“When a tree falls in the forest, does it make a sound?”
That philosophical question is designed around the presence of a human being. “Sound” being a human word, the implication is that the tree wouldn’t make a sound, as there is no one around to hear. From a purely scientific standpoint, of course, the tree makes a sound. We understand that even when we are not present, there still will be sound waves. The animals will certainly hear it and try to move out of the way.
Yesterday, when we read about the cedar, it was referring to the David line. In today’s passage, is refers to kings and leaders, just not the Davidic ones. The cultural awareness that the cedar represented royalty helps us understand that the cedar might be used in multiple contexts to represent the kingly leaders.
The difference here is that the tree representing Assyria goes down and has no legacy. Yesterday, the Davidic cedar had a bough taken off and replanted. Here, there is no legacy. In fact, the land animals resting on it show that it is worth nothing more than dirt.
The tree, oddly enough, goes down not necessarily for Judah and Israel’s benefit, but to show Egypt who God is. Or perhaps we should say, remind Egypt who God is (reminding Judah and Israel, too).
Governments, as they are a gathering of people, look to other governments and other people to get an idea of how to succeed, and often how to beat the other guy. Governments too busy looking at the other “guy” aren’t looking to God.
Often when we are busy looking at the “other” (whether people, governments, and many others), we are not looking at the right things, let alone the things we can control.
Paul refers to the new creation. When we look too much to the world we lose sight of the new creation that is inside of us. It’s not that we corrupt it, but we can avoid it. As we look to others to define us or oppose us—instead of God—we miss out on the new creation. As the “others” look to unGodly things, they are often looking at the unGodly things of others, creating a vicious cycle.
We need to break the cycle. How we break the cycle will be a very individual thing. We, like Paul, may end up bearing marks like Christ on our bodies. We almost definitely will bear them on our souls.
- How much do you reflect on the new creation inside of you?
- Do you ever see when the world tries to change this new creation?
- Are you more driven by leaders, governments, or people within your circle? How do you try to influence them for Christ?
Lord, give us the freedom to recognize that we have been freed from the ways of the world. Help us to look to you first, so that we may transform the world through your love for us. Amen.