It’s that time of year that the leaves start to turn colors and all kinds of things happen signifying the end of summer and the beginning of fall. This past week has been particularly interesting as Janet and I travelled to West Virginia for some rest and relaxation at the Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs. One of the things that we noticed is the fact that the leaves don’t seem to be in their full color and unless we miss our guess, I am concerned that the folks out east may miss the spectacular color show that we usually get this time of year.
It’s been dry out east and even the rivers and streams are at a very low level. Some of the best fishing spots have been out of commission since early July. Even though it rained one day we were at the Greenbrier, I am afraid that it is too little too late. But I did take several photos while I was fishing deep in the rural areas of West Virginia and several folks have pointed out how pretty the leaves are that are floating on the streams. Although I hadn’t noticed before as I was focused on the trout, it was strangely beautiful when I looked through the images that that I took.
Oddly, as we returned to central Indiana last Friday, the trees here were starting to turn and on our own block, we had better color than we saw all of last week. So we are able to enjoy the seasonal color we have come to expect.
Whenever the leaves start to turn, I invariably remind our kids that the roads get rather slippery when leaves drop and it gets a little rainy. Stopping distances increase and regardless of how old they are, I worry that even a moment of carelessness can result in an accident. I guess I have been issuing this warning since Kristin starting driving more than quarter or a century ago! Now, even our oldest grandchild gets the annual warning from me!
I am also reminded of how many times leaves are mentioned in the Bible. The first usage of leaves was when Eve, and then Adam, ate the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. They then covered themselves with fig leaves, realizing that they were naked. This was right after the Fall when sin separated mankind from God until the death and resurrection of Jesus on the cross.
Another important occurrence happens after the Flood when a dove returns to the ark with an olive leaf in its beak, signifying that the water on the earth had receded to the point where new life was starting to flourish. Once again, a leaf played a pivotal role in a new chapter of the people of God. In fact, leaves appear throughout the Scripture and sometimes show us a new beginning or change in scene from the previous verses of the Bible.
In the psalms, we find word pictures of trees and their leaves being nourished on the banks of streams and waterways. They are compared to God and how we are nourished by Him. So you can see that leaves play an important role in our understanding of the story of the people of God.
Our verse for this evening is the one that recounts the story of the end of the Flood. Moses, the author of Genesis, tells us, in Genesis 8:10-11, “He waited seven more days and again sent out the dove from the ark. When the dove returned to him in the evening, there in its beak was a freshly plucked olive leaf! Then Noah knew that the water had receded from the earth.” This is the beginning of the re-populating of the earth. Of course, God, through the use of the rainbow, promised Noah that He would never completely destroy the earth again with water.
My encouragement tonight is that God sends us signals on ways that we can be encouraged and assured of being united with Him. Of course, the most encouraging event in human history was the resurrection of Jesus that ultimately paved the way for us to spend eternity with God through the blood atonement of sin that Jesus paid for us on the cross. Mh prayer is that we will all use whatever means we have at our disposal to spread the Good News and realize that God will never “leave” us alone… Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…