As spring progresses and the exquisite beauty of summer rolls in, followed by the brilliance of autumn, we can’t help but notice the splendor of trees. Alfred Joyce Kilmer, an American writer and poet, wrote a famous poem, Trees. His writings reflected a deep faith in God and an appreciation for the world’s natural beauty, as evidenced in these lines: I think that I shall never see a poem lovely as a tree…A tree that looks to God all day and lifts her leafy arms to pray…Poems are made by fools like me, but only God can make a tree (Trees, Joyce Kilmer).
I have always loved trees and spent many hours playing in the woods as a child. A Bible verse that fascinates me is found in Isaiah 55:12, For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. Again, we read about clapping trees in 1 Chronicles 16:30-34 (MSG); God is serious business, take Him seriously; He's put the earth in place, and it's not moving. So let heaven rejoice, let earth be jubilant, and pass the word among the nations, ‘God reigns!’ Let Ocean, all teeming with life, bellow, let Field and all its creatures shake the rafters; Then the trees in the forest will add their applause to all who are pleased and present before God—He's on his way to set things right!
Some scholars believe that symbolically, mountains and hills may signify kings of the nations, and trees of the field may signify people rejoicing. Perhaps the celebration and merriment of Ocean, Field, and Trees, referenced here as animated creatures, will occur as Jesus Christ establishes His Kingdom on earth during a 1,000-year reign when we, as believers, will rule and reign with Him. Since God is awesome in His ability to create anything from nothing, it could be a literal occurrence that Mountain sings, Ocean bellows, Field shakes the rafters, and Trees applaud with their branches.
Luke 19:39-40 says that as Jesus entered Jerusalem on a colt, the crowds shouted "Hosanna!" and the Pharisees told Jesus to rebuke the disciples for that. Jesus responded, "I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out!" Remember that God made Balaam’s donkey talk (Numbers 22:28), so our God really IS in His Heaven, and He does WHATEVER pleases Him (Psalm 115:3)—with stones, donkeys, mountains, oceans, fields, trees, whatever! Kilmer’s words, "a tree that looks to God all day, and lifts her leafy arms to pray," echo the idea of trees expressing themselves like we do, as we worship and praise the Lord.
The next time you’re enjoying a leisurely walk in the woods, look up at the beauty and majesty of the trees and set your mind on things above (Colossians 3:2 NIV), remembering that no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love Him (1 Corinthians 2:9 NLT). It’s going to be spectacular!
© 2020, 2023, Chris Custer Werre