Faith to Plant a Tamarisk Tree
We've all heard of mustard seed faith, but what about the faith to plant a tamarisk tree? Yes, it's biblical!
In Genesis 15, God has promised Abraham that not only will he have descendants, but they will live in bondage for four hundred years. Then, in Genesis 21, Isaac is born, and then there appears to be an interruption of Isaac's story that recounts an oath Abraham agrees to with Abimelech not to deal falsely with his descendants. Abraham takes this opportunity to reacquire a well that Abimelech’s men had seized from Abraham, and after this occurs, we find an interesting verse that is easy to overlook.
“Abraham planted a tamarisk tree at Beersheba, and there he called on the name of the LORD, the Everlasting God” (Gen. 21:33).
Secretions of the tamarisk
I’m a naturally curious person that tends to ask “Why?” to everything, and such was the case with this tamarisk tree. Why this tree? In studying this incredible tree, I found some remarkable qualities.
The tamarisk is a very slow-growing tree, averaging approximately one inch of growth per year. However, a mature tree can grow between 30-60 feet tall. It takes about 400 years for a tamarisk tree to reach maturity. Remember, God told Abraham his descendants would be in captivity for 400 years. Interestingly, the tamarisk tree releases approximately 200,000 seeds per year, which cause it to be considered an invasive species. In addition, the Tamarix mannifera releases a white substance used for food by Bedouins and as a medicinal for insect bites. Many refer to this as "manna."
Let’s examine this. Abraham plants a tree that he knows will outlive him, not even reaching maturity for another 400 years. This, my friends, is the nature of faith. Abraham already received the promise of God in Isaac but was awaiting the day when a nation would arise out of one. We're told in Genesis 15:6 that "Abraham believed the LORD, and it was credited to him as righteousness." From this moment on, Abraham begins to act based on his beliefs. This belief led him to plant a single tree that would reproduce, bearing many. A tree capable of providing an edible substance and restoring health is an invasive species that overtakes the natural world surrounding it. We know from the Word that the children of Israel would eventually invade the land of the Philistines and conquer it. Abraham wasn't planting a tree for his benefit. No, he was looking towards the future and planting for those yet to come!
Tamarisk tree faith takes God at His Word and acts on it, not based on what it wants God to do in its own life, but what it is looking forward to God doing hundreds of years from now within the family unit. It is a faith that says, "I not only believe God will do for me in the here and now what He claims He will do, but that God will continue to be faithful to my family in the generations that follow despite all obstacles. What I am planting will be a source they can rely on in the future."
So, I ask, what are you planting that will never benefit you but has the potential to serve subsequent generations as they enter their promised inheritance. What actions are you taking that will bless the generations to follow? I want to have the faith to plant tamarisk trees for my children and children's children, and beyond. The Bible records that when famine struck the land, Isaac returned to Beersheba, the place Abraham planted his tamarisk tree, and in that place, God renewed for Isaac the covenant that He had made with Abraham (Gen. 26). I want to leave a legacy my family can return to and find renewed covenant with God when they experience the trials of life. I want a faith that plants a tamarisk tree!