The oldest tree in North America lives in California and is about 4,676 years old. It’s name is Methusala–ironically named after the oldest person mentioned in the Bible who lived to be 969 years old. It is a Bristlecone Pine Tree, which on average live to be a 1,000 years old. (I’m not here to argue the scientific data or even how the researchers arrive at such data, so save that for a botany blog). To me it seems Methusala is a tree filled with wisdom…I tried to find a photo of him for you, but you can’t. There aren’t any photos to protect his identity–no joke. He’s bigger than Brad Pitt.
To survive that long, Methusala, the tree, must be wise in all things. The Word says: Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding? Job 12:12 I know that he has grown slowly and steadfast over the years. Perhaps an inch a year, and only 1/100th of an inch in it ‘s girth (or around). Glad I don’t grow 1/100th of an inch around every year–or perhaps I do, we’ll see in another 20 years or so.
Regardless of the destiny of my girth, this huge tree has survived fires, hurricanes, earthquakes, the birth, crucifixion and resurrection of our Savior. It has figured out how to survive the elements of the earth, and it seems that God has created it to be wise and steadfast. It seems God has created us for the same. The Bible touches on the subject of wisdom over 200 times. But wisdom isn’t some illusive achievement found only in old age. It is found in difficulties, perseverance, and faith. And God even tells us exactly what wisdom is:
And he said to the human race,
“The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom,
and to shun evil is understanding.” Job 28:28
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;
all who follow his precepts have good understanding.
To him belongs eternal praise Psalm 111:10
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. Proverbs 9:10
Wisdom’s instruction is to fear the LORD,
and humility comes before honor. Proverbs 15:33
It is the fear of the Lord that gives us wisdom. Not human wisdom, but the type of wisdom that will lead us in righteousness. Wisdom will protect us from sexual immorality (Proverbs 2:16) , it protects from wickedness (proverbs 2:12) it will allow us to do great miracles (Mark 6:2) it reveals God’s power (I Corinthians 2:5), it protects us from our enemies (Luke 21:15) and trumps all other plans in the entire world (Proverbs 21:30) and it is where your future and your hope is (Proverbs 24:24) .
Wisdom is truly the answer to whatever issue you are facing, whatever hurt you have in your heart, whatever temptation you are trying to overcome. Fearing the Lord is the answer. Fear does not mean “afraid or scared” fear means honor and revere. It means placing God in your life at the center, being in awe of what he has done in this world, and living in great anticipation of his power and greatness. Fearing the Lord means knowing that HE IS GOD.
When we accept that, we become obedient to his commands and heed his Word. We are then covered by his love, grace and mercy. And we are able to hear his still small voice and experience his authority over our lives and all of the earth.
It is that wisdom that allows us, like Methusalah the tree, to endure all weather and erosion. It allows us to live steadfast lives, without worry, rush or fear. The fear of the Lord is the wisdom we search for in books, and movies, other religions, relationships. Choose to fear the Lord, and in that choice, you will find blessing.
Blessed are those who find wisdom,
those who gain understanding, Proverbs 3:13
One researcher says that a Bristlecone, like Methusala, can survive on his own, if only respected. But I propose that the only way a Bristlecone, or you and me remain steadfast is by gaining wisdom by the fear of the Lord.
How are you living your life in the fear of the Lord–in wisdom ? And how do you depend on that wisdom to bring you through the hard times in life? Comment, let me know your thoughts.