Is there a powerful lesson of the acacia? And if there is, what does that have to do with borrowed beauty? Maybe the second question is the easy one. The acacia tree probably wouldn’t make the top 10 list of the world’s most beautiful trees! But hang with me. There really is a profound lesson to learn and it’s beauty is truly beyond our comprehension.
Powerful Lesson Of The Acacia
As you know, a great deal of study goes into writing materials for our Pastor Training School. Added to that is pastoral study for preaching and teaching. That is how I ran across an article about acacia trees. And for this lesson, a portion of one paragraph is quoted below (HERE is the link to the ful article if you’d like to see it). Here’s the quote:
[Acacia] …wood is resistant to decay because the tree deposits in the heartwood many waste substances which are preservatives and render the wood unpalatable to insects making the wood dense and difficult to be penetrated by water and other decay agents.
Now, what do you recall about acacia wood from Bible study and/or sermons? Let me direct you to Exodus 25. God gave Moses very specific instruction for building the Tabernacle and everything it contained. The people were to bring offerings for the construction. And according to Exodus 35:24, one of the things they could bring was acacia wood.
I grew up in Texas. And what I read about the acacia tree reminded me of mesquite trees. East Texas has a variety of large trees. But around Dallas and Ft. Worth, things are in transition to the more arid regions of the state. That’s where the mesquite trees begin to show up. And the further west you go, the more of them you see! That’s the way it was in the Sinai wilderness. Those acacia trees dominated the landscape. Hold that thought!
Acacia: We Are In The Story
You and I didn’t contribute to the Tabernacle. But we are represented in the account. The Word of God is living and powerful. And if we look on the surface, we see people being obedient to God’s commands and we should follow that example. But look a little deeper. Always try to find yourself in the Biblical account. You won’t succeed every time, but when you do there are lessons to be learned and blessings to be had. Let me give you an example.
Where are you in the account of Noah and the Ark? If all you see is God starting over with humanity after sending righteous judgment on sinners then you just got the surface view. If we look deeper we see a foreshadowing of New Testament truth. Noah was in the Ark and carried safely through God’s judgment. We are in that account as Noah and his family. Christ is our Ark. We are not appointed to judgment! We are in Christ and carried safely through the judgment to live with Him for eternity.
In all the preparations for the Tabernacle, identify yourself with that acacia wood.
Lesson: Separated To The Lord
There was a natural abundance of acacia trees. But only a fraction of that wood was given to the Lord. Is that not how it is with humanity? Scripture teaches us of the wide gate and broad path that leads to destruction and the vast number of people who follow that path. Conversely, there is a narrow gate and a straight path that leads to life but few find it.
And then there is God’s call for His people to come out from among those of the world and be holy (II Corinthians 6:17). That means we are segregated for use by God for His purposes. There was a wilderness full of trees, but only a small portion of wood was used for God’s glorious purpose: The Tabernacle (see Exodus 25:8-9).
Borrowed Beauty: Powerful Lesson
The Tabernacle was to be the place where God’s presence was manifested. Sinful Man is physical but God is Spirit. And God did make His presence known among His people through that Tabernacle. But it was also the place for the forgiveness of sins. At the center of the Tabernacle was the Holy Of Holies. And inside was the Ark Of The Covenant. It was also made of acacia wood. This is about to get exciting!
On the lid of the Ark were two Cherubim and each was facing the mercy seat. This is where the High Priest would sprinkle the blood of the spotless lamb and the peoples’ sins would be forgiven – until the same ceremony the following year.
That was another foreshadowing of New Testament truth. And I’m sure you saw Christ in those events. He is our Spotless Lamb. But you can also see yourself – and you should!
The quote I shared mentioned the waste substances deep within the acacia wood. That’s us. The heart of man is deceitful above all things. We are sinful through and through and we are dead in our trespasses and sins. And speaking of our sins… The curse of sin brought thorns into the world (Genesis 3:17-18). And that’s exactly what we can find on the acacia tree. You see, the longer we look the more we see ourselves!
The choice of words in the title is very intentional. We usually think in terms of hidden beauty rather than borrowed beauty. Here’s how that works. What did God tell Moses to do to the acacia wood? He was to cover it with gold. Moses took the common, ordinary, waste-filled wood and covered it completely!
And that is exactly what has happened to every believer. We are in Christ (Ephesians 1). His blood completely covers us and we are fully hidden in Him. Scripture says we are bought with the precious blood of Christ. And don’t we describe gold as a precious metal? Think about it. Christ is so precious and beautiful that I can’t begin to fathom it this side of heaven. Yet, out of His great love, He covers us with His beauty – because we don’t have any of our own. For the ashes of our broken lives, He gives us the beauty of joy in Him (Isaiah 61:3).
Soli Deo Gloria!
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