What do blooming almond trees in Israel have to do with my life?
The LORD created our lives to have seasons, periods of times that mark events, whether they be important life stages or simply patterns of the weather.
Some seasons are full of life and growth, some manifest with pain and sadness.
It’s in those latter seasons that we wait, with bated breath, in anticipation and with expectancy, for that season of vibrant growth to give a sign of its coming.
In the midst of nature’s winter season, the LORD gives a sign of excitement marking that spring is about to sprout in the Holy Land.
This hard to miss and highly welcomed first indication of spring isn’t green pastures or a warm breeze. It’s a bit more subtle and it actually reveals itself before the weather makes its shift.
The LORD’s sign in Israel comes through a tree – the almond tree.
Towards the end of every January or beginning of February, as the winter months and its sense of hibernation has lingered for what feels like too long, the almond trees give us a spark of joy. It signals that the season is on the precipice of change.
The limbs of the almond trees bud and blossom beautiful flowers of pink and white. These bright lights announce to anyone looking to keep watch, because spring is coming!
The Hebrew word for almond is “shaked” (שקד ). It’s found only 4 times in the Old Testament.
In Genesis 43:11, it is classified as a delicacy when Jacob tells his sons to go down to Egypt, to find favor with pharaoh’s right hand (who was in fact his son, Joseph).
Its second mentioning, in Numbers 17:8, comments on how Aaron’s rod actually buds and produces almonds, the only one among the staffs of all other elders in Israel. Ecclesiastes 12:5 mentions almonds as a mark of another year passing without joy or purpose.
Where else is it mentioned?
In Jeremiah 1:11-12, the LORD shows the prophet the picture of a physical almond tree in a vision to communicate a spiritual truth:
“The word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Jeremiah, what do you see?’ And I said, ‘I see an almond branch.’ Then the LORD said to me, ‘You have seen well, for I am watching over my word to perform it.’”
But what do almonds have to do with watching over something?
Interestingly enough, the Hebrew word for “to watch, to be steadfast, to wake” is spelled exactly the same way as the word for ‘almond’: שקד.
The almond trees being the first to bud isn’t something that was decided by nature itself. It is a sign established by the LORD – it has His fingerprints on it.
Because He caused it to, the almond tree blossoms, bringing excitement about the change, a new season and renewed life.
John 10:10 tells us that one of the reasons why Yeshua came to earth was to give us life in abundance. It is the desire of our Savior for us to experience LIFE!
If you are currently in a season that feels – emotionally, relationally, or spiritually – like winter, take heart!
Be watchful. Hold steadily onto your faith because the spring is coming.
The LORD prepared a garden for Adam and Eve to live in. And the garden was full of life, and growth, and fruit.
This is the environment that you and I were created for, and the time will come when we will live in that Eden-like state with Elohim for all of eternity. A blooming almond tree is a reminder of that.
Until that permanent season comes, be encouraged. When the winter seems firmly set around you and it feels like it will never leave — look to the almond trees.