Cypress instead of Thorns
“Instead of the thorn shall come up the cypress; instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle;” (Is. 55:13). Cypress trees are huge, sweet smelling, totally different from the deadly thorn filled brier tree. In this verse, the Lord declares that the aromatic myrtle tree shall come up in place of the brier. One might say: my thoughts are like the thorn tree full of hopelessness and fear. Another could say: my life is like a thorn tree: I harm myself and those around me; I have become like the poisonous brier. But by the Lord’s grace, thorns are changed into cypress and briers into myrtle.
Are there thorns in your life that harm you and others? Proclaim that because the Lord Jesus is full of grace, He will change you as well as your circumstances. “For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” (John 1:16). Such precious grace! The Lord Jesus paid its full price on the cross when he said: It is finished!
Trust that the Lord changes thorn into cypress and brier into myrtle. Do not give in to self-pity if your son is a type of thorn harming himself as well as others. Instead, proclaim that the Lord is with you and what is impossible with man is possible with God.
Believers will certainly change things when they pray in faith. They will see grace at work; the Lord transforming thorn trees into cypress.
The glory of Lebanon shall come to you, the cypress, the plane, and the pine,
to beautify the place of my sanctuary, and I will make the place of my feet glorious.” (Is. 60:13). The cypress, along with other trees will decorate the temple of the Lord (the place of my sanctuary). In other words, the church is full of beautiful trees that were formerly thorn trees. Your proclamation about yourself should be I was a thorn tree and the Lord transformed me and planted me in his temple. Using the Apostle Peter’s terminology: I became a living stone in the temple of the Lord; and according to Isaiah I became a beautiful cypress tree, victorious over circumstances, an evergreen tree planted in the house of my God. In Christ I am beautiful, being transformed by grace just like:
- Matthew, who used to rob his people under the protection of the government but was transformed by grace and became one of the disciples of the Lord who wrote the Gospel of Matthew!
- Saul who used to destroy people and was transformed into Paul who loves people.
- Peter who denied Christ out of fear of a slave girl and was transformed into Peter who won three thousand souls, by the power of the Holy Spirit, on the day of Pentecost.
By grace we are conquerors, able to bind the activity of Satan, and transform our circumstances from thorn to cypress and from brier to myrtle. The word myrtle is the origin of the name of Esther who was victorious over the schemes of the enemy. Come to the Lord and trust in His grace! He will change you and use you to embellish His temple. And will make your life abound with the fruit of the spirit making you a living stone in His house full of the love, humility, and gentleness of the Holy Spirit. By grace Rahab, who was the worst sinner in Jericho, was saved when the wall of the city fell. Furthermore, she became one of God’s people and in the lineage of Christ according to the flesh. Abounding grace wipes away the thorns on account of the work of the cross.
“I will put in the wilderness the cedar, the acacia, the myrtle, and the olive. I will set in the desert the cypress, the plane and the pine together.” (Is. 41:19). What will change is the desert and the wilderness. By grace, the thorn tree is transformed into different kinds of beautiful trees. Consider the work of grace and glorify the Lord because He still works, heals, and changes matters.
“Who led you through the great and terrifying wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water, who brought you water out of the flinty rock.” (Deut. 8:15). Was anyone harmed? The Bible says: “Your clothing did not wear out on you and your foot did not swell these forty years.” (Deut. 8:4). Clothes are a symbol of the outward appearance, meaning that the Lord renews our strength like the eagles. You might think that you live in a terrible, difficult time. Fear not, for you will live a victorious life. Your feet will not swell, nor will your clothes be worn out. All areas resembling thorn in your life will testify to the great work of grace. The wilderness will not only cease to be harmful but will also spring forth with the cypress tree!
Point at the wilderness in which you live and proclaim that the snakes and scorpions will not bother you because the Lord is with you. He will do great things for you and change times, seasons, and people. Do not forget that Pharoah’s palace, the source of harm, is the same that served Moses and gave money to his mother and sister.
Keep reminding yourself that the harsher your circumstances get the more you will see the great work of the Lord and His divine intervention. That is exactly what happened with Joseph: though things kept getting harder, the glory of the Lord was clearly manifested at the end. Proclaim your faith that whatever happens in your life will glorify the Lord and will not glorify Satan. Ask the Lord to use circumstances for the salvation of souls the advancement of the Gospel.
“I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. I will put in the wilderness the cedar, the acacia, the myrtle, … that they may see and know, may consider and understand together, that the hand of the Lord has done this, the Holy One of Israel has created it.” (Is. 41:18). The verbs in these verses show the Lord’s creative ability in transforming the thorn into cypress!
From the sermon thorn into cypress 12-5-2021