Israel and the world have entered into this new year of 2022 continuing to battle with the world pandemic of the Coronavirus and the new variant breakouts. And yet, we hear the Lord calling us to be like a tree, looking at our deep roots and recognizing our identity through Him. The healthy roots are supporting the tree and the branches are bearing good fruit.
Beginning on the night of January 16th, Israel will celebrate Tu BiShvat, also called Rosh HaShanah La'Ilanot, which means the ‘New Year of the Trees'. Israelis commemorate this day by focusing on planting trees. In the late 1800s, Jewish pioneers who immigrated to Israel started to plant and build the land. Later in the early 1900s, the Halutzim (pioneers) began planting Eucalyptus trees in the Hula Valley to help stop Malaria. Today, there are tree-planting events every Tu BiShvat, where over a million Israelis participate in planting new trees in the land of Israel.
The barren land of 2000 years is now a land of planted fruitful trees and flowers. Walking in the marketplaces and grocery stores, you will see lots of fresh and dried fruit with all kinds of natural nuts.
In the diaspora, they couldn't buy fresh fruits in this season so they celebrated Tu Bishvat by eating dried fruits. This became the symbol of the holiday now even in Israel.
Throughout the Scriptures, man is considered as a tree planted by streams of water that bears fruit. If in the Scriptures we are likened to a healthy tree, what fruit do we give? This means that we as humans have the choice to bear fruit. The role of a tree is to provide fruit and bring life. Therefore, if we are to be like a tree, then we are called to bear fruit in the spirit that brings life represented to us in the scriptures: The symbol of a good tree who is bearing good and healthy fruits is a symbol for us to be in good spiritual place in order to bear good spiritual fruits.
Trees do not eat the fruits they produce, but instead, they produce fruit and vegetables to give to humans and to animals for their daily and physical existence. The seeds of the fruits are also reproduced and fertilized, which multiply and produce even more fruit. In fact, the root of the word fruit in Hebrew (P'ri) is also the word for being fruitful: "Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth..." (Gen. 1:28a).
“But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.”(Luke 8:15)
Like trees, humans have also been blessed to give of themselves to others and cause constant reproduction.
“For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. They will spring up like grass in a meadow, like poplar trees by flowing streams.” (Isaiah 44:3-4)
During this time at Vision for Israel, we are helping others recognize their abilities to bear fruit and equipping them with the tools they need to recover through our various therapeutic workshops. As we provide tools for their recovery, they are able to continue to bear fruit and be like a tree planted by streams of water. We are thankful for friends like you, who give of your fruits, so we are able to produce even more fruits to continue blessing those around us!
“He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.” — Psalms 1:3
Now more than ever, God is inviting us to partner with him in planting His seeds of love into the hearts of His people. We pray that for such a time as this, God will plant you in the rivers of His living water to be like a mighty oak tree of His righteousness on display for HIS splendour!
“They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendour.” — Isaiah 61:4