever the costs. When we are in the entourage of someone who is blessed, some of his/her blessings rub off. Laban, Jacob’s uncle experienced such. As he parted company with Jacob after living together for fourteen years, he declared: “If I have found favour in your eyes, please stay. I have learned by divination that the Lord has blessed me because of you.” (Genesis 30:27)

The tree planted by the stream of water will not lack the essentials of life because it will be watered every minute, every hour, every day and every week, every month and every year. It will not know hunger or thirst. God, the Jehovah-Jireh, the God who provides, will provide for it always and it will produce its fruits as expected – at the right time, a hundredfold.

Young Joseph, the son of Jacob, was another biblical character whose blessings affected all around him. Even while in prison, Joseph’s blessings never waned. Joseph found favour in the eyes of the Almighty. We read in the account that “The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did.” (Genesis 39:23) It did not end there. Pharaoh officially named him governor. “You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you.” (Genesis 41:40)

Joseph had a mighty responsibility thrust upon him. It was one he could handle, for God had revealed it to him in a dream as a youngster.From his own lips he had told his brothers: “Listen to this dream I had: We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.” (Genesis 37:7-7) He had another dream which he told his brothers again. “Listen, I had another dream and this time, the sun and the moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” (Genesis 37:9)

As governor of that great nation Egypt, Joseph had fulfilled what had been predicted through his dream. He ruled the greatest nation on earth during his time. And his brothers, driven by famine came to Egypt (where he had been sold into slavery) in search of food. It was there, in his capacity as governor that they bowed to him. From his humble beginnings and a chequered past, through slavery and prison, Joseph stayed the course.

Planted by the stream of water he kept on, never wavered. Never did he at any one time lose sight of the potentials God had put in him.

Check where you are planted, it does make a great difference!