You Are That Tree
Updated: Jun 19, 2020
Forest Gump famously said, "Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know which one is going to be filled with gooey arrogance and which is one is going to melt in your mouth with humility..." or something like that. I haven't seen the movie in a while.
I remember walking into speech class for the first time freshman year of high school. I had never considered public speaking as a hobby, let alone a career (ironic huh), but every student was required to fulfill their electives and it was between speech and debate or welding. For those that know me, the thought of me taking a welding class probably makes you chuckle... I am not your stereotypical "handyman."
It didn't take long for me to "wow" the room with my passion and speaking capability. In fact, it was the first speech I ever gave. Cringe, even typing that arrogant statement feels weird. The things we do for our blogs...
Soon after "wowing" the room, I was humbled by how little I truly knew about public speaking. The very next speech I did dramatically worse and began a ten year journey (still learning in fact) on how to captivate the creative minds of my audience for more than ten seconds. God blessed me with the ability to create things with words. My gift back to Him is how I use those words.
I am reminded of my speech and debate days as I read Daniel chapter 4. Daniel, a dream interpreter and servant of God, interprets many dreams for King Nebuchadnezzar. One of his interpretations challenged me quite a bit. King Nebbie approached Daniel and shares his dream with him. In his dream, King Nebbie saw an enormous, powerful, tall tree. It was visible everywhere and created shelter for living creatures. Towards the end of the dream however, the tree is stripped of its branches, leaves, and fruit, standing powerless.
Daniel looks in horror at King Nebbie and replies:
"Belteshazzar [Daniel] answered, “My lord, if only the dream applied to your enemies and its meaning to your adversaries! The tree you saw, which grew large and strong, with its top touching the sky, visible to the whole earth, with beautiful leaves and abundant fruit, providing food for all, giving shelter to the wild animals, and having nesting places in its branches for the birds—Your Majesty, you are that tree! You have become great and strong; your greatness has grown until it reaches the sky, and your dominion extends to distant parts of the earth.
You. Are. That. Tree.
Isn't that a tough pill to swallow...
Daniel saw the arrogance that engulfed King Nebuchadnezzar and was terrified to share his interpretation with him. Unfortunately, the dream came true, and King Nebbie was handed humility in exchange for his arrogance.
We all have King Nebbie moments. We all applaud ourselves at times and lean into our accomplishments a bit too much. However, here is the truth we can understand from Daniel 4: Arrogance devours humility like a coyote hunting a chicken.
Cringe-worthy imagery isn't it? (Side-note, it makes me think of the movie Barnyard with Kevin James.)
Daniel encourages King Nebbie to bow before God and lay his arrogance aside. And yet, King Nebbie does the opposite and loses his power. Once he realizes how weak he is without God, he turns his life around and humbly follows Him.
Here is the point: God has blessed us with gifts and opportunities and it is so important that we humbly bow down at His throne and use those gifts for His glory.
Don't be the tree that gets slain in arrogance. Be the tree that thrives in humility.