Father's Day: The Tamarisk Tree

Audio from Senior Pastor Vaughn Drawdy on Sunday morning June 16th, 2019.

These sermon notes are made available through the YouVersion free Bible app.

When you read the Bible you find that it has a great deal to say about fathers. You will find many teachings, many instructions and many words of wisdom for guidance.

One particular action done by a father has recently struck me and has had a powerful effect on me.

Genesis 21:33 NIV

33 Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba, and there he called on the name of the Lord, the Eternal God.

Before we can really understand Abraham's motives for planting a tree, we need to hear the back story.

Genesis 12:1-9

Genesis 12:1-9 NIV

1 The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. 2 “I will make you into a great nation,and I will bless you;I will make your name great,and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you,and whoever curses you I will curse;and all peoples on earthwill be blessed through you.” 4 So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran. 5 He took his wife Sarai, his nephew Lot, all the possessions they had accumulated and the people they had acquired in Harran, and they set out for the land of Canaan, and they arrived there. 6 Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land. 7 The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him. 8 From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord. 9 Then Abram set out and continued toward the Negev.

Abram(ham) went to Egypt for a while during a great famine but later returned with Lot his nephew. They had to part because of how large their flocks were growing then:

Genesis 13:14-18

Genesis 13:14-18 NIV

14 The Lord said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, “Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west. 15 All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever. 16 I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. 17 Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you.” 18 So Abram went to live near the great trees of Mamre at Hebron, where he pitched his tents. There he built an altar to the Lord.

So let's kinda summarize:

God makes a covenant with Abraham

God gives Abraham land.

Abraham plants a tree.

This is an important fact because it reveals that Abraham truly trusted in God and His provision. His faith was revealed in his action. He just didn’t say he believed, he responded in God’s goodness by passing on the blessing to future generations. To better understand this, we have to investigate the tamarisk tree.

What are the interesting characteristics about the tamarisk tree that set it off from other trees? Why would you plant one in the desert?

It appears that Abraham did not simply plant any tree upon arriving in Beersheba. He planted special tree to bring comfort and relief to the one who would live in the harsh desert environment. To a Bedouin or a Jew of the Middle East, the saying is this, “you don’t plant a tamarisk tree for yourself, you plant it for your grandchildren to enjoy”.

So what is Abraham saying in planting this tree?

>God, I so totally believe you, I’m going to plant a tree…even though I don’t have a place to bury my wife…or for me to be buried!

>This is my land and for generations to come, my family is going to be here.

>I’m going to plant a tree my grandkids will sit under because this will be our land!

As we think about Abraham’s blessing of planting a tamarisk tree for his offspring, we have to ask ourselves the question,

How much of what we do in life is done for just ourselves? Our comfort, our profit, our satisfaction?

Do we do anything to bless or plant a seed for the generations that are to come?

Is there anything that you are currently involved in that will outlive you?

We need to plant seeds of faith. A Godly heritage of walking with God is greater than any earthly possession.

Fathers, you are called to be the spiritual leader in the family. You, dad, set the spiritual direction of your family.

I have found that if a father walks with God, most likely his wife and children do as well. Let Jesus Christ be the center of your life and plant seeds of faith… your family needs to:

>Hear you pray, see you pray.

Life is full of challenges, struggles, desert places. Your children need you to plant seeds of “How you deal with these moments.” This conveys to them your dependance on God. It instills hope and security. It shows them that you know how to step out of the heat of the daily challenges, the issues of the day and take refuge.

>They need to see you and hear you worship God,

>They need to see you and hear you read the Bible.

>They need to see you and hear you be compassionate and share God’s love with others.

>They need to be part of your walk with God. They need to see you walking “in step” with the Bible.

>They need to be recipients of the fruit that comes from God through your life: See Galatians 5:22-25

Galatians 5:22-25 NIV

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

Walking “in step” with God is like this… we open our eyes to His Word, learn His ways, we see how walk in step and align ourselves to it, making corrections along the way, we rely on the Holy Spirit to guide us, nudge us in place… the Church is important in this as well, we are encouraged and strengthened as we watch how other believers walk in faith, aligning themselves to God’s word and ways. We listen as well, we listen to the Word, to the voices of men and women who help, admonish, and challenge. Sometimes even nudge us to WALK in step with God as they walk with God…

Abraham knew the harshness of the desert climate. He knew that other generations would have to face the same heat, trials and desert challenges. So he planted the tamarisk tree to bless them and give them some relief.

What are you planting, growing and working on that will help and bless your family for generations to come?

Repent if needed, pray and respond. God empowers you, as you put your faith in Him. Go plant your Tamarisk tree.