Storms Got You Falling?
After this recent storm we had in California, I saw many pictures and reports of big beautiful trees that had fallen during a storm. I was sad to see these trees that once stood so tall now have to being cut apart and hauled away. What makes some trees who have been there for decades be able to withstand the storms, and others not be able to? It's all in the roots. For some trees, even though they are massive, they have very shallow roots for the size of the tree. These trees get so used to getting water from the surface from the sprinklers or light rains, that the roots didn't dig down deep to get water from below. Now, that can keep the tree alive and healthy, but not sturdy enough to withstand a strong storm. Thus, the right amount of wind or pressure from the storm will cause it to fall. Other trees might be hollow inside. Most likely from carpenter ants, beetles, or termites chewing tiny tunnels throughout the tree's center. Then once water gets in those holes/tunnels, the wood gets softened. Over time, the tree will rot away internally.
This is a familiar analogy to the condition of God's people in the final verses of the book of Judges. The final words of this book provide such a heartbreaking reality check even for us today: “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit” (Judges 21:25). Sadly, the way people were living and the destruction that felt “right” to them were completely outside what God called right and good.
This is where we discover three things that happen when we follow our opinions and feelings (what’s right in our own eyes) rather than the absolute Truth of God:
First, we mistake people's opinions as truth.
Just like the tree with shallow roots, if we aren’t constantly digging deep to seek the source of living water for ourselves, we won’t have the grounding necessary to stand strong when the world’s ways try to pull us down. We must seek and apply God’s Truth every day, so we aren’t easily swayed by opinions that aren’t in line with God’s Truth. Seeking "shallow" will lead to shallow believing — that dangerous place where we will fall for whatever opinions make us comfortable and the world if full of them today!
Some make feelings their false Holy Spirit.
This is like the big tree that was taken down by some small ants. The little ants are like desires that lead to eventual death: “Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death” (James 1:15, NIV). When we care more about what feels right than what is right, we open ourselves up to destruction. Feelings are wonderful indicators that remind us to turn to God and let Him direct our way, not the world.
3. We will fall when we try to carry the crushing weight of being our own god.
What happens when the king is absent? There is chaos. The book of Judges shows us this reality one story after another, one judge after another. The people are without leadership and direction, and the result is absolute chaos. This is what this world is becoming today. Everything is so backwards now. In the world's eyes, what's good is bad and offending and what's bad is good, allowed and encouraged.
It makes me think how different the fate of the trees could have been if the tree man had been on the scene years before to help them grow big and strong instead of shallow and susceptible.
We need rescue. We need only one ruler and that is Jesus. A righteous ruler who will right all wrongs, direct and protect us and redeem and restore all things.
We aren’t kingless, like the people in the time of the judges. We have the assurance of knowing our eternal King. We have absolute Truth. We have the gift of the Holy Spirit and we have perspective from reading in His Word how dangerous it is when people just do what is right in their own eyes. Sadly, the world today takes the truth of God's Word and twists it to fit their own narrative.
Let’s not be people ruled by our feelings or others opinions. Let’s trust our King. Let’s live by the Truth of His Word and become a people with true strength residing within. Let his light shine through us like the sun through a storm cloud!
Take it to God!
Father God, I want to be a woman with deep roots. A woman firmly anchored to Your Truth and filled by Your Spirit. And so I’m asking You to search my heart. Reveal any areas in my life where I’m pridefully and foolishly choosing to go my own way. I confess today how much I need You to lead me, guide me and be my King. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Growing deep roots,