A Special Tree

Isaiah 44:9‑20  •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 6
Once upon a time, there was a man in the forest, searching for a special tree. It must not be too small or too crooked or too soft or too hard. It had to be just right. Finally, he found such a tree. He chopped it down, and he probably had helpers to bring it home with him.
All the side branches must be trimmed off and the narrow top chopped off before it was ready for his secret purpose. The smaller branches were not wasted. He probably had a wife who was busy kneading bread for supper, and when the fire made from the branches was just right, she was able to make good, crunchy, little loaves for the family. And roasted meat too. Then they were glad of the cozy warmth as they gathered around the fire when the sun went down. “Aha,” he said, “I am warm.”
Maybe it was the next day that he and his helpers set to work on his special project. The blacksmith did the metal part, getting a hot fire going, handling the metal with tongs and hammering away at the red-hot bars until they were shaped as he wished. His arms were tired, but he worked without even a drink of water until it was finished.
The carpenter took his ruler and compass, marked and measured and chiselled and planed that specially chosen piece of wood, until it was just right - or as nearly right as he could make it.
What was all this fuss about? What were they trying to make? They were making a beautiful statue of a man. And this lifeless statue would remain in his house in order that it might be his god, and he could worship it.
And yet our God has plainly told us, “Before Me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after Me. I, even I, am the Lord; and beside Me there is no Savior” (Isaiah 43:10-1110Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. 11I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no saviour. (Isaiah 43:10‑11)). Je-sus, who died for us, is our Savior indeed. Jesus is God.
A man who would go to all that trouble to make himself a god is a very foolish man, isn’t he? His god is only a piece of dead wood and lifeless metal. That statue cannot see or hear or talk or love. But before you call him foolish, perhaps you can think of something in your life that is more important to you than the living God who made you. It could be something that you worked very hard to fix up, and it is the most important object of your life. The man in our story cooked his dinner, warmed himself and made a god for himself, all out of the same tree and with the same effort. Is the god you worship the work of your own efforts? If so, it is just as lifeless and powerless as the man’s statue.
No one could ever think up a god like the living God who made us and who loves us and who sent His Son Jesus to die for us. No one could ever plan to spend eternity with such a holy God who is also light, who shows up all we have done. But He loves us so much that by the blood of His only Son, He is willing to make us fit to enjoy His home in heaven forever.
Don’t rest a minute until you can say, “This God is [my] God forever and ever: He will be [my] guide even unto death” (Psalm 48:1414For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death. (Psalm 48:14)).