Making the Dry Tree Flourish


“Oh great. Ezekiel.”

Now, some of you are going to want to reach through the computer and slap me real hard for what I’m about to own up to…but; here goes. The reason I was disappointed about turning to Ezekiel in my Bible was because I had done what no mature Christian normally does. I NEEDED to be encouraged. I NEEDED to be encouraged so badly that I had asked my Jesus to please speak to me through His Word by me randomly opening my Bible. I knew better, but closed my eyes and opened my bedside Bible. It fell open to…Ezekiel. I was disappointed. You have to understand…I just don’t do this. I normally would just read from where I had left off and look for nuggets of peace and solace there. The reason, I didn’t do that was I had been reading Isaiah and I just wasn’t up to reading what was coming in the next chapter when I had such a need of comforting. When I saw that I had turned to Ezekiel, I’m afraid I sighed. I went ahead and started reading with part of my brain saying, “You knew better.” So, I read…

Ezekiel 17

“1. And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, 2. Son of man, put forth a riddle, and speak a parable unto the house of Israel; 3. And say, Thus saith the Lord God; A great eagle with great wings, longwinged, full of feathers, which had divers colours, came unto Lebanon, and took the highest branch of the cedar: 4. He cropped off the top of his young twigs, and carried it into a land of traffick; he set it in a city of merchants. 5. He took also of the seed of the land, and planted it in a fruitful field; he placed it by great waters, and set it as a willow tree. 6. And it grew, and became a spreading vine of low stature, whose branches turned toward him, and the roots thereof were under him: so it became a vine, and brought forth branches, and shot forth sprigs….”

I was reading but not absorbing. I was tempted to skim, but my conscience wouldn’t allow me. I continued.

“7. There was also another great eagle with great wings and many feathers: and, behold, this vine did bend her roots toward him, and shot forth her branches toward him, that he might water it by the furrows of her plantation .8. It was planted in a good soil by great waters, that it might bring forth branches, and that it might bear fruit, that it might be a goodly vine. 9. Say thou, Thus saith the Lord God; Shall it prosper? shall he not pull up the roots thereof, and cut off the fruit thereof, that it wither? it shall wither in all the leaves of her spring, even without great power or many people to pluck it up by the roots thereof. 10. Yea, behold, being planted, shall it prosper? shall it not utterly wither, when the east wind toucheth it? it shall wither in the furrows where it grew.”

Now, I REALLY didn’t want to continue. I was just so beaten down already, I didn’t think I could bear to read something that made me feel any worse… but; my conscience would not allow me to not take the bitter with the sweet, so…I continued.

“11. Moreover the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, 12. Say now to the rebellious house, Know ye not what these things mean? tell them, Behold, the king of Babylon is come to Jerusalem, and hath taken the king thereof, and the princes thereof, and led them with him to Babylon; 13. And hath taken of the king’s seed, and made a covenant with him, and hath taken an oath of him: he hath also taken the mighty of the land: 14. That the kingdom might be base, that it might not lift itself up, but that by keeping of his covenant it might stand. 15. But he rebelled against him in sending his ambassadors into Egypt, that they might give him horses and much people. Shall he prosper? shall he escape that doeth such things? or shall he break the covenant, and be delivered? 16. As I live, saith the Lord God, surely in the place where the king dwelleth that made him king, whose oath he despised, and whose covenant he brake, even with him in the midst of Babylon he shall die. 17. Neither shall Pharaoh with his mighty army and great company make for him in the war, by casting up mounts, and building forts, to cut off many persons: 18. Seeing he despised the oath by breaking the covenant, when, lo, he had given his hand, and hath done all these things, he shall not escape. 19. Therefore thus saith the Lord God; As I live, surely mine oath that he hath despised, and my covenant that he hath broken, even it will I recompense upon his own head. 20. And I will spread my net upon him, and he shall be taken in my snare, and I will bring him to Babylon, and will plead with him there for his trespass that he hath trespassed against me. 21. And all his fugitives with all his bands shall fall by the sword, and they that remain shall be scattered toward all winds: and ye shall know that I the Lord have spoken it.”

Now, not only was I beaten down and very sad…I was starting to wonder if I had displeased God. I caught myself skipping words in order to rush ahead and past this disturbing scene…but; my conscience wouldn’t let me. I made myself back up and read it again before I continued.

“22.  Thus saith the Lord God; I will also take of the highest branch of the high cedar, and will set it; I will crop off from the top of his young twigs a tender one, and will plant it upon an high mountain and eminent:”

I had to read this a couple of times. It was puzzling to me. Then I read…

“23.  In the mountain of the height of Israel will I plant it: and it shall bring forth boughs, and bear fruit, and be a goodly cedar: and under it shall dwell all fowl of every wing; in the shadow of the branches thereof shall they dwell.”

My heart started to lift…Oh to bear fruit! To be a goodly cedar!

“24. And all the trees of the field shall know that I the Lord have brought down the high tree, have exalted the low tree, have dried up the green tree, and have made the dry tree to flourish: I the Lord have spoken and have done it.”

He will make “the dry tree to flourish:” I had to read it again and again. “…made the dry tree to flourish:” Oh what Beautiful Words!  “I can do this!”,  I thought. “Everything is going to be alright, no matter what the end is, it’s going to be alright!”

For months I had been working on the “force the desert to blossom as the rose” plan, as I call it to my kids and family. I had been privileged to hear Rev Lee Stoneking speak at my daughter’s graduation from Bible college, and the thing that he said that impacted me the most was what he preached from Isaiah 35:1 “The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.” He spoke of “forcing” the desert to blossom as the rose. (I wrote extensively about this in my post, “Rise Up Oh Army of God”.)  God had really gotten a hold of me after this and had been changing me in ways I never would have done on my own. Just the other night, I had been praying about how I felt like I had so far to go and I felt like progress had slowed and I absolutely did not want to chance a stall. I talked to Jesus and said that my program of forcing the desert to blossom was not going to cut it. His ways are so much better that I asked God if HE would “FORCE my desert to blossom”. He is so awesome and His ways are awesome and He would do it RIGHT!  HIS plan would be perfect and the end would be lovely, no matter what it was. Now, here I was, sitting on my bed reading Ezekiel 17 over and over to make sure I got it right. Yes, I’ve been in a dry and thirsty land, but THIS DESERT is GOING to BLOSSOM!

What a GOOD life we have when it’s lived in God!

Nancy

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My Husband


“Oh, my Husband, my Mighty God! Where would you have me go? What would you have me do? How would you have me speak?”

I was standing by my seat deep in prayer, when I felt a tap on my arm. I opened my eyes to see a stranger before me. He said, “I wonder if you would mind sharing with me what you are interceding so deeply for?”  I tried to think of a way I could explain to this man of God what I had been praying about. How could I put this thing into words…how could I tell him something so deep…so personal.

It was the first evening of our organization’s General Conference. I was attending it with my daughter, though she had stepped away and was praying for others. I hadn’t really thought we would be able to attend the conference since an unexpected home repair had pretty much wiped out my financial buffer. God kept laying on my heart that we should go until, with less than a week til the conference, during prayer, I thought of how we could manage it. If you have read my previous posts, you have something of an idea of what God has been doing with me these past months and the changes leading up to this evening, that found me standing before God, in deep submission, praying.

I should probably take you back prior to this evening, to a time of consecrating prayer, a time of relinquishing of my will to Jesus, a time of brokenness before God. I had put myself under His protection as my Husband and placed my future and entire trust in His hands. I made a purposeful decision that evening to give God my first love, as my spiritual husband. As I prayed, I thought of how a woman in love speaks to her betrothed. I thought of the Song of Solomon. 1:3. “Because of the savour of thy good ointments thy name is as ointment poured forth, therefore do the virgins love thee. 4. Draw me, we will run after thee: the king hath brought me into his chambers: we will be glad and rejoice in thee, we will remember thy love more than wine: the upright love thee…2:3. As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste. 4. He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love…16. My beloved is mine, and I am his: he feedeth among the lilies. 17. Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, turn, my beloved, and be thou like a roe or a young hart upon the mountains of Bether.”

I spoke to Jesus during this prayer of consecration as the Shulamite woman to King Solomon…I told Him how much I loved Him, how much I desired to please Him, to serve Him, to lavish my love on Him.  As I worshiped, I told Him I wanted my life to please Him, my clothing to please Him, my hair to please Him. I told Him I desired to please Him in Holiness and in submission of my will to His.  In this deep place of prayer, I spoke to God as my Husband, asking Him for protection, provision, comfort and direction.

I looked at the man standing before me and struggled to find the words. I had been praying to God as my Husband, pouring my heart out to Him. I had let myself get distracted with life and with my own desires and had let my first love for Him slip. What use was I to God if I was not sold out to Him? All of the changes that had happened over the past months, all of the promise I was feeling were worth nothing if I wasn’t sold out to God! I knew I needed to place God once again in that honored place in my heart reserved for my spiritual Husband. Finally, I spoke, telling the man of God that I was of no use to God if I wasn’t sold out to Him. Then, after asking me if I had repented about this, he said, “This is what I’m going to do. I’m going to pray with you and God is going to change you and it has already begun. You will see changes over the next few days and as the days pass.” Then he prayed for me and the power of God came down…and God, my spiritual Husband took His rightful first place in my heart once again…and I danced the dance of The Bride.

Isaiah 62

1. For Zion’s sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth.
2. And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord shall name.
3. Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God.
4. Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the Lord delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married.
5. For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee: and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee.
6. I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the Lord, keep not silence,
7. And give him no rest, till he establish, and till he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth.
8. The Lord hath sworn by his right hand, and by the arm of his strength, Surely I will no more give thy corn to be meat for thine enemies; and the sons of the stranger shall not drink thy wine, for the which thou hast laboured:
9. But they that have gathered it shall eat it, and praise the Lord; and they that have brought it together shall drink it in the courts of my holiness.
10. Go through, go through the gates; prepare ye the way of the people; cast up, cast up the highway; gather out the stones; lift up a standard for the people.
11. Behold, the Lord hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.
12. And they shall call them, The holy people, The redeemed of the Lord: and thou shalt be called, Sought out, A city not forsaken.

Nancy

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