The Fires Of Life

The LORD called your name, Green Olive Tree, Lovely and of Good Fruit. With the noise of a great tumult He has kindled fire on it, And its branches are broken.
— Jeremiah 11:16 NKJV

The Father describes His people in various ways: a nation, an army, sheep—even trees. This tree comparison carries a variety of meanings. One can plant a tree as a seed that goes into the ground. In order for that seed to become a tree, its lifeforce must break out of its shell under pressure and grow up through the soil. Trees have roots, and their roots never stop growing; they keep going deeper and deeper. As a tree matures, fruit appears on its branches, providing good eating either for humans or for animals and insects. Broken branches are worthless because they can’t fulfill their purpose, which is to bear fruit. A broken branch is a barren branch.

The Father reminded His people about their journey; where He brought them from. It was during a time of great oppression in their lives, with no light in sight, when they were taken advantage of and enslaved to a system where their labor caused their masters to increase while they themselves became poorer. These were years of great toil, but they never enjoyed the harvest. They were pilgrims and strangers in a foreign land, and hope gradually faded away from their eyes and their hearts because of the harsh severity of their treatment. Throughout it all, however, the Father never abandoned them but saw their plight, heard their cries, and had compassion on them. In the fullness of time, which was many years in the making, deliverance came in the form of a man and leader named Moses.

Moses led those people by declaring to them the promises of the Father. It was indeed a singular message, for the Father was loud and clear: "I am the God of your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I will give you a land flowing with milk and honey.” This was a land of complete abundance. Everything that grew there came up doubled, tripled or quadrupled in size. As the second generation entered the land, however, they soon became complacent with their relationship with the Father and fell into following the idol worshiping ways of the surrounding nations. They forgot the Father’s ways and sinned against Him.

The Father raised up His servants, the prophets as His voice among the people, urging them continuously to return to Him. But deep in the trenches of unbelief, disobedience, and sin they continued to deviate from the Father’s purposes! They had been a beautiful tree, delightful to see, that produced good fruit. Set in the midst of a people who did not know the Father, they were to represent Him as an attraction to all. The rule, reign, power, and authority of the Father were with them. However, by the power of their own rebellious choice, they decided to walk away from Him.

It’s no different in our present day. Many people come to know the Father and delight in His purposes for a while, but then fall into deception and are led away by a false wind of doctrine. Assuming that they still have the Father, they return to living by the standards and ways of the world. The Holy Spirit, who is a great friend, comes as the mighty Convictor to remind people of their need to repent and return to the Father. Pride and arrogance continue to blind many, who respond by saying, “Tomorrow is another day. I’ll do it then.” The Father will send His holy, cleansing fire to consume sin and iniquity. It will burn up everything that represents the world. The branches that took such a long time to grow will be nothing but ash. What took years to grow will have to start again.

Our choice should never be to become broken branches but, rather, pruned branches. There is a tree of life, and His name is Jesus Christ. He is the vine that is the life of the Spirit, and we are the branches that bear the fruit of the Spirit as long as we remain attached to the vine. The Father, the Master Gardener, comes to see how we are producing, and whatever does not produce, He prunes! It is a travesty to reach the place where His voice becomes dull to us and we are broken off as branches. Remaining in a place of deep humility in Him is a fragrant aroma to Him.