Teaching at the Tree is communicated in a practical, easy to understand way that is relevant to your everyday life. It’s not religious jargon, just the truth of God’s word presented in a loving and challenging way.
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Title: There Is No One Like God
1 Samuel 2:1-2 (ESV)
And Hannah prayed and said,
“My heart exults in the Lord;
my horn is exalted in the Lord.
My mouth derides my enemies,
because I rejoice in your salvation.
“There is none holy like the Lord:
for there is none besides you;
there is no rock like our God.
This passage is a song of prayer in response to God answering Hannah’s prayer for a son. She had been barren and desired a child desperately, and after much heartfelt prayer, God responds by giving her Samuel, who would grow to be a prophet and Israel’s last judge (leader).
Her response is notable because of how she recognizes God in her situation. She knew that God is the one who blessed her with the son, and she responds in praise. She says that He is savior, and there is “none holy like Yahweh.” The word holy means set apart, but Hannah goes on to exclaim that there is none beside Him. What she is so proudly exclaiming is that there is none other on par with God…in His power, His mercy, His care, His judgment, and His justice. God stands above and beyond anything else. And because of that, He is her salvation and her foundation (bedrock, unmovable, stable).
Prayer Prompts: These are simple prompts to help you get started praying today.
Devo Plus: If you would like to look at this topic in more detail, here are some more passages you may want to look at: Isaiah 6:1-7, Colossians 1:15-23
Watch this explanation of holiness by the Bible Project (Click Here To Watch)
Title: God is Eternal
Psalm 90:1-4 (ESV)
Lord, you have been our dwelling place
in all generations.
Before the mountains were brought forth,
or ever you had formed the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
You return man to dust
and say, “Return, O children of man!”
For a thousand years in your sight
are but as yesterday when it is past,
or as a watch in the night.
The psalmist starts this song by contrasting the shortness of man’s life versus the eternality of God. He uses a few different images to illustrate his point. He starts by speaking of God’s presence with ALL the generations…God has been the refuge of them all. Then he moves on to creation. Mountains carry this imagery of lasting and unchanging. They are solid and immovable. Yet God was before them. And then he takes it one step further and says that before, and he uses the word “you,” created the earth and the world, you were there. The psalmist wants it known through this song of worship that God is the eternal God who created everything, and we, in contrast, are but dust. The truth of God’s eternality is meant to elicit in us a response of greater trust in God’s wisdom for our lives.
Prayer Prompts: These are simple prompts to help you get started praying today.
Devo Plus: If you would like to look at this topic in more detail, here are some more passages you may want to look at: Genesis 1:1-2:3, Exodus 3:13-15
Title: God is Transcendent
Romans 11:33-36 (ESV)
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
“For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?”
“Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?”
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
President Thomas Jefferson would often use the statement, “knowledge is power” in several of his writings. He could see, even from his human perspective, that knowledge often equated to power. It’s often believed that the more knowledge someone has, the more powerful they truly are. This is somewhat of an incomplete thought because it rules out some other extenuating factors; however, there is great truth to this thought. Often, the more knowledge someone has, the more influence they have in a situation.
If this works on a human level, then what can be said of God? Today’s reading communicates that the mind of God is far superior than that of any human. First Corinthians 3:19 words it this way, “The wisdom of the world is foolishness to God (NLT).” No man can outwit, outthink, outdo God with his knowledge. Man must remember it was God who created the mind in the first place, and along with it, He created knowledge. He is the source of knowledge (Proverbs 2:6), and without His knowledge we would be knowledge-less. With this understanding, we can recognize that if “knowledge is power,” then God is by far the most powerful of all.
Lord Jesus, please forgive me for the times when I trust in my own knowledge more than You. Thank You for giving me permission to ask You for knowledge and wisdom. Help me to walk in your wisdom each and every day.
Additional scriptures for meditation and study: Proverbs 2:6-8; Isaiah 55:8-9
God: Nothing Like Us But Everything For Us
Author: Mary Johnson
Have you ever had a situation where you needed more information to make a decision or solve a problem? Just last night, at dinner, our oldest son was talking about his geometry homework. Over the course of the conversation, Matthew and I said that we thought we would probably be able to still figure out the answers to the problems, even though it had been years since we’ve done geometry. Later in the evening, after Cole had already completed the assignment, he brought his paper in for us to try to solve. We were both humbled. We couldn’t do it. We just needed a little more information, or a refresher course, for us to be able to figure out the answers. In that moment, I was thankful that I didn’t have a geometry assignment to turn in the next day! Cole knew the information that he needed and had been able to correctly figure out the answers. It made sense to him.
God not only has all the geometry information, but He has all the information about everything that we experience in life. He has the right perspective, He is all-knowing, He is all-powerful, He is all-present. I think one of the hardest but best things about Christianity is that God is so different than who we are as people. Yet, what’s also difficult to understand is that God understands us better than anyone else could. Those two concepts seem competing but actually go together beautifully. We serve a God who is nothing like us, but fully understanding of us. When I think about it, this is actually comforting to me. I don’t want to serve a God who is surprised by what I’m facing, or who has to “figure out a solution” for me. I am lacking. I need guidance outside of myself, I need wisdom outside of myself, I need perspective outside of myself, I need direction outside of myself. God is all of those things. This is good news!
Lately, I’ve been going through a variety of issues that have me puzzled. Sometimes it feels like there are no specific solutions to these issues. It’s been difficult for me to even see the reason why these situations would be happening to me. I fully trust that God has a plan, but as I’m walking through these issues, I’m puzzled, and if I’m honest, frustrated at times. It’s in times like these I’m having to remind myself of the nature of God, and rest in the knowledge that He knows more than me. This can be difficult, but it’s also a truth that brings comfort and peace.
This week, let’s:
Title: God is Ever-Present
Psalm 139:7-12 (ESV)
Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.
Kind David is continuing the psalm we read yesterday. As he begins this portion, he is pointing out the fact that there is absolutely nowhere we can go where God is not present. He is at all places at all times. He is in heaven, in space, on the earth…everywhere, always. The writer recognizes this. He uses different imagery to really get his point across. Even in the deepest parts of the sea, God is still there. In the darkness, God is there. King David realizes even if he tried to “run away” or hide from God, he couldn’t, because God is everywhere.
Even in those seasons when God feels distant, or we feel as though He isn’t moving, we can be confident that He is still there, whether or not we see it or feel it. The darkness may be surrounding us, but even in that place God is present, shining His light into it. We may not be able to see God, and we may have seasons when He feels distant, but we can walk in confidence, knowing He is an ever-present God who is all places at all times.
Take some time to reflect and thank God that He is always present in your life. If God feels distant right now, take some time to ask Him to reveal Himself to you in the place where you need Him.
Devo Plus: Jeremiah 23:23-24, Proverbs 15:3