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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Century or Centuries (02/17/11)

TITLE: The "Arz el-Rab" (Cedars of God)
By Helen Curtis


Two thousand feet above sea level, on the face of the Jabal Makmel slopes,
The “Arz el-Rab,” or “Cedars of God" stand.
Majestic. Centuries old.
And to this day,
They stand.

Their robust trunks thickened and developed through time.
Slow and steadfast, strong and enduring,
They stand.

Through a millennium of seasons,
Scorching summers, cooling autumns,
Freezing winters, rejuvenating springs,
They have not waned; their branches remain lush and verdant.
Reliant on the bedrock in which their roots are permanently encased,
They stand.

How is it that they have lasted so long, outliving so many others of their kind?
What unique strength runs through their fibres, giving them the ability to stand firm for so long?

Could it be that there is more to the name “Arz el-Rab” than just a mere title?

Has this stand of magnificent forest been tended to by the hand of God himself?

If so, why? For what purpose?

Perhaps, in His omniscient wisdom, God our Father has kept them as a testament to us, his children, to encourage us and remind us that His promises can be trusted; as a symbol of the strength we can find in our rock, Jesus Christ: as a living example of Psalm 92,

The righteous will flourish like a palm tree,
they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon;
planted in the house of the LORD,
they will flourish in the courts of our God.
They will still bear fruit in old age,
they will stay fresh and green,
proclaiming, “The LORD is upright;
he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.”

Such wonderful words spoken by the Psalmist, and so beautifully illustrated by Jehovah; and isn’t it just like him to use the things of His creation to manifest his promises.

Thinking back through my life, I do believe I have met, and indeed still know God-centered saints on earth who embody the very characteristics of the centuries-old Arz el-Rab described by Psalm 92.

They are the stalwarts of the Kingdom. Often unrecogniseable among the flock, they consitently abide on the mountain of the Lord, their souls’ roots securely and unwaveringly intertwined with the Rock, their one and only source of strength and longevity, Jesus Christ.

And they stand!

Seasons come and go.

The harsh times, taking them to the outer limits of their faith in their Rock.

And they stand.

The bitterly cold weeks on end where their spirits are numbed to the presence of their God.

Still, they stand.

The balmy comfortable times in between where they can just ‘be.’

Yes, through them all, these “cedars of Lebanon” flourish and grow.

And they stand.

Their faith is ageless, their existence only for the glorification of their God. For it is in Him that they have their longevity, and for Him that they go through each and every trial.

So they can stand.

Ever taller.

Ever stronger.

Ever a testament to the grace, mercy and life-giving blood of Christ who is their source of existence.

By the grace of God, may I be called one of God’s “Arz el-Rab”, a Cedar of Lebanon who withstands the pressures of time.



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This article has been read 618 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Bonnie Bowden 02/24/11
Very informative and well-written.
Rachel Dorsey02/24/11

I really liked this entry.

I felt this was an "unique" approach in writing style. Almost a mix of poetry and prose/devotional.

I enjoyed this so much!
Michael Throne03/01/11
I really liked this piece. It’s different than most that I’ve seen. I liked the refrain (they stand), and the analogy to God’s people. I also enjoyed the smooth flow of the work and its unusual structure. Well done!
diana kay03/02/11
clever and i presume this is set in Israel.I too chose to take a psalm and develop it and set my story on the slops of a mountain in Israel:-) love the description and you give a real feeling of longevity and permancy in this writing
Sara Harricharan 03/02/11
Ah, unique perspective and a good message too. I am always amazed at those giant trees who stand tall in the midst of everything. Good reminder for us to do the same.
Charla Diehl 03/02/11
Very nicely done. I like the way you tied scripture into this message, using God's creation as your jumping board. The cedars in Lebanon sound much like the giant redwoods in California. Still standing after centuries--and amazingly awesome. Miracles.
Bonnie Bowden 03/03/11
I am so glad you won the challenge this week! It was my favorite piece. I am also glad you won 4th place on EC.

Maybe, some day I will be joining you.
diana kay03/03/11
congrats you are clearly misplaced in the "beginners" move on up :-) this was one of my favorite pieces as well!
Henry Clemmons03/07/11
I am sorry I could not get to this piece of art before now. This is so anointed, powerful, the last third actually gave me goosebumps and I couldn't finish reading it aloud. Focused, anointed skills and a voice with purpose. It's like your words were marching. This is beyond deserving of an EC. Excellent. You inspired me.