The Redwoods

Have you ever visited the Redwoods in California? If you haven’t, you’ve got to put it on your bucket list of things to do.  These magnificent trees can tower over 350 feet, leaving you breathless in their presence.   Their circumference is just as stunning, with a measurement of  20-25 feet round.  Can you imagine trying to hug this tree?  You would need your whole family.

Redwoods are some of the oldest trees on planet earth. Scientists have estimated the ages of some Redwoods to be 2,200 years old.  Now that’s a tree that saw a lot of history!

Besides their enormous stature, the Redwoods are an enigma of nature. Most trees of their size would need to grow roots that extend far below the soil.  You would think a tree this tall would need to stretch its roots below ground at least 100 feet.  Not the Redwoods- they are different.  Their roots only stretch six to twelve feet below the soil.  You’re probably wondering, “How does the tree stay upright?  Wouldn’t it topple to the ground with the slightest wind, or with the pounding of a rainstorm?”  I can see your point here because I thought the same thing.  But keep in mind, the Redwoods are different.

You see, the Redwoods don’t rely on their roots stretching deep into the ground. Instead they stretch their roots outward so they can intertwine with other Redwood tree roots nearby. It’s kind of like “holding hands” under the ground.  Doesn’t that sound sweet?   Well, I’d say it’s more like amazing.  They can stretch their roots outward for more than 50 feet in order to join roots with another Redwood. With the Redwoods, unity is everything.  They rely on each other for support and strength.  When the strongest winds come, and when rain penetrates the ground, they do not budge. United they stand, divided they fall.

That’s not all. Oh no, not by any means.  Perhaps one of the most amazing things about the Redwoods is that they are resistant to fire and insects. What?  A tree that is fire resistant?  Isn’t that kind of like saying I have a cat that’s resistant to tuna?  Well, it’s true.  It takes a whole lot of fire to take down a Redwood.   The trunk of a Redwood has very thick bark.  There are long, deep grooves running up and down their trunks.  This thick bark, along with the grooves, acts as a fire resistant shell.  There’s even water inside the trunk to protect it from fire.   Consequently, a architect’s dream is a house built from the wood of a Redwood.  The home built with lumber from a Redwood will be tough as nails.  Did you know during the Great San Francisco Earthquake it was structures built with Redwood that survived the devastating blazes?

And what about insects?  Let’s just say when an insect sees a Redwood he suddenly becomes depressed, realizing he could chomp all day and he will never be able to get a good bite of this tree.  It’s too thick and it’s protected by a material known as tannin.  Both of these adaptations protect the Redwood from the insect’s pesky bite.  For the insect it’s like looking at a 350 foot chocolate bar you’ll never be able to eat.

Tough as they are, a Redwood can eventually fall (though it could be hundreds or thousands of years.) Of course, they are not immortal, so eventually they will die and then fall. Once it falls, it will lay on the ground.   A dead tree will rot where it lays.  But, here’s the cool thing- A full size Redwood can take hundreds of years to fully decompose.  That’s a long time!   Now, what happens if a living Redwood gets knocked over?  Will it die?  Not  exactly.  It may just do something that would remind you of a “Ripley’s Believe it or Not” show.  If a living Redwood falls to the ground, and one of its limbs is facing upward, it will attempt to regrow itself using this limb. This one limb will turn into a new tree, thus allowing the Redwood to survive.  Pretty neat huh?  Even more amazing is the fact that they only need a little bit of sunlight to survive.  They can slow down their growth during times of less sunlight, and then catch up later on when they sun comes out.

So I’m sure you’re wondering, what do Redwoods have to do with Israel and the United States and the whole 67owls theme? Don’t worry, there’s a very good reason for all the details.

When I visited the Redwoods on vacation I knew there was something special about them. I felt there was some connection being made.  There was a bigger picture to see.

Months later the Lord showed me something astounding. He showed me that these trees were like the nation of Israel, and the Jewish people.  At first, I thought it was a weird revelation.  But, quickly I realized what he was showing me.

Firstly, the Redwoods’ survival depended on their ability to stretch their roots outward, intertwining them with other Redwoods. This kept them from being knocked over.  I realized that throughout their existence the Jews have been persecuted and killed.  So many nations have tried to destroy them-to knock them over.  Yet, they stood as a people and survived.  Not only that, nations like the United States intertwined roots with them, to help them stand. The United States was the first nation to recognize Israel in 1948.  Later, in wars such as the 6 Day War and the Yom Kippur War, the United States helped arm Israel against her enemies.  The intertwining of these roots began as early back as the founding of the American colonies, when Jews were given a safe haven in colonies such as New York and Pennsylvania.  One democracy intertwined roots with the other, allowing Israel to stand. 

How about the fact that Redwoods are resistant to fire?  They have the ability to ward off fire with their thick bark, and the water inside their trunks. How about the Jewish people?  During the Holocaust, thousands of Jews were burned in incinerators. The word Holocaust means “great fire.” Yet, the Jews still survived.  Like the Redwoods they held off the full force of the fire, and a remnant emerged.  During World War II many Christian families stretched out their roots to hide the Jews, and protect them from the evil fire of the Nazis.  Hitler tried to burn everything that was Jewish, from their books to their lives.  Yet, he failed.  God preserved his people.  He was the water that sustained them- the lifeblood within them.  They are a tough, brave race of people.  When you listen to Holocaust survivor stories, it’s obvious they had “some tough tree bark.”  How did they survive such a horrific event?  They survived because they have the heart of a Redwood, and God upheld them.

What about the insects? What do insects do?  They typically eat through the bark of trees, as well as the leaves, trying to drain the life out of the tree.   Yet they can’t do this with the Redwoods.  Try they may, but to no avail.  They lose every time.  How about Israel?  Let’s see………..since they regained their land back in 1948 (became a nation again), they haven’t lost one war (and there have been several).  Even though they battle against armies of “insects” five to ten times their size, they prevail.  The “insect nations” that have tried to eat away at Israel’s livelihood have not obtained their meal.  That doesn’t mean they don’t keep trying.  Insects are persistent and relentless.  But the Jewish people are resourceful and they can defend their nation- with the help of God of course.
How about the fact that a Redwood can grow a whole new tree from one limb? Even if it falls over, a Redwood can hold on to life.  Well, let’s think of how many times the world has tried to knock the Jews over and keep them down.  Let’s see, how about ancient Egypt, or Rome, or Spain/Portugal (Spanish Inquisition), and of course Germany during World War II to name a few.   Though these nations inflicted great damage on the Jews, a remnant always survived.   Even when their populations looked bleak, they sprouted from limbs, making a whole new tree.  The prophet Ezekiel prophesied the nation of Israel would “come back from the dead” and he was right.  They were brought back into their homeland in 1948, right after the Nazis tried to wipe them out.   Hmm, seems to me those limbs stretched right upward to God (who is light/sun) and he answered in a big way with LIFE!!!

And what about the age of these trees? Some are over 2,200 years old.  They are ancient.  The nation of Israel is ancient as well.  God brought an ancient people back to their ancient land after thousands of years. He is preparing his people to stand tall against the nations around it.  Like the Redwoods, which capture toxic carbon dioxide emissions at record breaking rates, Israel protects the world from terrorists that want to poison any nation that stands for democracy.  Their defenses are top notch.  Their latest weapons, such as David’s Sling, are state of the art, and capable of warding off the evil insect nations.  Of course, God is their greatest weapon and defender.

I know it’s strange. Israel is the size of Delaware and I’m comparing them to massive 300 foot trees.  You see, I’m talking about the size of their resilience, their strength and their God.   Remember when I said there is a lot of water inside the trunk of a Redwood tree to protect it from fire?  Well, guess who Israel’s “living water” is?- Jesus Christ!  Not all of them know it yet, but I assure you, Jesus is working on their behalf to bring this plan into fruition.  The Lord never gave up on the Jews.  Right now the Redwoods sit on only 5% of the land they once had. Israel sits on just a small portion of their ancient land right now.  Their inheritance, according to God, is much larger.  But make no mistake, God is preparing to restore their full allotment of land.  He’s preparing to restore the whole world- Jew and Gentile. One day, the Jew and Gentile will intertwine their roots and stand together in the most beautiful forest you’ve ever seen. It will be the full dwelling place of God.

Go see the Redwoods one day and you will understand just how amazing these trees are. Perhaps it will remind you that God’s plan is bigger in breadth and depth than any fantastic display of nature. God is in the handiwork, reminding us to stand together as his people, helping him accomplish an awe inspiring plan.  Reach out your roots America- reach out Christians- hold hands Jew and Gentile- it’s time for the one new man – the biggest forest of Redwoods to hit planet Earth!!!

 

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