Housewife Theologian

The Gospel Interrupting the Ordinary

Seasoned Beauty

Written By: Aimee Byrd - Jan• 01•12

My New Year’s Resolution is more like a picture. I want to think of this picture every day. It’s a beautiful, mental picture I have of a tree. The Oleander. Yeah, that’s right, the Oleander. Haven’t you heard of it? Well me neither until recently. Apparently, this tree can only be found in the valley of Jordan. According to A.P. Stanley*, its bright blossoms and dark green leaves are too beautiful to be passed over. He describes this tree to be magnificent, having an appearance as a rich garden.

Can you picture it?

Now, plant that tree in your mind by several channels of water. This way it will be abundantly nourished, producing its ravishing blossoms at just the expectant time. Those leaves will always be lustrous and dark.

That’s my New Year’s resolution—to be that blessed tree.

David describes a tree is much like the Oleander in Psalm 1:1-3:

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.

This year I want more blessing from God, and less blessing of myself. I don’t know exactly what those blessings will be, but I know what they look like. They look like that tree. And I know how to get them, by delighting in God’s Word.

Of course, it’s a blessing in itself to delight in God’s Word. To ache for it, and be comforted in it comes only to us who have been showered with God’s abundant grace in the giving of his Holy Spirit. But there’s more—meditating on his Word day and night. Martin Luther explains that to meditate is much more than just thinking. It “signifies to discuss, to dispute; and its meaning is always confined to a being employed in words, as in Ps. 32:30, ‘The mouth of the righteous shall meditate wisdom.’” Does my mouth meditate wisdom? Sometimes. Certainly not like it should, as the tree yielding its fruit in season.

I have a problem with thinking I should be able to produce everything at once. That’s why I get frustrated with the Proverbs 31 woman. To think of having all this food brought from afar, buying real estate, clothing my family, and selling merchandise while my children were nursing and running all over the place was exhausting for me. But this is the lifetime of the woman described. May we produce the proper fruit in its season.

Likewise, I have this mental picture of a mature, glorious tree. I’m not there yet. But God has planted me in Christ. And I can drink from his Word and meditate in it. That means that I will not only read and hear it, but listen to it, study it, learn from it, share it, and teach it. And what will happen? I will bring forth spiritual fruit in its proper season. Spurgeon exhorts, “Not unseasonable graces, like untimely figs, which are never full-flavoured. But the man who delights in God’s Word, being taught by it, bringeth forth patience in the time of suffering, faith in the day of trial, and holy joy in the hour of prosperity.”

Because God has planted me in Christ, this will happen. All these fruits are blessedness. But the supreme blessing will be that beatific vision of Jesus Christ in his full glory—my future hope gives me joy in the present. My elder, Mike, preached a sermon today on Psalm 97 titled, Roots of Rejoicing. This January I will be picturing my Oleander roots and how blessed they are.

*All quotes in this article are taken from The Treasury of David, Vol. 1, by Charles H. Spurgeon (Hendrickson Publishers)

 

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11 Comments

  1. Tim says:

    “Does my mouth meditate wisdom?” Great question, Aimee. And I love the answer you give to all this in your conclusion: “Because God has planted me in Christ, this will happen.” Yes it will.

    Tim

    P.S. I wrote a Bible study on Psalm 1 last month. It’s posted here: http://www.fbcdavis.org/downloads/sermonresources/2011/2011-12-04-scrolls.pdf

    • Aimee Byrd says:

      Cool, thanks Tim! I will check out you study tonight when I have some quality time :)

      • Tim says:

        That would be great if you checked it out, since I’d love to hear your thoughts on the study!

        Tim

        • Aimee Byrd says:

          Tim, what a great study! Is this what you prepare for your bulletin every week to go along with the sermons? I paused at this question regarding fruitfulness in season:
          “What do you think of relying on God’s timing and not your own?” Have to ask myself that question often! Also, I love the way you work in other quotes and the personal application. Good stuff. I wrote down Chadwick’s line: “Satan laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, but trembles when we pray.” Thank you for sharing!

          • Tim says:

            Thanks Aimee. These are in the bulletin every week. The pastor’s notes for people to use during the sermon are on one side of an 8.5×14 sheet of paper, and the Scrolls (what we call the Bible study I put together) are on the other side for people to use throughout the week.

            All I get are the sermon title and the passage, and I go from there. Sometimes it tracks closely to the sermon and sometimes we hit different emphases. One time I got a phone call at 1:00 on a Sunday morning from our senior pastor. He was in the ER with a gall bladder in need of removal. I had to take my Bible study and transform it onto a sermon. Talk about relying on God’s timing and not my own!

            Tim

            P.S. If anyone’s interested in hearing a sermon delivered on a few hour’s notice after being woken at 1:00 a.m., it’s on this page: http://www.fbcdavis.org/resources/messages/2006/2006-lifewithpurpose.html and found under the heading “8/20/2006 A Divine Appointment (Acts 8.1-8, 26-40)”

  2. Estelle says:

    Dear Aimee – I’m so excited to have found your blog and can’t wait to read and learn and share. I wish I had your email because then I would written you a private note on the Oleander which is also to be found in South Africa (from where we immigrated to the UK 12 yrs ago). It’s a handsome tree, but it’s poisonous – which what you have in mind is NOT! I’ve read and am going to re-read your blog again – what a blessing that no illustration can reduce. (If you wish to delete this comment, please do so).

    • Aimee Byrd says:

      Thanks for the info., Estelle! Glad you like the blog. Hmm, that’s pretty interesting that the Oleander is poisonous…could have a whole new brew of analogies on that one! My info. came from A.P. Stanley, where he suggested that it’s a good possibility that was the tree David had in mind. Who knows? Hope you stop by again!

      Oh, and you can email me at mail@housewifetheologian.com

      • Estelle says:

        Thanks for your gracious reply! Quoting you: “I have a problem with thinking I should be able to produce everything at once.” I have that problem too! The “in season” helps much. As a result of reading your blog, I also got extra insight into meditating wisdom – thanks!

    • Tim says:

      I was thinking the same thing about the Oleander being completely poisonous in all its parts, Estelle. It’s common here in California too, but probably as an introduced species. It’s all over the place as lanscaping in freeways and yards.

      Tim

      P.S. I know what you mean about being excited for having discovered Aimee’s blog. Read a bit through the archives and you won’t be disappointed!

  3. Dana Tuttle says:

    Maybe we could think of Christ as the Oleander tree. It is beautiful to behold but once touched you are changed forever. Like C.S.Lewis’s desription of Aslan, “He is not safe, but he is good.” What the world sees as poisionous (foolish and weak) is the Power of God. For me I really need to hear the focus of the importance of God’s word. Had a bit of a spat over the holidays over the inerrancy of scripture and the upholding of it as an idol. It was a rough moment for me and I feel refreshed to read this at just the right time.

    • Aimee Byrd says:

      Ooh, love it when someone else comes up with the awesome analogies for me! Thanks, Dana. He is not safe, but he is good!

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