I love living in the country surrounded by a lot of trees, don’t know why but it is pretty much how I have been most of my life. As I understand trees, it would not be uncommon for a healthy tree to have as big of a root system below ground as you see with the crown of the tree above ground. Simply put, it is what you don’t see that determines the health of a tree and how well it will stand up against heavy winds and storms. Take any tree with a very shallow root system and it will probably get blown over. If we are talking about fruit trees, the health of the roots also will affect how well it produces and if it produces fruit.
What is unseen is more important than what is seen.
What do your spiritual roots look like? How deep are they?
These are valid questions if we want to grow in our faith. If we want to weather storms of life, and we want our faith to bear any kind of fruit, then we have to grow our spiritual roots. In Matthew 6:5-6, Jesus elaborates a bit on prayer. 5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” So many times in the gospels we see Jesus doing this very thing, going off to pray, often early in the morning.
Prayer is one of several ways to grow our spiritual depth, another is to read passages from the Bible and think about them, meditate on them.
Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.
The word law here means the teachings of the Lord… the Bible… specifically it probably meant the Torah or the first 5 books of the Bible. But it applies to all of the Bible. Did you catch the imagery? Meditating on the teachings of the Lord grows spiritual roots where we will be like a tree planted by streams of water. Our spiritual roots will grow.
There is some other imagery at play here too.
The Hebrew word for meditate in verse 2 is hagah… in Isaiah 31:4 we see the phrase “As a lion(Q) growls, a great lion over its prey—” the word for growl is the Hebrew word hagah…
How would it be if we hunger for God’s teaching, hunched over it and growling over it as a lion over its prey, how much deeper would our spiritual roots be? It is the roots of the tree that produces good fruit, it is the roots of a tree that enables it to withstand vicious winds and storms. Jesus often went off alone to pray and Jesus knew his text, he quoted Deuteronomy, Psalms, and Isaiah more than any other Old Testament book these were two aspects that were crucial to him, and he was God’s son. How much more are they crucial to us?