Friday, March 28, 2008

More About Thorns

Genesis 3:17 Then to Adam He (God) said, "Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, 'You shall not eat from it', Cursed is the ground because of you, in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both THORNS and thistles it shall grow for you, and you shall eat the plants of the field; by the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, because from it you were taken, for you are dust, and to dust you shall return."

I am not a plant expert, but thorn bushes are mentioned in the Bible. Plant experts would probably tell us that bushes that sport thorns do so to discourage animals from eating their leaves. Thorns are a defense mechanism, right? The next mention of thorns in the Bible reveals their highly combustible nature:

Exodus 22:6 If a fire breaks out and spreads to thorn bushes, so that stacked grain or the standing grain or the field itself is consumed, he who started the fire shall surely make restitution.

The fire might be used to get rid of thorns, but got out of hand?

The next mention of thorns in Numbers 33:55 uses the phrase thorn in your side---as Christians, the picture that springs to mind is Jesus pierced on the cross. A soldier thrust a spear into Jesus' side revealing that Jesus was already dead because out came blood and water, the blood had started separating.

Just before Joshua died, he warned in the book of Joshua chapter 23 that: The Lord has driven out great and strong nations from before you...for the Lord your God is He who fights for you, just as He promised you. So take diligent heed to yourselves to love the Lord your God. For IF you ever go back and cling to the rest of these nations, these which remain among you and intermarry with them, so that you associate with them and they with you, know with certainty that the Lord your God will NOT continue to drive these nations out from before you, but they shall be a snare and a trap to you, and a whip on your sides and THORNS in your eyes, until you perish from off this good land which the Lord your God has given you. Now behold, today I am going the way of all the earth...

Again, this double meaning for us looking back to the cross, for those thorns in that crown shoved down on Jesus' skull got dangerously close to His eyes. And it points to how in control Jesus was at His death. None of His bones were broken. None of His eyes were poked out. The very thorns He created were used to pierce His brow. And the Joshua account even foreshadows the whips that flayed Jesus' back of skin. The Roman cat-of-nine tails had a tendency to rip skin and muscles out of the back. Jesus took what we deserved. And stayed alive to be nailed to the cross--another tree.

Whoa--this is too much---the dying words of King David in 2 Samuel 23 verses 1-7 includes this theme, this connection with thorns and a spear and I don't think David knew he was foreshadowing the Cross.

2 Samuel 23:1-7 Now these are the last words of David. David the son of Jesse declares, and the man who was raised on high declares, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel, The Spirit of the Lord spoke by me, and His word was on my tongue. The God of Israel said, The Rock of Israel spoke to me, "he who rules over men righteously, who rules in the fear of God, is as the light of the morning when the sun rises, a morning without clouds, when the tender grass springs out of the earth, through sunshine after rain.' Truly is not my house so with God? For He has made an everlasting covenant with me, ordered in all things, and secured, for all my salvation and all my desire, will He not indeed make it grow? But the worthless, every one of them will be thrust away like THORNS, because they cannot be taken in hand; but the man who touches them must be armed with iron and the shaft of a spear, and they will be completely burned with fire in their place.

Do you suppose David wondered at these last words? The phrase near the beginning, "and the man who was raised on high declares.." what or who?? I see Jesus raised on high on the cross, and now resurrected on high at the right Hand of God, don't you?

And Jesus made it possible for the worthless to be given eternal life. Remember how Jesus was nailed to the cross, His Hands unable to remove the crown of thorns pressed into his skull? Look again at verses six and seven: "But the worthless, every one of them will be thrust away like thorns, because they cannot be taken in hand; but the man who touches them must be armed with iron and the shaft of a spear, and they will be completely burned with fire in their place."

Is this verse telling us of the future? That the soldier who thrust the spear in Jesus' side will also remove the crown of thorns and burn it with fire? Or is this talking about the future of the enemy who gathers at the last battle to try and wipe Israel off the map? Maybe both.

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