There is one plant in my home that has survived nearly ten years. When people come in to my home they are amazed that it stands nearly seven feet tall. However, it’s had its moments over the years becoming so large that we’ve had difficulty finding the right post, having to break away some leaves that were dying as well as cutting pieces away to replant and give away. We brought this plant home with us when my mother died and it comforts me to think that it is her spirit that nourishes the main stalk by which all the other stalks and leaves are being nourished. Of course regular attention to its needs are important. I have my husband to thank for that. Its prominent place in my living room reminds me of the true vine of Christ and the relationship we have with that truth. Any part of us that negatively affects that relationship is broken away and any part of us that flourishes deserves to be shared. As we continually nourish ourselves with the Word of God we are strengthened as we prominently take our place in God’s kingdom. When others see us standing tall ready and willing to be pruned, they wonder not knowing our full story and yet are amazed. If they ask, we have only simply to say “It’s the spirit of God that abides in me.”
‘I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine-grower. He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes* to make it bear more fruit…. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit… John 15:1-16
We know that King David is anointed by God in every physical way, yet he becomes a bit over- zealous in his rise to the throne, and in 2 Samuel we find he is now wanting to build a house for the ark of God which at the time merely dwelled in a tent. David didn’t want to build any house but a house of cedar as elaborate as his won. Cedar is an aromatic wood that is found in varieties all around the world. Perhaps primarily due to its fragrance, cedar was known to the ancient Israelites in their places and practices of worship. Apparently, this was David’s idea of bringing God’s standard of living up to meet his own. What I find amusing and which brings me back to my own self-perceived rise, was God’s “child please!” response to David’s newly self-proclaimed status and place in God’s plan for his people. Perhaps David believed, that he somehow had been elevated to a place of glory that was higher than God! I believe this is one of David’s first real encounters with the physical, which can be seen (a beautiful dwelling place), challenging the spirit of God (measure of faith) that was within him. I believe what David and we particularly today, quickly forget, is that the tabernacle and tent are physical reminders of God’s presence. His spirit makes its dwelling place in the heart of those who believe in him as he did with David, and us also, who in turn responds according to God’s spirit. Can you imagine the Israelites carrying around a house of cedar? Is it even possible for us today to build walls to hold the spirit of God?