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  • Writer's pictureRob

The Ninety-Fourth (Roses)

How are you doing this week? Mine week was pretty good. We just had an unfortunate discovery that made us a bit sad. The discovery is actually related to this week's topic.

I was pruning the rose bushes that line one side of our driveway, and while I had previously noticed some oddly shaped roses, this time I decided to determine what is causing them. Come to find out, they are caused by an incurable disease that is transmitted by a certain type of mite. Unfortunately, our rose bushes will die within a couple years, according to my research.

Prior to this discovery, as I was pruning, a thought came to mind. There are quite a few references to gardens, gardening, or farming in general. Obviously, there's the garden of Eden (Genesis 2:8). In fact, there's something interesting about this garden, other than the fact that it grew every tree pleasant to sight and good for food (Genesis 2:9).

Yehovah actually planted that garden. The same Yehovah that spoke all creation into existence planted the garden of Eden. If you recall, or maybe you can read it again in Genesis 2:7, 19, He also formed man, beast and fowl out of the dust of the ground. Instead of just speaking these things into existence, He planted and formed from what He had already created.

Why not just speak it? I mean, He could speak a tree into existence right now if He wanted to. He is all powerful, after all (Jeremiah 32:17). My personal belief is that because God created perfection in this creation, there was no need. Everything that was needed for His entire 7000 year plan for this creation was created in those first six days. I also believe that one of His purposes in this plan was to ensure there was no way for Satan and his angels to claim foul play.

Satan set out to exalt himself, to make himself equal to, if not greater than, Yehovah (Isaiah 14:12-14). When he couldn't do that, he set out to take control of God's creation and exalt himself over that, and was able to gain the ability to influence man (Genesis 3:1-6). This made him the prince of this world (John 12:31, 14:30, 16:11, Ephesians 2:2).

God, being just, is doing everything throughout this battle between good and evil according to the framework He created at the beginning. If He were to do something outside of that framework, Satan could claim he wasn't given a fair chance and that if he had been given a fair chance he could have succeeded in beating God. Remember, some angels followed Satan, so angels also are able to choose. The ones that stayed with Yehovah know He is fair and just. While some would still stay with Him, Satan's claim of foul play could provide the opportunity for him to gain more followers.

But anyway, back to gardens! Besides the garden of Eden, and other gardens, there is also reference to gardening and growing crops. We've looked at the seed parable before, and Paul also alluded to this parable (1 Corinthians 3:6-9), but there is also a very significant reference to pruning...not pruning roses, however!

Jesus told His disciples He is the vine and Yehovah the vinedresser. The disciples, and anyone else that abides in Jesus, are the branches that grow from the vine and bear fruit (John 15:1-8). Now when we first moved into this house, the rose bushes had their first beautiful bloom of the season. After the blooms had died away, I went through and hacked away at the bushes because they had started to overgrow into the driveway and yard areas.

Not having taken care of roses before, I unknowingly created a condition that promoted new growth and therefore another blooming cycle. The roses bloomed full and beautiful again that year (and if memory serves, one more time after that). This is the same process described by Jesus (and I guess better known by those at the time than me!) about God's pruning of Jesus' branches (John 15:2).

If you take a look at the word used for prune (or purgeth in the KJV), it's kathairo, which means to cleanse. It comes from the word katharos, which means clean. Unlike kathairo, which only occurs in John 15:2, katharos is used throughout the New Testament to describe objects that are clean physically, and people and things that are pure spiritually.

So, with the use of that one word in John 15 is the idea of Yehovah removing that which is unpure and restoring us to purity. We took a look at this when we read about sanctification. The goal of this cleansing is to bring forth more fruit. While we have a direct reference to fruit in the fruit of the spirit (Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, Gentleness, Goodness, Faith, Meekness, and Temperance-Galatians 5:22-23), this fruit is also referencing our role in producing the fruit of the earth by sharing the gospel (James 5:7-8).

As you go through this week, look for the pruning to be done in your life. Look for the areas or activities that need to be purged. There are a lot of things, a majority of things, in this world that contribute to nothing good and no fruit. Pray the Holy Spirit guides you to those things so they can be removed and you can bear more fruit!

Shabbat shalom and God bless you!

-Rob and Sara Gene

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