Seeds sown today may not yield fruit for hundreds of years, in lives we cannot see, and from whom we are hidden in time. Yet, the seed, the potential fruit remains waiting to come forth from trees planted before the need.
Seed is a powerful metaphor in the faith dialog. However, we should also remember trees. In Psalm 1:3 we read, “He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.”
We do not often connect Jacob to the Tabernacle, as Moses and Aaron are the central human figures in that narrative. Yet, the rabbis find that Jacob also had an important part to play, even hundreds of years earlier.
In Exodus 26:15 the Torah says:
וְעָשִׂיתָ אֶת-הַקְּרָשִׁים, לַמִּשְׁכָּן, עֲצֵי שִׁטִּים, עֹמְדִים
“And you shall make the boards for the Tabernacle of acacia wood, standing up.”
Spiritual right? Actually, yes. The rabbis look to one letter in this verse, and find tremendous meaning. The word for “boards” “beams,” or “columns,” in this verse is הַקְּרָשִׁים. Affixed to קֶרֶשׁ, board/column/beams, is the definite article “ה” meaning “the.” These columns/boards/beams were the support structure for the Tabernacle where the divine presence would dwell. The rabbis ask, what are “the beams”?
The definite article signifies something known: הַקְּרָשִׁים, “the beams.” The Torah is not saying take “any beams” in order to build, but “the beams,” the knowns beams. These were beams, columns and boards known to the children of Israel. If known, where did they come from?
Some rabbinic opinions suggest that these were just beams made of acacia wood found in the Sinai Wilderness, not likely. Rashi, however, says the beams came out of Egypt with the children of Israel. A planting ahead.
The midrash tells the story of Jacob, that when he settled in Egypt – the land of restriction and suffering – that he sowed the seeds of the acacia tree, knowing that his descendants would one day need these trees. Knowing that the Lord would deliver his descendants from Egypt, Jacob planted trees for them to take, to use for building. And the trees were עֹמְדִים, standing, waiting to go.
If these were just any “beams,” the Torah would not have said “the beams,” just “beams.” The supply was before the need. The seeds Jacob sowed in faith came to fruition when the beams were set upright, covered, and the divine presence rested. Jacob supplied, according to the rabbis, the key ingredient for the dwelling of God. This theme, however, does not end with the wilderness tabernacle.
In Revelation 3:12, “He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more.” Yeshua/Jesus is speaking of those in the congregation at Philadelphia in whom the good seed sown by the sower took root (Matt. 13:1-23). While the ecclesia, the betrothed of Messiah, were in the place of restriction and suffering – the world – He sowed seed, that grew into trees, that would be harvested at the end of the age, at the greater exodus, to be set as columns/beams/board/pillars in the Temple – the Greater Tabernacle – of the Lord, never to leave His presence.
In the trails that we face, and the hour of testing that is coming (Rev. 3:10), keep His Word, trust His Word, and having done all stand (Eph. 6:13) ready, deeply rooted, and waiting to go. You will endure, because Messiah planted you, and provided before the need.
Be well. Shalom.