“And God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth.” And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.” (Genesis 1:11-13, ESV, emphasis mine)
Of all the marvelous things God created, I have a special adoration for oak trees. (Did you know they qualify as a “fruit-bearing” tree? Technically, acorns are the “fruit” of the oak tree!)
An oak is a strong, glorious tree. It grows for hundreds of years and can withstand the most brutal elements that nature throws at it. Not only does it represent strength and is magnificent to look at, but an oak is also vital for life. No other tree in North America supports more life forms than an oak.1
Wildlife ecology expert Douglas Tallamy writes in his book, The Nature of Oaks, that much of what you see “would not be going on if you did not have one or more oak trees gracing your piece of planet earth.”2
An oak tree and its properties should stop us in our tracks and fill us with awe. Yes, it is one of the most glorious plants God created, but that glorious, created thing is designed by the Creator to be a finger pointing to his glory.
God, with nothing more than his will and his word, spoke oak trees into existence—literally, no exaggeration here. When was the last time you spoke anything into existence? Don’t let the astonishing glory of what is being described in Genesis 1 elude you.
The words, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth,” define and explain everything. They are meant to put you in your place and insert God in his proper place in your heart and life.
As you stand in awe of his glory, you start to be free from your obsession with your own glory and your constant need to be right, in control, and acclaimed. As you begin to bow to the Creator’s majesty, you begin to be free from the dangerous delusions of your own majesty.
So, the next time you see the majesty of an oak tree, or any other plant or tree, pray for grace. Pray that you will always see the glorious One behind the glorious physical thing you are seeing, hearing, tasting, or touching.
Look beyond the creation and open your eyes and heart to see the Creator’s glory. God, in love and mercy, is inviting you to confess and surrender.
Oak trees are planted to confront you with God. We are forced to deal with him. There is no escaping the height of his splendor. There is no avoiding the shadow of his power. He is too overwhelmingly huge to avoid.
From the beginning, he invites us to know him, experience his grandeur, and give ourselves to the only thing that makes sense—worship.
Paul David Tripp
1. Of all the marvelous things God created, what are some of your favorite elements of creation and why?
2. Have you grown accustomed to, or bored of, what once used to leave you in wonder? How can you rekindle the awe that you used to have for God and his majesty?
3. Have you grown entitled to the everyday blessings the Lord lavishes on you by grace? List some of these blessings. Are you expecting or demanding what can only be defined as divine gifts from your loving heavenly Father? How can you appreciate them more as gifts?
4. In what ways might you be in awe of yourself? Of course, you wouldn’t publicly disclose this sentiment, but in subtle and deceptive ways, where might you be taking personal credit for what only God has done? Where are you putting yourself as sovereign, wise, and all-powerful in your own life?
1 Roach, Margaret. 2021. "Why You Should Plant Oaks". NYTimes.com. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/31/realestate/oak-trees-why-you-should-plant.html
2 Tallamy, Douglas. 2021. "The Nature of Oaks: The Rich Ecology of Our Most Essential Native Trees" https://www.amazon.com/Nature-Oaks-Ecology-Essential-Native-ebook/dp/B08GFNJVN3