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