Presentation on theme: "YOU CAN GROW AGAIN … AND AGAIN AND AGAIN The seed is in you."— Presentation transcript:
YOU CAN GROW AGAIN … AND AGAIN AND AGAIN The seed is in you.
Judges 1:22-26 They took the man out of Almond Tree, but they couldn’t take Almond Tree out of the man.
The name Luz means “almond tree.” The Almond Tree buds and blossoms earlier than other trees in Israel, even while the winter snow is still on the ground. “The early tree” (as it is called) buds in Winter, before the season changes, before Spring arrives.
“What do you see?” asked the LORD. Jeremiah replied, “I see a branch or shoot of an almond tree [the emblem of alertness and activity, blossoming in late winter].” Then the LORD said, “You have seen well, for I am alert and active, watching over My word to perform it.” (Jeremiah 1:11,12. The Amplified Bible)
The King James Version reads: “I will hasten my word to perform it.” To hasten means to hurry up! God likens His Word to “the early tree” – the tree that buds and blossoms despite external influences!
The man who lived in Almond Tree was forced to leave, but he and his family went elsewhere and planted another Almond Tree! They budded, they blossomed, and they produced again! Would you like to be productive again, like this man was ?
We have the power to reproduce! Like all other growing things in God's creation, we have “seed within ourselves.” (Genesis 1:11- 12, 28) We can grow again! We can bud, blossom and bloom wherever we find room. Wherever we take root, we can bear fruit! (2 Kings 19:30)
Now for some background from the Bible…
When Israel split into two the tribe of Judah remained loyal to the dynasty of David. (1 Kings 12:20) The king wanted to fight against the break-away kingdom, but a prophet warned that the split was from God. The ten tribes took the name “Israel” and a “remnant” – the tribes of Judah and Benjamin – then united to become the kingdom of Judah.
Israel had been a tree and Judah had become its stump. But that stump held the promise of a new beginning! In God’s plan, the future growth would come from what remained. This is the “remnant” principle of future growth.
“Except the LORD of hosts had left to us a very small remnant, we would have been as Sodom, we would have been like Gomorrah.” (Isaiah 1:9) Isaiah foresaw the siege of Jerusalem by the Assyrians and prophesied the preservation of a surviving remnant. He also prophesied the destruction of the Assyrian army “in one day.” (Isaiah 10:17, 20-23)
The Assyrian army advanced on Jerusalem in 710 BC, capturing 46 cities in Judah, and 200, 000 Jews. This world-power had already conquered the breakaway northern kingdom of Israel, exiled its 10 tribes, and repopulated the land with pagans (who later became known as Samaritans).
Isaiah 10:28-32 presents a graphic account of the enemy's advance through Judah toward Jerusalem and the fear of the people of Judah, as the arrogant army of the first world empire approached the City of God. But the weight of Assyria was removed and its bondage was destroyed when the angel of the LORD slew 185, 000 Assyrians in one night! (Isaiah 37:36)
“And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall again take root downward, and bear fruit upward: for out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant.” (Isaiah 37:31) Out of the once-great kingdom of Israel only tiny Judah remained. After the Assyrian invasion, only a remnant was left in the land. Yet there was life in the stump of Judah, and God would grow it!
“The holy seed (the chosen remnant) is the stump and substance [of Israel].” (Isaiah 6:13, The Amplified Bible) Between the last verse of Isaiah, chapter 10, and the first verse of Isaiah 11 is a 710-year gap to Jesus! After prophesying the destruction of the Assyrian army, Isaiah saw in the Spirit the emergence of the promised Messiah! (Isaiah 11:1)
“And there shall come forth a rod out of the stump of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.” Jesse was King David's father. David's kingdom was to become a stump. But although the seed would be preserved in the stump, the promise of future growth would be in the branch!
In the year 588 BC, the savage Babylonians sacked Jerusalem, burned the Temple, broke down the walls of the city, and exiled the survivors to Babylon. The Jews remained in captivity for 70 years until released by Cyrus of Persia. Only 50, 000 returned to rebuild the temple. (Ezra, chapter one.) They were a remnant of a remnant of a remnant!
God would not make an end of the remnant, even though most of them were ungodly (Ezekiel 11:13 & 14:20), for in the remnant was “the holy seed” – those with the potential to grow again (Ezra 9:2,8) Throughout Israel's history there was always such a remnant – not always visible – through whom the promise would come.
In Elijah’s day the remnant numbered only 7000 and the prophet was unaware of them. He thought that he was the only faithful witness! (1 Kings 19:18) The Apostle Paul called the believing Jews of his day “a remnant,” and referred to the remnant of 7000 in Elijah's time.
Paul introduced grace, shown in God’s selection, as the mark of the remnant in his day. In the New Testament the term “elect” ("chosen”) replaces the term “remnant” as the description of the true people of God on earth. Although not always visible, they are known to God as those who've never “bowed their knees” to the idolatrous world system.
“They are not all Israel who are of Israel” Paul wrote. Nor are they all “children” simply because they are descendants of Abraham. (Romans 9:6,7) The true seed are not those who are “the children of the flesh” (natural children) but “the children of the promise.” (Romans 9:8) “For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly...but he is a Jew who is one inwardly...” (Romans 2:28,29)
In the Apostle John's day, the unbelieving Jews were called “the synagogue of Satan.” (Revelation 2:9 & 3:9) They claimed they were Jews, but were not “the children of promise” as were the true seed of Abraham, “the father of us all.” (Romans 4:16) They were the evil natural descendants of Abraham, and were, spiritually speaking, the “seed” of the serpent. (Genesis 3:15; John 8:37,44)
THE PRESERVATION IS IN THE STUMP, BUT THE PROMISE IS IN THE BRANCH! Jesus Christ, the Son of David, was the true seed of Abraham (Galatians 3:16) In Christ we are all the children of promise. (Galatians 4:28) As such, we are “heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ” (Romans 8:17), which means we inherit all that God promised Abraham! What did God promise Abraham?
“And in your seed shall all nations of the earth be blessed.” (Genesis 22:18) “And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the nations by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, ‘In you, all the nations shall be blessed.’ So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham.” (Galatians 3:8,9)
FOUR THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT GROWING AGAIN AFTER YOU HAVE BEEN CUT BACK: 1. Recovery is intrinsic to the nature of every living thing which has seed in itself, so you can grow again! 2. When God permits a reduction, He has in mind greater production. Don't gripe about personal cutbacks but grow from them!
3. Although the stump preserves the promise, the new growth comes from the branch! It's no good saying, as a church, an individual, or a business manager, “I've still got life in me." You need to branch out again! The branch of promise will grow out of the roots, not from where the tree was cut, and it’s your roots that hold your new beginnings. (Romans 11:18)
4. God's purpose is to bless you so that you will be a blessing! Focus on the blessing you can be rather than on the blessings you’ve been given. (Genesis 12:2) This is the bottom line. Remember the town called Almond Tree: the man who was forced out took it with him, in his heart, retained his vision of what it had been, and ‘grew’ it again in another place. With vision like that, Almond Tree would have grown to become as established and as productive as it had been before!
The circumstances of life may have cut back what took you years to grow, but there’s still life in the stump of promise and so the branch can grow again! Only you can stop it growing again. How? By thinking that the stump is the end of everything. It isn’t. In fact it holds the promise of a new beginning. You can bud and bloom even better than before, now you know you can grow again! We know this because...
the Resurrection proved there’s Life in God’s Promise! Jesus came back to life early in the morning!
If Aaron’s rod – a dead almond stick – could bud – you can grow again!