Parable of the Tree and the Storm Part 3
Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics

Authored By  :
Bill Kochman

Published On :
September 16, 1999

Last Updated :
September 18, 2013

Purges And Chastisements Equal More Fruit, God's Desire Is To Heal And Not To Destroy, Spring Back To Life, Comforting Our Brethren, Light At The End Of The Tunnel, God's Mercy, Peace With God Through Jesus Christ, There Is Healing In His Wings, Spiritual Flexibility, Maintain Childlike Faith, Treasures Of God's Word, New Wine Must Be Put In New Bottles, Importance Of Remaining Sensitive To The Voice Of God's Holy Spirit

As I concluded in part two, due to our sinful and sometimes rebellious nature, Divine Chastisement is a necessary part of our Christian growth process. While we may not like the Lord dealing in our lives, and while it may not make us feel very good to be the object of His fiery purges, and may even hurt our pride, the Lord certainly knows what is best for us and for His Kingdom. Where the real danger lies, is when we become such unfruitful branches, that the Lord decides that it is no longer worthwhile to purge us. Instead, He chooses to cast us away. Better it is to be purged and purified in the fires of Divine Chastisement, so that we will bear more fruit for the Kingdom of God. Allow me to share with you a few more verses regarding this topic:

"Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit . . . If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned."
John 15:1, 6, KJV

"He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down."
Luke 13:6-9, KJV

"If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire."
1 Corinthians 3:14-15, KJV

"And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed."
Hebrews 12:5-13, KJV

"Open rebuke is better than secret love."
Proverbs 27:5, KJV

So clearly then, the purpose of Divine Chastisement is not to discourage us or to destroy us. Rather, it is to bring us to a point of repentance, and to purify us, in order that we might become more fruitful branches for God's Kingdom. Divine Chastisements are acts of Divine Love, and not demonstrations of God's hate as some worldly people seem to think who do not understand the ways of the Lord. In fact, we find a number of other verses in the Bible which clearly reveal that God does not wish to cast us off, or to destroy us. As we have seen, His clear desire is that we repent and be healed of our sin and rebellion. Consider the following Scriptural evidence:

"Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?"
Ezekiel 33:11, KJV

"For the Lord will not cast off for ever: But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies. For he doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men."
Lamentations 3:31-33, KJV

"Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost. How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish."
Matthew 18:10-14, KJV

"And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem, And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him. And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem. And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did? But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. And they went to another village."
Luke 9:51-56, KJV

"For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost."
Luke 19:10, KJV

"The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."
2 Peter 3:9, KJV

If you possess an interest in learning more about the Lord's loving chastisements, allow me to suggest that you consider reading such articles as "Are Personal Tragedies Due to Sin?", "Love, Mercy Forgiveness and Chastisement" and "Beholding the Evil and the Good".

As I mentioned in part two, while some branches may have been violently ripped from that majestic old tree during one of our severe storms, sooner or later, new branches eventually grew to replace those which had been lost. In spite of the powerful force of nature which battered it year after year, that tree was never completely destroyed. It always sprang back with a new burst of verdant life. It just could not be defeated. In similar fashion, after we Christians experience certain trials in our lives, in which God may have found it necessary to prune a few of our branches, we too can spring back to life if we maintain our focus on the Lord. Not only that, but having gone through our own battles, we can then offer words of encouragement, comfort and support to other brethren who may be experiencing trials similar to our own. Consider the following verses:

"Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God."
2 Corinthians 1:3-4, KJV

Sometimes, just letting a person know that there is light at the end of the tunnel, that there is definitely a way out of the trial, and that there is a sure victory to be had, will give them the faith that they need in order to weather the storm, and to persevere to the end. While God may be forced to afflict us on occasion in order to straighten us out, as we saw earlier, He is also a merciful God who understands our weak frame, and that we are just dust. As a result, His ultimate goal is not to destroy us. Rather, it is to bring about an attitude of repentance which will lead to healing. Following are some additional verses which reveal His great Mercy:

"And refused to obey, neither were mindful of thy wonders that thou didst among them; but hardened their necks, and in their rebellion appointed a captain to return to their bondage: but thou art a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and forsookest them not."
Nehemiah 9:17, KJV

"The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy. He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever. He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more. But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children; To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them."
Psalms 103:8-18, KJV

"The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy."
Psalms 145:8, KJV

"In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer."
Isaiah 54:8, KJV

"It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness."
Lamentations 3:22-23, KJV

"The LORD is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the LORD hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet."
Nahum 1:3, KJV

"And he prayed unto the LORD, and said, I pray thee, O LORD, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil."
Jonah 4:2, KJV

"And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the LORD your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil."
Joel 2:13, KJV

"All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."
John 6:37, KJV

"And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."
Ephesians 4:32, KJV

". . . for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."
Hebrews 13:5b, KJV

"Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you."
1 Peter 5:7, KJV

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
1 John 1:9, KJV

To reiterate, as a result of God's great Love and Mercy, there is always both spiritual and physical healing in His wings for those who sincerely cry out to Him in repentance. Of course, the most important part of the healing process is to have a restored relationship with our Heavenly Father. As you may know, this is in fact the primary reason why Jesus came to the Earth in the first place. His main objective was to restore a peaceful relationship between God the Father and His children on the Earth. This He did when He offered up Himself as the Perfect Sacrifice for our transgressions. This truth regarding peace with the Father is made evident by verses such as the following:

"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."
John 14:27, KJV

"These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."
John 16:33, KJV

"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:"
Romans 5:1, KJV

"But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father."
Ephesians 2:13-18, KJV

"And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:7, KJV

"For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:"
Colossians 1:19-22, KJV

While spiritual healing was obviously the most important aspect of Christ's mission to the Earth, a side benefit is that physical healing has also become available to us as well, if we believe. Following are some additional verses for your encouragement and thoughtful consideration. Please note that due to the fact that there are so many verses in the Scriptures regarding the topic of healing, I am not able to include them all here. However, these should suffice:

"So Abraham prayed unto God: and God healed Abimelech, and his wife, and his maidservants; and they bare children."
Genesis 20:17, KJV

"And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that healeth thee."
Exodus 15:26, KJV

"See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand."
Deuteronomy 32:39, KJV

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."
2 Chronicles 7:14, KJV

"And the LORD hearkened to Hezekiah, and healed the people."
2 Chronicles 30:20, KJV

"And he went forth unto the spring of the waters, and cast the salt in there, and said, Thus saith the LORD, I have healed these waters; there shall not be from thence any more death or barren land. So the waters were healed unto this day, according to the saying of Elisha which he spake."
2 Kings 2:21-22, KJV

"Turn again, and tell Hezekiah the captain of my people, Thus saith the LORD, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee: on the third day thou shalt go up unto the house of the LORD."
2 Kings 20:5, KJV

"O LORD my God, I cried unto thee, and thou hast healed me."
Psalms 30:2, KJV

"He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions."
Psalms 107:20, KJV

"And the LORD shall smite Egypt: he shall smite and heal it: and they shall return even to the LORD, and he shall be intreated of them, and shall heal them."
Isaiah 19:22, KJV

"But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed."
Isaiah 53:5, KJV

"I have seen his ways, and will heal him: I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him and to his mourners. I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the LORD; and I will heal him."
Isaiah 57:18-19, KJV

"Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings. Behold, we come unto thee; for thou art the LORD our God."
Jeremiah 3:22, KJV

"For I will restore health unto thee, and I will heal thee of thy wounds, saith the LORD; because they called thee an Outcast, saying, This is Zion, whom no man seeketh after."
Jeremiah 30:17, KJV

"Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up."
Hosea 6:1, KJV

"I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him."
Hosea 14:4, KJV

"But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall."
Malachi 4:2, KJV

"And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed . . . And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him . . . And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour."
Matthew 8:3, 7, 13, KJV

"So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes: and immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed him."
Matthew 20:34, KJV

"And he came and took her by the hand, and lifted her up; and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered unto them . . . And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed."
Mark 1:31, 42, KJV

"And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion."
Mark 2:12, KJV

"And straightway the damsel arose, and walked; for she was of the age of twelve years. And they were astonished with a great astonishment."
Mark 5:42, KJV

"And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain."
Mark 7:35, KJV

"And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way."
Mark 10:52, KJV

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,"
Luke 4:18, KJV

"Came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched . . . And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and falling down before him, she declared unto him before all the people for what cause she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately."
Luke 8:44, 47, KJV

"And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength."
Acts 3:7, KJV

"And Peter said unto him, Aeneas, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole: arise, and make thy bed. And he arose immediately."
Acts 9:34, KJV

"And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand."
Acts 13:11, KJV

"Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed."
Hebrews 12:12-13, KJV

"Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed."
1 Peter 2:24, KJV

But what about the times when God chooses not to heal? How should we react to this possibility? For those of you who may interested in learning more about this topic, I discuss this issue in the article entitled "Why Doesn't God Heal Me?".

As I explained in part two, one of the reasons why that tree was able to endure so many violent storms, is due to the fact that, similar to those fields of wheat which are blown by the prairie winds, it possessed a certain degree of flexibility in its branches. It is interesting to note that the younger tree branches are, the more tender and flexible they tend to be. In similar fashion, we Christians must likewise possess a certain degree of spiritual flexibility in our lives. While our faith must certainly grow and become strong, as I point out in the article entitled "The Faith of a Little Child", it must also remain childlike in nature. Consider the following story that is found in the Gospel of Luke:

"And they brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein."
Luke 18:15-17, KJV

This childlike flexibility in our faith is rather important when it concerns our desire to understand God's Word. If we don't possess this quality; if we behave as if we already know it all; or if we are so bound and blinded by the false doctrines and traditions of men, so that we resist the truth that God may be trying to reveal to us; we too may become spiritually damaged, and our spiritual growth may become stunted. In short, as I mentioned in part one, we all need to maintain an attitude of humility as we endeavor to grasp the meaning of the Scriptures. If we don't do this, we may become just like those dry, brittle, old branches which are so rigid, that they easily snap off when the strong winds of adversity and persecution begin to buffet the tree. If this is the case in your life, allow me to remind you that it is those dry, brittle, fruitless branches which make the best firewood, as we saw earlier in this series.

So the lesson is clear. We must remain spiritually receptive to treasures both new and old which can be mined from the "treasure chest" of God's Word, because they are much better than silver and gold. Furthermore, it is important that we remain flexible, new bottles which can hold the new wine of the Spirit. Consider the following verses which support these various points:

". . . Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old."
Matthew 13:52b, KJV

"The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver."
Psalms 119:72, KJV

"The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb."
Psalms 19:9-10, KJV

"And no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish. But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved."
Luke 5:37-38, KJV

To reiterate this point, it is very important that we each remain flexible, sensitive and receptive to the wind -- that is, to the Voice of God's Holy Spirit -- which instructs us in wisdom, knowledge and the way of righteousness. We must listen attentively to the things which the Lord is trying to teach us from His Word. We know that He will indeed teach us if we are listening; because as Jesus Himself promised His followers in the following verses:

"But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."
John 14:26, KJV

"Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come."
John 16:13, KJV

Please go to part four for the conclusion of this series.

⇒ Go To The Next Part . . .

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