“All the trees of the forest 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 17:24
Across the street from the park where I walk our dog, there is a huge, spreading, leafy tree that reminds me of this passage from Daniel 4: “…[T]here before me stood a tree in the middle of the land. Its height was enormous. The tree grew large and strong and its top touched the sky; it was visible to the ends of the earth. Its leaves were beautiful, its fruit abundant, and on it was food for all. Under it the wild animals found shelter, and the birds lived in its branches; from it every creature was fed” (10b-12). It is a beautiful vision. But this tree represents King Nebuchadnezzar. In his dream, the tree is cut down, signifying his humbling before the Lord. When we walk in faith, we learn that even the most powerful, unassailable-seeming things—people, institutions, prejudices—can be brought low by God’s love. Our own hearts, full of pride and selfishness, were broken and then made whole by God’s love for us. The stately old tree at the end of the block has weathered hundreds of years of storms, but it may be uprooted in the next wind. Then a new tree will grow in its place.