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27 Zion shall be redeemed by justice,
and those in her who repent, by righteousness.
28 But rebels and sinners shall be destroyed together,
and those who forsake the Lord shall be consumed.
29 For you shall be ashamed of the oaks
in which you delighted;
and you shall blush for the gardens
that you have chosen.
This is not an article about the seventeen year old Greta Thunberg, the Swedish climate change activist. In fact, I highly admire this TIME magazine person of the year because she is a high functioning person on the autism spectrum and amazing young woman.
The title of this article comes from the practice of worshiping trees by the Israelites of Isaiah’s day. In his day, certain trees were associated with a fertility religion of the region. Water, healthy livestock, and good crops were essential to life, then as now. The Israelites trusted God, but in case he was not willing to help, they also served the fertility gods of their region.
We become like the God or gods whom we serve. False worship leads to the oppression of the vulnerable, as is made very clear in Isaiah and in Jesus’ message. People who forsake the true and only God, need to change their minds (repent) and begin living with justice and righteousness.
If we do not want to lumped with people who worship a tree, instead of the God who makes trees, we need to examine our lives. What do we think we need in our lives that we are unwilling to trust God to give us? How does our deep commitment to get what we want affect our families, children, friends, work associates and the vulnerable?
Dear God, please reveal to me any way that my own best thinking has deceived me into worshiping and serving anything less than you. Please grant me the faith to trust you and you alone for all of my needs.
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