The Cedar trees that grow in the mountains of Lebanon hold a very special significance for the Christian. Solomon used those strong timbers to build God’s temple (1 Kings 7:2-3). The Bible also refers to them as the basis of several metaphors. Therefore, when Pastor Milad Dagher gave his free day to take Sonia and I to the Cedars of Lebanon last month, we were thrilled. While we hiked along the trail for an hour and a half, he related some of the characteristics of that special tree that made the trip as devotional as it was educational.
• DEEP ROOTS: For every ten feet of height above the ground, the tree roots go down 30 feet under ground. I want my “being rooted and grounded in love” (Ephesians 3:17) to reflect the Cedar.
• PENETRATION: The tips of the roots are equipped with a substance that allows them to drill through the toughest of rock and continue the deep-rootedness of the tree. I want my life to drill through difficult times so that in the end, I am anchored in a rock foundation.
• USEFULNESS TO OTHERS: Psalm 104:16-17 show that the cedars, which God created, serve to provide for the needs of other living things like the birds of the air. I would like my life, like that of the Cedar, to exist for the sake of other members of the world community.
• RESISTANCE TO DECAY: The sap of the Cedar serves as a natural repellant to harmful insects and fungi. This internal resistance to decay and infection make me think of the “armor of God” which allows us to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. Our spiritual “sap” should include truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, and faith “with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” (Ephesians 6:1-17)
• UNITY: The limbs of neighboring trees grow right into the foliage of the neighboring tree and sometimes grow together as one. So even if one tree dies, its limbs will be sustained by merging with the surviving tree. Psalm 133:1, “Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity,” refers literally to siblings living together as members of an extended family or community. How different this picture is than that of competitive siblings quarrelling over possessions and power.
• LONGEVITY AND VITALITY: Psalm 92:12, 14-15 is my favorite reference to the cedar in Lebanon because it provides encouragement to a man who is getting older but hopefully more righteous. “The righteous man will flourish like the palm tree and will grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the Lord; they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still yield fruit in old age; they shall be full of sap and very green, to declare that the Lord is upright; He is my rock and there is not unrighteousness in Him.”
If you know of any additional characteristics of the cedars of Lebanon, please add them in the comments below.