Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.
The tree you saw, which grew and became strong, so that its top reached to heaven, and it was visible to the end of the whole earth, whose leaves were beautiful and its fruit abundant, and in which was food for all, under which beasts of the field found shade, and in whose branches the birds of the heavens lived. it is you …
I. Men – Strong and Powerful – Jeremiah 17:7-8
Men love power. Men love football and ice hockey.
If men had to choose to be a plant they would want to be trees – big, strong massive trees.
God also wants men to be like trees. Jeremiah 17:8 reads:
“He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”1
Trees represent strength, power, and endurance. This is how God created men.
II. Men – Providers and Shelters – Daniel 4:20-22
In Daniel 4:21 the purpose of trees in God’s creation are well described:
“Trees with beautiful leaves produce abundant fruit. In trees there is food for all, under which beasts of the field find shade, and in whose branches the birds of the heavens nest.”
God created men to use their strength and power to provide food and shelter for all of God’s creation.
Men, like trees are not big talkers. Men want their provisions and shelter speak to for them. This is why men are a mystery to women.
III. Power and Strength Gone Awry – Ezekiel 31:2-7
Since men are impressed with their strength and power, this is where they can go awry.
In Ezekiel 31, we read about Assyria, a nation that was impressed with her domineering strength.
“Assyria was a cedar in Lebanon, with beautiful branches and forest shade, and of towering height, its top among the clouds. It towered high above all the trees of the field; its boughs grew large and its branches long. It was beautiful in its greatness, in the length of its branches.”2
Listen to God’s judgment against that tree:
“Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Because it towered high and set its top among the clouds, and its heart was proud of its height, I will give it into the hand of a mighty one of the nations. He shall surely deal with it as its wickedness deserves. I have cast it out.”3
In Matthew 17 Jesus while speaking about dangerous men, talks about trees and their fruit:
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. … Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.”4
God created men with strength and power for a purpose.
IV. God’s Full Desire for Men – Isaiah 61:3
” … that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified.”5
God wants men to be an oak of righteousness.
The only man who can reveal God’s glory in his strength and power is the man who has a heart for God.
V. Why God Chose David – 1 Samuel 16:1-13
The story of God choosing David as King is fascinating. We read about it in 1 Samuel 16:1-13:
The LORD said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go. I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons.”
Samuel said, “How can I go? If Saul hears it, he will kill me.”
The LORD said, “Take a heifer with you and say, ‘I have come to sacrifice to the LORD.’ Invite Jesse to the sacrifice, and I will show you what you shall do. And you shall anoint for me him whom I declare to you.”
Samuel did what the LORD commanded and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling and said, “Do you come peaceably?”
He said, “Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the LORD. Consecrate yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice.” He consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.
When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the LORD’s anointed is before him.”
But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”
Then Jesse called Abinadab and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, “Neither has the LORD chosen this one.”
Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, “Neither has the LORD chosen this one.”
Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. Samuel said to Jesse, “The LORD has not chosen these.”
Then Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?”
He said, “There remains yet the youngest, but behold, he is keeping the sheep.”
Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and get him, for we will not sit down till he comes here.”
He sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy and had beautiful eyes and was handsome.
The LORD said, “Arise, anoint him, for this is he.”
Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the LORD rushed upon David from that day forward.”6
God instructed Samuel not to be impressed with the strength, power, or size of Jesse’s sons.
In verse 7, God tells Samuel:
“I do not look at the outward appearance of a man. I look at a man’s heart.”
The last son, the youngest was a fair redhead lad with eyes attractive to girls. He was the one chosen by God and anointed as King.
VI. God Created Men to be Strong Shepherds – Isaiah 40:10-11
In Isaiah 40:10-11 God is described in two distinctive ways.
“The Lord GOD comes with might, and his arm rules for him.”7
“He will tend his flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs in his arms; He will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.”8
Our favorite description of God is from Psalm 23:1, “The Lord is my shepherd!”
What is the first blessing: “I shall not want!”
What does the Lord as our shepherd do?
“He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”9
Because our shepherd is strong and mighty, David tells us:
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for God is with me; His rod and His staff, they comfort me. He prepares a table for me in the presence of my enemies.” (Psalm 23:4-5)
Men are you listening.
God made you strong and mighty so that others …
Men if you use your power to…
Why do children fall in love with The Wizard of Oz?
At the end of the day the man who loves God and others as God has loved us, it the man the world really admires. It is the man with a heart for God who is loved by all and by God Himself.
God created men to be strong shepherds.
All of us have been blessed by men who see themselves as God’s strong shepherds.
VII. God’s Grace for His Men
Isaiah 53:6 reminds us of God’s grace for all His sheep who go astray:
“All of us, like sheep, have gone astray; we have turned, each one of us, to our own way. But the Lord, our God has laid upon himself, Jesus the iniquity of us all.”
All men are called by God to be a strong shepherd. It is not an easy task, but it is one which God helps us complete.
Thomas Kempis writes about men in The Imitation of Christ:
“For a man’s merits are not measured by his … knowledge of the Scriptures, or by his being in a higher position than others, but by the truth of his humility, by his capacity for divine charity, by his constancy in seeking purely and entirely the honor of God, (and) by his disregard … of self, and … by preferring to be … humiliated rather than honored by others.10“
God’s men are strong shepherds with a heart for the Lord.
1. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Jeremiah 17:8.
2. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Ezekiel 31:3, 5, and 7.
3. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Ezekiel 31:10–11.
4. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Matthew 7:15–20.
5. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Isaiah 61:3.
6. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), 1 Samuel 16:1–13.
7. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Isaiah 40:10.
8. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Isaiah 40:11.
9. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Psalm 23:2–3.
10. Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, 1996), 112.