In the call of Isaiah, God gave the prophet a vision of Himself high and exalted with the train of His robe filling the temple. He saw unknown numbers of Seraphim standing above the awesome God, each with six wings. Two of them were used to cover their eyes, two to cover their feet, and the remaining two for them to fly around. One Seraph would proclaim to another, crying out, “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Hosts, the earth is full of His glory.” And as the voice of the Holy One on the throne sounded out, the whole foundation of the threshold of the temple shook and was engulfed by smoke. What an astounding sight it must have been for Isaiah! So majestic was the sight that there is so much that we can learn about serving the Holy and Awesome God. The Seraphim remind us to serve God willingly, with awe and swift-winged zeal. This Holy God deserves the best we can bring to serve Him.
To Jeremiah, God’s object lessons for him did not come at the same moment as his calling, but on two other separate occasions. On the first occasion, God directed his sight to the budding rod of an almond tree. On the second, He directed him to a boiling pot tilting from the north, as well as a message gleaned from a fortified city, an iron pillar, and a bronze gate. Each of these visions encapsulates lessons for him and for us. In this reflection on Jeremiah 1:11-12, we will consider the lesson from the vision of the almond rod.
In different places that experience the four seasons, there are different signs to signal the end of winter and the arrival of spring. In Anathoth, where Jeremiah came from, the sign of the arrival of spring would be the blossoming of the almond trees. It would be the first tree that would blossom when spring was about to break. God’s word came to Jeremiah on one occasion and alerted him to the blossoming of almond trees. He asked the prophet, “What do you see, Jeremiah?” Jeremiah answered, saying, “I see a rod of an almond tree.” What he saw was the budding of an almond rod. The reason God pointed to the blossoming almond tree was to send His message in a way that would be humanly comprehensible. God was using the blossoming almond tree to point to a spiritual lesson. Following Jeremiah’s answer, God commended him and went on to explain the significance of the vision. The message was, He Himself is watching over His word to bring it to pass. God never says anything that He will not bring to pass. Whether positive or negative, a blessing or a curse, whatever God has promised, it would be brought to fruition.
The Hebrew word for almond sounds like the word “waking” or “watching.” God used it as a pun here to say that the almond tree was not only a waking tree, but also a watching tree. He was pointing out that He never sleeps nor slumbers. He is always wide awake and watching over His every promise to fulfil it. Isaiah, in his writing, also tells us that the word of God, when it is spoken, will never return to Him void. It will always accomplish the purpose for which it was sent forth. God’s word can come to us as a warning or a promise.
There are two lessons for us — We are to live life vigilantly, with joyful hope in His promises. How do we do this practically? Be sure to avoid doing things that God has warned us not to do or risk facing a divine reckoning. However, we must live life with joy revelling in the hope of His promises. He will never say anything that He would not personally supervise and ensure that it will come to pass for us.
How many of the promises of God are we accustomed to? Hear what God is saying to us through 2 Peter 1:3-4. “…His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these, He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature….” What blessed assurance! Every promise God made to us through His Word will be brought to fruition in our lives. What a blessed thought for the year!
Monday – Psalm 19: 7-10
The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul;
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.
The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.
The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the Lord are true; they are righteous altogether.
They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb.
Tuesday – Matthew 24:35
Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.
Wednesday – Hebrews 4:12
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
Thursday – Psalm 119:105
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
Friday – Joshua 1:8
This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.
Saturday – Numbers 23:19
“God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?
Sunday – Isaiah 55:11
So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.
All Scriptures are quoted from the New American Standard Bible 1995.
By Pastor Clarence Goh