Then he led me back to the bank of the river. When I arrived there, I saw a great number of trees on each side of the river. (EZEK. 47:6–7)
Trees figure very prominently in Scripture. We see them in the beginning in the garden of Eden. We see them at the end in the revelation of John. Isaiah speaks of the trees of the field clapping their hands (see Isaiah 55). Note how he describes an awakened generation, “They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor” (Isa. 61:3).
Trees are signs of flourishing.
The Psalms open up with a powerful vision of a tree next to a river, giving us a vision of what the blessed or flourishing life looks like. They are “like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaves do not wither—whatever they do prospers” (Ps. 1:3). The tree is like an immovable, powerful, and creative word. The river is the visual representation of the invisible Spirit, the source of life. Do you see this? Word plus Spirit equals life.
This is a vision we must begin to visualize. We must ask the Holy Spirit to take us inside of the world being recreated by the revelation of Scripture. In this world—which is the only true world’the mountains are bowing down before the Lord and the oceans are roaring with the sound of his praise. The sun and the stars and the moon are all pointing to him. Our imaginations must be discipled by the Word of God and the Spirit of God that we might learn to see the vision of awakening coming on the horizon’that we might join the generation of those who now labor in glad travail for its arrival.
Lord Jesus, we want it to be said of us one day long after we have passed on into the fullness of your presence: they were oaks of righteousness. They were a planting of the Lord and their lives displayed your splendor. We want to cease living with a foot in two worlds and we want to plant both of our feet in the only true world, the one you are remaking. Give us a holy imagination to perceive it. For the sake and splendor of your name, amen.
One person sees a pile of rocks. The next person sees a cathedral. Which kind of person are you? Are you growing in the holiness of your imagination? Can you see yourself like a tree planted by streams of water?
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