The Almond Tree's Message
Jeremiah 1:11-16
Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, Jeremiah, what see you? And I said, I see a rod of an almond tree.…

The almond tree was, as its name indicates, the "watcher," the "hastener"; as if it lay at the gates of spring, waiting, yearning for their opening; as if it would urge forward the days of sunshine and gladness. It was apparently with some sense of the allegory it taught that the shape of its blossom was adopted as the pattern of the "cup" for the candles in the golden candlestick in the temple. So, as the candles burnt from sunset to sunrise in the golden cups of the almond blossoms, the symbol out of which they sprang was telling of the watcher and the hastener, and was saying, "The morning cometh" And the almond branch says through all the dreary winter, "The spring cometh and also the summer. God watches over His Word to perform it." Yes, as God watches over the almond blossoms to open their beautiful leaves, and to gladden the eyes of men, so will He open the promises and prophecies of His Word to fill men's hearts with joy and peace. Ah, we cannot watch over our word to perform it, save in a very qualified sense indeed. But how calmly the Infinite and Eternal One keeps watch over His from generation to generation till all are fulfilled! Although the symbol of the almond branch was employed to show how certainly God's Word will be performed on the grand scale of its application to national life, we may fairly take our crumb of personal comfort from it. There are multitudes of promises, multitudes of assurances of love, multitudes of revelations which are adopted and applied as personal words from God to His children, who build upon them, hope in them, look for their fulfilment. They have associated God's love and honour with them as closely as our children bind us up with our words. And they are abundantly encouraged to do so. The promises for man are promises to men. God deals with humanity by dealing with individuals. The race is saved through its units. The secret promise of spring in the branch of the almond tree, which the prophet was taught to apply to the whole nation, has also a meaning for every soul of man. It means that God watches and waits to perform His Word to him. But we turn now to that national and human aspect of the text, which undoubtedly it chiefly had for the prophet, and which it was intended to have for men in all generations. When, then, God performs His Word, does He perform it mediately by the instrumentality of agents, or immediately by an exercise of volition? The almond branch answers our question. Not by the touch of His invisible fingers does He make the flower burst from the stem and open its pale pink leaves to the sun and wind. He does it by the majestic movement of the seasons. The courses of the stars, the rush of the world through space, the heat from the far-off sun, the blowing of the winds, the falling of the rain, the secret chemical action of the soil, the mysterious operation of the laws of life in the tree itself, all combine as God's ministers to bring to pass God's will and word in the making and unfolding of a flower. And this increases the marvel of His work; this enlarges our conception of His superintending care; this touches our souls with a consciousness of His universal presence. If the Almighty will spend a year of unceasing work to make a flower bloom, if He will lavish the wealth of earth and use the powers of the heavens upon it, then we may fairly assume that He will exercise as great or greater vigilance and effort to perform His Word touching the highest welfare of man. He will not fail to establish His kingdom, and He will do it by using the most vailed forces operating through centuries of time, if need be, through ages of ages. It is, perhaps, not easy for us to remember that He is now operating through ourselves and through the great masses of mankind, all the while watching over His Word to perform it, but so it is. The Old Testament view of God's use not only of Israel, but also of heathen kings and nations, should aid us to see that He is still using men to fulfil His purposes. Tyrants as well as patriots have served the cause of liberty by compelling nations to safeguard it by constitutional laws and usages. Atheists have furthered a reverent piety by revealing the coldness of their denials and their incompetence to satisfy the deepest, the best, the most irrepressible of our thoughts and desires. Grasping capitalists, as well as Socialists, are now urging forward the cause of a sound and real equality, by causing men everywhere and of all degrees to think, to inquire, to contrive, and to act in combination, each man subordinating the personal to the general good, and so learning a lesson in unity, in self-control, and in care for others. The very faith of the Gospel has been promoted by much that seemed to threaten its extinction. The very principles and precepts of the kingdom of God have been adopted and confirmed because of experience of the evil of their opposites. We dare not, we would not, say that knowledge of evil has been the necessary introduction to knowledge of good, but this we may affirm, that God works by means of evil to perform His Word, to establish it among us as the admitted counsel of perfect wisdom and perfect love; He uses even our faults and our sins to bring to pass the fulfilment of His Word.

(J. P. Gladstone.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Jeremiah, what seest thou? And I said, I see a rod of an almond tree.

WEB: Moreover the word of Yahweh came to me, saying, "Jeremiah, what do you see?" I said, "I see a branch of an almond tree."

The Almond Tree and the Seething Pot
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