Take Hold of ‘Tree of Life’

Yael Eckstein  |  December 18, 2020

Photo Friday: For Man Is the Tree of the Field

She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her;
     those who hold her fast will be blessed.
— Proverbs 3:18

This month, we’ll continue with devotional thoughts from the Book of Proverbs on Friday. One of the 11 books in the Torah known as the Ketuvim, Hebrew for “writings,” Proverbs is part of the “wisdom tradition,” which also includes Job and Ecclesiastes. Enjoy!

If you follow our daily devotionals, you already know that in Jewish observance, we read a different portion of the Torah in the synagogue every Shabbat so that we complete the Five Books of Moses annually. However, the Torah is also read in synagogues on Monday and Thursday of every week. This tradition has its roots in the Bible itself.

After the parting of the Red Sea in the Book of Exodus, the Israelites traveled in the desert for three days without any water. Scripture tells us that when they did find water, it was bitter, and they could not drink it. Yet, the Jewish sages explained that it wasn’t the water that was bitter — it was the people! Consequently, the taste of the water was colored by their attitude.

In Exodus 15:25, we learn that in order to rectify the situation, God instructed Moses to cast a piece of wood into the water. The wood sweetened the water and the people were able to quench their thirst.

Hold on to Tree of Life

While on the surface, this might seem like a strange magic trick, the Jewish sages explained that the wood was symbolic of the Torah, which is “a tree of life.” The cause of the Israelite’s bitterness was that they had gone not only three days without water, but also three days without studying the Torah (which existed as an oral tradition passed down since Abraham’s times). The solution was for Moses to inspire the nation with the Word of God, eliminating their bitterness, and allowing them to experience the water as sweet.

Ever since that time, the Jewish people never go more than three days without reading the Torah. God’s Word is our lifeline. It is our “tree of life” that sweetens our lives. It enables us to deal with life’s challenges gracefully and experience God’s blessings joyfully.

In Proverbs we read, “She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her; those who hold her fast will be blessed.” We need to hold on to the “tree of life.”  When we hold onto God’s Word, it holds us up. It takes away our bitterness and sweetens our lives.

When things get rough, don’t become bitter; instead, open up the Bible and things will soon seem better.

Your Turn:

How do you make Bible study a regular part of your life?

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