Down in the southern mixed pine and hardwood forests, dogwoods are known for their Easter time display. Yet long before the dogwoods make their presence known the woods are for the most part dead of signs of life. Then something unusual happens. One tree comes to life. But not in the typical way of green leaves preceding blooms or flowers; but contrary to the normal way trees bloom. The redbud blooms before it grows green leaves. This also occurs before the last frost and during the tail end of winter. Yet, every spring the first tree to bloom is the redbud without signs typically associated with life – green leaves. This happens even before the famous dogwood which follows about 4 to 6 weeks thereafter. I always knew the dogwoods were a symbol of our Lord’s suffering and death on the cross. But then I wondered why the particular timing of the redbud?
As I thought about this, it came to me what was the meaning and who were these simple plants testifying of? I am not suggesting trees speak but my faith believes there is a “a voice in this sign” of nature as it goes through its life cycle.
Why do I say this?
When God was instructing Moses about approaching the king of Egypt, Pharaoh, God make an important statement.
And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe thee, neither hearken to the VOICE of the first SIGN, that they will believe the VOICE of the latter SIGN. Exodus 4:8
My comments about redbuds and dogwoods blooming have little in common with Moses performing signs to demonstrate the power of God. Rather, what I find important and relates to these two trees is the concept of SIGNS SPEAKING if we will hear the VOICE within them.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the TRUTH in unrighteousness,
Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath SHOWN it unto them.
For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly SEEN, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.
Because, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful, but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish hearts was darkened.
Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. Romans 1:18-22
Hear we have a clear testimony that God is manifesting truth in His creation that prophesies or speaks of the glory and truth of God.
We also know that no one will be able to claim I didn’t know about you, I didn’t know what your Son did for me and creation by coming, bearing witness of the truth, suffering. enduring physical and mental pain and humiliation, was crucified, died a horrible death on the cross, willingly, despising the shame, then rising again in RESURRECTED LIFE.
So what does this have to do with redbuds?
For me, creation is crying out and demonstrating the glory and truth of the Great Creator God of the Universe and all Eternity.
The VOICE in the SIGN is speaking to me of His shed blood for the sins of the whole world, by simple red blooms on a barren limb. Then in the fullness of Creation’s time, the white blossom of the dogwood awash in the green leaves of new life, testify to the witness of His RESURRECTED LIFE.
Jesus said unto her, I am, the RESURRECTION and the LIFE; he that believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live. John 11:25
So, if you live in this part of the world, and you see a redbud in bloom, listen for creation testifying to the Glory and Truth of our RESURRECTED Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And, if your not from around these parts, I suspect creation in your ‘neck of the woods’ has a similar VOICE in the SIGN of your local creation.
May God give you Grace to hear the heavens declare His Glory and the desire to pause and Praise Him for His priceless free gift of redemption to any who will let their foolish minds accept His undeserved charity.
The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handiwork.
Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge.
There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Psalms