Growing up, there was an evergreen tree in my front yard. Sometimes I would stare out my bedroom window and just look at the tree. The evergreen was especially fun to look at in the winter, as the snow rested on its branches seemingly unaffected by the cold.
Today I finished reading through the book of Hosea. I stopped and paused to reflect on one verse in particular--Hosea 14:8--where God says,
I am like an evergreen cypress; from me comes your fruit.
The first question I asked myself was, "Why would God compare himself to an evergreen? Why? What's the significance? After reflecting for awhile I wrote down some of my own thoughts. Then I looked to Charles Spurgeon for some help. Here's what he says in regards to this verse:
The Lord has compared himself, in his condescending mercy, to a green fir tree. The fir tree in the East yields a most goodly shade. Neither the burning heat of the sun, nor the drops of pouring rain can pass through the dense foliage, and therefore it affords a welcome shelter to the traveler. But shade is not enough for a man; he requires food, and the fir tree fails in that respect, for it yields no repast for the hungry. To complete the picture, therefore, when the Lord deigns to compare himself to a green fir tree, he adds, “From me is thy fruit found.” Our gracious God is like a fir tree for shade, but like the apple tree among the trees of the wood for fruit. We sit under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit is sweet unto our taste.
These words humbled me. God likens himself to an evergreen tree who forever stands strong for us, providing shade and security for us in the midst of life. But he is more. He is the source of our fruitfulness. Any fruitfulness we have is a direct result of our being connected to him. Without him we can do nothing (John 15:5). But through him we can do all things (Phil. 4:13). We can both taste the fruit of being one with Him and experience the fruit of living for Him.
God is our evergreen. In the summer sun he is always there to give us shade. In the rain and lightning, when other trees are torn apart, he stands his ground. And when the winter comes, when all the leaves have gone and the cold snow blankets the ground, our evergreen keeps standing strong not touched by the cold.
May we praise Him for being our evergreen this Christmas season.