Seeing Men Like Trees
There is a particular verse in Scripture that has baffled me. It seems like such a strange verse. The verse usually makes me chuckle because of the humor of ‘stating the obvious’.
The verse is in the book of Ecclesiastes, which automatically makes the verse a little unusual, since the whole book of Ecclesiastes has an unusual perspective about it. Much of the book focuses on what takes place in this present life, all our labors and endeavours done ‘under the sun,’ and how empty and futile this life can be.
Is That All There Is?
Whenever I read the book of Ecclesiastes, I remember the repeating refrain line of the old song by Peggy Lee, “Is That All There Is?” The song is all about the emptiness, the futility, and the dullness of life. The song reflects the apostle Paul’s argument to those who do not believe in the resurrection of the dead:
If [I speak according to] after the manner of men, I have fought with beasts at Ephesus [if, his life being in danger daily], what advantage is it to me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we die. (1Corinthians 15:32)
In other words, what Paul is saying, for those who believe there is no resurrection, and therefore no Judgment Day, then they speak about life like this:
“IF that’s all there is? Then, let us just eat and drink and take all the pleasure we can!”
Yes, life can seem useless and empty at times [if we have no hope in Messiah], and the book of Ecclesiastes points it out thoroughly. Over and over, the writer, King Solomon, says, “All is vanity!” In other words, he is saying, “Life is useless, all is useless!”
But that song, and the book of Ecclesiastes, speaks from the perspective of one who is looking at life strictly from a human viewpoint!
When we look at life only from the human perspective, from the natural realm only, then, as the apostle Paul says, “we will surely become MOST miserable!” (1Corinthians 15:19)
If A Tree Falls
But, the particular verse that I want to focus on is found in the second part of Ecclesiastes 11:3:
… if the tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falls, there it shall be. (Ecclesiastes 11:3b)
The first time I read that verse, I had to do a double-take.
What? Is this in the Bible? Is God trying to make ‘a funny’ here?
Is God saying, “Let’s just ‘state the obvious‘ here, and get a chuckle out of the reader!” Well, He succeeded!
Of course, this is not the only verse in the Bible that ‘states the obvious,’ but it is one that has puzzled me. So, what could Father be trying to tell us here?
The verse makes me think of that passage in the Gospel of Mark:
And He [Yahushua (Jesus)], took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when He had spit on his eyes, and put His hands upon him, He asked him if He saw anything. And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking. After that He put His hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly. (Mark 8:23-25)
Yahushua [Jesus] took the blind man aside in order to heal him.
The blind man received a partial healing, for he said, “I see men like trees, walking.” The man was seeing something no one else could see; he was seeing into the spiritual realm — seeing men like trees, walking.
Men Like Trees
Several places in the Scriptures, we learn about the spiritual nature of men like trees:
But his delight is in the law [Torah] of Yahuwah [the LORD] . . . . And he shall be like a TREE planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season . . . . (Psalms 1:2-3)
I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay TREE. Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not . . . . (Psalms 37:35-36)
But I am like a green olive TREE in the house of God . . . . (Psalms 52:8)
The righteous shall flourish like the palm TREE: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those that be planted in the house of Yahuwah [the LORD] shall flourish in the courts of our God. (Psalms 92:12,13)
…. that they might be called TREES of righteousness, the planting of Yahuwah [the LORD] . . . . (Isaiah 61:3b)
Blessed is the man that trusteth in Yahuwah, and whose hope is in Yahuwah. For he shall be as a TREE planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river. . . . (Jeremiah 17:7,8a)
As these verses show us, people are indeed like trees.
Therefore, it should be disturbing IF A TREE FALLS!
In the Mark 8:23-25 passage, Yahushua eventually restored the blind man’s sight completely, so that he could see every man clearly. But to see men like trees is to see people, in one sense, as Father sees them.
Perhaps, the verse in Ecclesiastes has a greater spiritual significance that is more than just ‘stating the obvious.’
Yahuwah’s Word about a tree falling is to instruct us about our own lives here on earth, our lives lived under the sun, and the importance of our spiritual condition at the time of our death.
At the time of our death, we are like a tree falling! And in the place where we fall, there we will remain. And whatever we have done, and whatever spiritual condition we are in, that is the place where we will be in eternity — there it shall be!
When A Tree Falls
When a tree falls, nothing can be changed about it, and everything comes to an end for that tree.
If we are as trees, then, when a tree falls to the south, does that mean a person whose spiritual condition is void of God’s goodness and righteousness, will thus go into a downward state of darkness and misery?
Or, if a tree falls to the north, does that mean a person whose spiritual condition is full of God’s goodness and righteouness, will thus go into an upward state of light and joy?
This verse in Ecclesiastes is telling us that when we die physically, our spiritual condition at that moment is determined and finalized for eternity. From then onward, we wait for the resurrection from the dead, the Judgment Day, and for our appearance before Messiah, when:
… every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. (2Corinthians 5:10)
The verse in Ecclesiastes is a reminder [and a warning] for us that now, in our lifetime under the sun, there is coming a day when we will fall, as a tree.
Therefore, our lifetime — our time on this earth is the time for us to be seeking God — seeking Him for His plans, His guidance, and His direction.
We need to be seeking Yahuwah for how we should live in this lifetime, because there will come a day when we will fall [physically die], falling to the south or to the north. And then, that is where we shall be spiritually, for eternity — that is where we shall be for receiving the consequences of what we did in our lifetime — the consequences of what we did in our body, whether it be good or whether it be bad.
What kind of person is it, who thinks only of this lifetime as being all there is? It could only be a spiritually dull, hard-hearted person who looks only to this present lifetime, and who prepares not for that which is to come!
If we do not care now about our spiritual condition at death, then most assurdedly we will care about it at the moment of our death. But then it will be too late!
None of us can know how long we will live. Death can happen suddenly, at any moment. Physical Death is at the end for everyone!
No one really likes to think about their death, much less to talk about it! But there is no escaping the inescapable. And multitudes put off the care of their soul, thinking there is no need. Because they think — this life is ALL THERE IS!
IF this life is all there is . . .
then yes, all of life is useless! And yes — eat, drink, and be merry — live as party animals!
But, This Life Is NOT All There Is!
Dear Reader, this life is NOT all there is!
Our natural lifetime on this earth under the sun, is a preparation for the immortal, spiritual lifetime in eternity! Our life on this earth is a precious and infinitely valuable time of training and testing for every soul.
Do not squander the time you have!
Now are the days of our salvation, of our rescue, of our deliverance. These are the days for purchasing everlasting Life from the One Who lovingly offers it! Because, my friend, the truth and the reality of this lifetime is that, “There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body!” (1Corinthians 15:44)
These are the days for learning how to live unto the One who died for us in our place, the One who has the Words of Eternal Life, the One who obtained Everlasting Life for us, and the One who AROSE FROM THE DEAD for our redemption.
These are the days for seeking to be fully right with our Creator, being in complete agreement with His plans, thus being made the righteousness of God in Yahushua Messiah [Jesus Christ], our Saviour! (2Corinthians 5:15, 21) These are the days for reading and studying God’s Word for ourselves, learning and applying God’s truth to ourselves, and not relying on someone else to feed us and explain God’s Word for us.
Yes, in the place where the tree falls, wherever it is, there it shall remain!
At our death, our spiritual condition will be sealed permanently, forever unchangeable. Whatever good things, or whatever bad things, we have done in this life, will be sealed and accounted to us.
Do All The Good We Can
It is fitting and good for us therefore, that we do all the good we can in this life, for there is nothing we can do in the grave where we are going.
The first step in doing good is to be Born-Again — that is to believe in Messiah Yahushua [Christ Jesus], by receiving the sacrifice of Messiah’s blood, shed on our behalf — by giving to Him our sinful problems and disobedience, and receiving from Him His forgiveness and His righteousness in exchange.
After this initial step, then we begin to live a life that is well-pleasing to God, doing all the good that we can. How will we know what is the good thing to do? God’s Word will define goodness for us, as long we are seeking Him, and desiring to live according to His instructions and standards.
May it be that we would heed the warnings, and do all we can in this lifetime unto the glory of Yahuwah Elohim [the LORD God], our Creator.
May it be that we would seek fervently in this lifetime, to enter into Yahuwah’s Kingdom, and begin to live a righteous and holy life according to Yahuwah’s standards! May we begin to seek to do what is well-pleasing in Father’s sight, obeying His instructions in His Word [the Bible].
May it be that on the Day of the appearing of His Son, on the Day of the Judgment of the living and the dead, that our lives would be found unto the Praise and Honour and Glory of Yahushua Messiah, our Saviour (2Timothy 4:1; 1Peter 1:7).
If we will seek, in this lifetime, to love His appearing, then we will want to cultivate a heart that is prepared for the inescapeable. We will want to live a life that is profitable for the now, as well as for the hereafter. We will seek to cultivate fruit unto everlasting life, rather than, by default, preparing for everlasting misery!
Therefore, in every deed and every thought, act as though you were to die this very day. If you had a good conscience you would not fear death very much. It is better to avoid sin than to fear death. If you are not prepared today, how will you be prepared tomorrow? Tomorrow is an uncertain day; how do you know you will have a tomorrow?
Do now, Beloved, what you can, because you do not know when you will die, nor what your fate will be after death. Gather for yourself the riches of immortality while you have time. Think of nothing but your salvation. Care only for the things of God. Keep yourself as a stranger here on earth, a pilgrim, having no concern at all for the affairs of this earth.
Keep your heart free and raise it up to God, for you have not here a lasting home! To Him direct your daily prayers, your sighs and tears, that your soul may merit, after death, to pass into the happiness of God. — Thomas a Kempis
Let our hearts be continually inclined unto Yahuwah our Mighty One, yearning to walk according to His standards, walking according to His loving teachings and instructions, the Torah.
May it be that
- we will ferevently desire to walk in His truth,
- maintain a life of love [which is obedience to His Word],
- and maintain a life of mercy toward others.
Then, when the time comes for us to fall as a tree, may we fall well — falling into the everlasting arms of our loving Creator!
One More Thought
One of the infinitely great benefits of committing our life to Yahuwah is that when our time comes to die, then we have the comforting assurance that even in death, we will continue to remain in Father’s love:
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Messiah Yahushua [Christ Jesus], our Master. (Romans 8:38-39)
As the Scriptures teach us, for believers in Yahushua Messiah, nothing, not even death, can separate us from God’s love — absolutely nothing!
And that is worth living for!
- Turning From Darkness To Light
- She Turned Around and Saw Him
- Seal It With A Kiss
- The Key To Gaining Understanding
- The Fountain of the Water of Life
- Good News! — steps to take for being Born-Again
- Enduring As Seeing Him Who Is Invisible
- Light Arises in The Darkness For The Upright