"So the Lord said, 'If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.'"---Luke 17:6(NKJV)
"Hear good things, see good, do good, then you get the Grace of God, as all the evil tendencies will be uprooted."---Sri Sathya Sai Baba
A seed. Can pull up a tree. BY ITS ROOTS.
I think that's going to be a new spiritual mantra for me in this season (Ecclesiastes 3). That said...
I am *so excited* about this week and what it has in store! In honor of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year (sunset Wednesday thru sunset Thursday), I am going to be partaking in a very special and sacred renewal ritual. I feel led to not corporately share the details; however, I do believe that I am to share a big (HUGE, actually!) "ah ha" that was birthed from committing to partake in it.
These past six months have brought about *quite a bit* of transitioning for me. In every way. In every category. And so, I guess I shouldn't have been surprised that when I met with a pregnancy center where I will be teaching classes this fall, the subject matter that I pitched was one that Adonai, through the power of the Divine Spirit (Luke 12:12), would say was an area for me to revisit. *Ahead of time*. The class is called, "The Root of It: A Class that Explores How One's Past Leads to One's Present".
I have said it before and yet, I don't think that even for me, it has fully sunk in just how *thorough* Adonai is. And continues to be. *Relentlessly so*. That said, as I prepare to enter into the new year that I observe, as I prepare to partake in something that symbolizes and celebrates that newness, *root* came to mind. Not just to teach. But to learn more...about.
There's a book for children called, "What Do Roots Do?" and in the explanation of it, it talks about how roots lead (whew!) *a secret life* under the soil, anchoring and nurturing the plant. One definition of "anchor" is "to fix or fasten; affix firmly". One definition of "nurture" is "to support and encourage, as during the period of training or development; foster". Matter of fact, let's share this one as well: "to bring up; train; educate".
A *root* affixes a thing (or one) firmly. A *root* supports that thing (or one) during development. A *root* TRAINS and EDUCATES that thing (or one).
OK, and what does the lead verse for today say? If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you can speak to a mulberry tree and it will come up *by its roots*. Not only that, it will be planted by the sea.
Now watch how all of this comes together...
Mustard *Seed*, Mulberry *Tree*
I am big on symbolism and so I went to look up the biblical reference re: a mulberry tree. I love how Psalm 147:5(NKJV) tells us that, "Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite." In other words, nothing...*nothing*, if you choose to *spiritually discern it* (I Corinthians 2:13-15)---and you need to worship Adonai in spirit *and in truth* for that to transpire (John 4:24)---is *ever* as surface or shallow as it seems. There were many trees in biblical times: olive trees, oak trees, poplar trees, apple trees, mulberry trees...the list goes on. Oh, but Yehoshua chose to use the *mulberry tree* to illustrate this particular point. Actually, before we get into that, let's also briefly look at the fact that he also used a *mustard seed* to paint his "faith picture" as well.
On a simplistic level, a mustard seed is a small seed that turns into a big plant. Oh, but after doing a bit of "digging up" myself, I also discovered that the mustard plant is considered to be a great plant because of not only its culinary pleasures but (please catch it!) *medicinal values*:
"Mustard plant contains volatile oils which have antimicrobial properties Mustard plants are able to cure many problems...
Powdered mustard is used an appetite stimulant, anti-inflammatory, rubefacient, diuretic, laxative, digestive aid, emetic, irritant and for many other purposes. Mustard plant is also used to combat sinus problems. It enhances blood circulation. Mustard plant gives mustard flour when sprinkled in socks save the toes from frostbite. Seeds of mustard plant are used as preservatives. They are used as a medicine for spleen and liver complaints. Mustard plant also gives mustard plaster which if used as a dressing, increases blood flow to injured areas of the body. Mustard plaster is also used to lessen rheumatism, arthritis and toothache. Muster plaster is an official treatment for reducing fever...
Greeks have described the Mustard plant as the greatest plant because of its usefulness to mankind. Mustard plant has the ability and capacity to sprout, bloom, and mature at a remarkable rate. Despite rapid growth, their quality is long lasting. Mustard plants have the ability to reproduce itself through the process of natural germination. These plants are functional and useful year after year. Every part of mustard plant can be utilized effectively. Mustard plant is also used for treating patients suffering from cold. Mustard seeds if applied to chest will prevent pneumonia. Leaf mustard can also be used as a salad. So the next time you see a mustard plant do not uproot it as it is extremely useful."
Isn't that exquisitely *divine*? A mustard seed grows into a mustard plant that is a cure for many problems: appetite issues, blood issues, pain issues. It has the ability to grow rapidly, have a long lasting quality and within it is the ability to reproduce itself year after year. If you apply this to the Scriptural metaphor:
MUSTARD SEED FAITH (ALSO) DOES THIS. WHEN WE ALLOW IT TO COME. AND GROW.
Next point. When I went to do some research on the mulberry tree, one writer said that, "The mulberry tree, or Morus nigra, features in backgrounds against which ancient biblical battles rage and biblical kings receive God's instructions to persevere against enemies." Ephesians 6:12(NKJV) tells us, "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places." If you also apply this to the spirit world and Christ's teaching:
A "MULBERRY TREE", IN "REAL TIME", CAN BE SEEN AS A BATTLE OR AN ENEMY.
OK, yet what I couldn't get over was that the Word, which is Adonai (John 1:1), says that a *seed* can pull up a *tree*. A "small part" of something can do this. The verb tense of "seed" is "to place, introduce, etc., especially in the hope of increase or profit". When something is *introduced with the hope of increase or profit* (and hope does not disappoint-Romans 5:5), it can pull up the tree-sized battle or enemy...*by its roots*.
The Amplified Version of I Timothy 4:16 tells us this: "Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you." Therefore, I am choosing to share that the Lord and I, through the power of the Holy Spirit, the *Comforter* (John 14:16-AMP), were having a conversation on this blessed Sabbath day (Exodus 20:8-11 and check out Exodus 31:16 sometime!) on a root that I had never really thought about, at least in its entirety, before.
I have spent a lot of blood, sweat and tears thinking about the *physical* and *sexual* ramifications of my childhood sexual (and verbal and physical) abuse. Yet, not really the *relational* results. I shared it with one of my confidants this morning as I was piecing it together: "I don't (always) expect people to honor me. My relationships have crossed all kinds of lines because I was taught to operate that way as a child because there were no good boundaries set. A child loves unconditionally and so they allow things, even unhealthy things, to transpire, because they don't know how to discern otherwise. And even in the abuse, they continue to love, without a clear understanding of what's acceptable and unacceptable, without assessing if they're really being loved in a good way, anyway." You have *no idea* the *extreme exhale* that came from that!
How It All Adds Up
You know, the Liar (John 8:44), the thief (John 10:10), the devourer (I Peter 5:8) is more strategic than we give him...awareness of ('cause I don't want to be giving him a lot of *credit* moving forward). It's not just about attacking us, but attacking us in ways that will not just *hurt* us, but potentially *harm* us as well. You see, when we're hurting, it can be about *bodily* injury or *bodily* pain. Oh, but *harm*? When we are "harmed", it can also be about "mental damage" and more importantly, "moral injury". Satan comes for us in ways that will potentially cause *moral injury*. Definitely something to think about (or reconsider) when Romans 13:10(NKJV) tells us that "Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law." People who cause moral injury to you do not love you. People you do moral injury to, them you do not love, either. One of the greatest struggles in life is navigating through all of that. Gravitating towards the kind of love that is *harmless*. This is why lust is love's counterfeit. It masquerades as love but its mission is to do whatever it takes to ultimately bring about harm. This is why we are told, "But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts." (Romans 13:14-NKJV) Mostly because, "Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death." (James 1:15-NKJV)
Love gives life. Lust breeds death.
I come from a lineage with a lot of love to give. A miraculous abundance of it, actually. AND, I come from a lineage with *loads* of abuse within it. Satan's agenda? I see in a really enlightened way (2 Samuel 22:29, Psalm 18:28), that the abuse was to *root us* into lust (death) because he is *so threatened* by how Adonai blessed us to love...to love to life. Because remember, the root of something actually educates and supports something else. A *bad root* can have you living one way when you were purposed to do something *entirely different*. Indeed, a lot of us need to “unlearn to relearn”. 2 Timothy 2:15(AMP) doesn’t tell us just to *study* but to study in a way that brings about *approval*.
Hence the need for certain things to be *uprooted*. Hence the beauty in the assurance of this lead verse.
How fabulously life-altering! That a seed of spiritual medicinal value can pull up a spiritual battle the size of a tree! Indeed, an idea...one simple faith-based and hope-driven idea...can change everything! No matter how small because it's inspired by something that pleased Adonai (Hebrews 11:6) and *greater* is he who is in us than he that is in the world. No matter how *large* Satan may seem...at the time. Wow! Now there is greater insight into why John 4:4(NKJV) is translated in the way that it is: "You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world." Although we may seem little, with our Abba Father on our side (before us, actually), we have the ability to overcome...the biggest of things!
Final point. You see how it says that not only can mustard seed faith uproot a tree, but that it can plant it into the sea? There's an assurance in the Word of Adonai which states, "But He made His own people go forth like sheep, and guided them in the wilderness like a flock; and He led them on safely, so that they did not fear; but the sea overwhelmed their enemies. And He brought them to His holy border, this mountain which His right hand had acquired." (Psalm 78:52-54-NKJV) Remember how one explanation of the mulberry tree was that it came with an enemy connotation? You see how these verses say that the sea would *overwhelm* the *enemies* of Adonai's people? Not only that, but lead verse tells us that the mulberry tree would be *planted* into the sea. It would be "put" there. "Established" there. "Deposited" there. Into a large mass of water. Oh how so many things *get lost at sea*. And it's especially hard to find your way back to dry land when you've been *planted* out there. Whatever our "mulberry situation" may be, our mustard seed-sized faith can actually uproot it from our lives and establish it far from us. Into the sea of forgetfulness. If you so choose. By your faith. It will obey.
Yep. A wise man once said that, "An idea can stretch you so far that you can't return to your original size." Indeed. And just as a woman by the name of Carrie Latet once said, "An idea whose time has come was waiting there all along." Timing is indeed the Father's business (Acts 1:7-Message) and a little idea...can change you to where yes, it uproots things within you. Big things! As for me, it’s not so much about my current challenges so much as this revelation about my past that I am praising El Elyon, the Most High, for (Psalm 117:2). Because indeed, when you know Adonai’s power, you see your worth and you focus on living a life of true value. On giving and receiving…lasting value (Matthew 10:31).
I don't know what your "mulberry tree" situation(s) may be, but I encourage you to really *envision* the life-altering information within this devotional thought. The lead quote was right...
Good uproots evil. Past, present and future.
No matter how small the good or how big the evil.
Because again, a faith-sized seed...can pull up a spiritual battle-sized tree...by its very roots.
No matter how strong the support, how long the training or how complex the education.
Adonai is the Master teacher. He is bigger than them all!
To get you to the “root”...to uproot it.
To alter the tree…
To bring forth good and lasting fruit (Matthew 12:33, Galatians 5:22-23). In your life!
Selah. And amen!
©Shellie R. Warren/2011