Zechariah was a prophet to the remnant who returned to their land after the 70 year captivity. Through Zechariah’s eight visions of the night God discloses how Israel’s foes will be destroyed, her idols removed, her city and Temple restored, and her Messiah revealed. Haggai and Zechariah labored together as prophets in the rebuilding of the temple, and tradition tells us they were buried in the same grave. In the first four chapters of Zechariah four different trees are mentioned. The first tree found is the Myrtle tree (1:10-11).
In Scripture the myrtle tree is always seen as a picture or sign of the millennial blessing for Israel. The branches of the Myrtle tree were used in the construction of the booths during the feast of tabernacles, which was a feast looking forward to the Millennium (Neh. 8:15). While speaking of the millennial kingdom Isaiah prophesied, “…instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree…(Is. 55:13).”
There are many unique patterns that form in the grain of the myrtle. Myrtle trees grow slowly, and the struggle or stress during the growth of the tree causes the patterns and unique figurations. When seen on a hill or in a pasture the mature myrtle is so symmetrical it would seem to be a carefully pruned, cultivated tree. As believers, we are going to face many struggles and encounter many long days that will seem as though God is silent. God is never late, inactive or not working. His “silence” means He is working in ways that cannot be seen in and around you. Like the myrtle, the final product will be one of maturity and beauty. All believers who have endured hardships, followed Christ, or have been through the pruning process have a Christ-likeness that those who have missed out on these “growing pains” do not possess.
I would like to start by thanking all the men and women who are currently giving all they have in order to protect our freedoms in the armed services. I would also like to say “Thank you” to all the family members who have lost loved ones while serving our country.
It is unclear where exactly this tradition originated; numerous different communities may have independently initiated the memorial gatherings. “Nevertheless, in 1966 the federal government declared Waterloo, New York, the official birthplace of Memorial Day. Waterloo—which had first celebrated the day on May 5, 1866—was chosen because it hosted an annual, community-wide event, during which businesses closed and residents decorated the graves of soldiers with flowers and flags. On May 5, 1862, General John A. Logan, leader of an organization for Northern Civil War veterans, called for a nationwide day of remembrance later that month and named it Decoration Day. Many Northern states held similar commemorative events and reprised the tradition in subsequent years; by 1890 each one had made Decoration Day an official state holiday. Many Southern states, on the other hand, continued to honor their dead on separate days until after World War I.
Yesterday was a day of remembrance. In Luke 17:32 Christ called his listeners to a memorial as well. A remembrance, not of heroics but of a mistake. Jesus said, “Remember Lots wife.” There is nothing this world has to offer that should draw our attention away from Christ. Nothing that we possess should be able to hold us back from going forward in our service for God. Lots wife had a strong affection and love for the things her world had to offer, so much so, it cost her her life. How about you? May our life reflect the words of the great missionary Jim Elliott: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”