Why Tamarisk Trees

I have a curiosity that begs the travel of rabbit trails on occasion. So I read Genesis 21 and then ask myself why did Abraham plant Tamarisk trees?

Then Abraham planted a tamarisk tree at Beersheba, and there he worshiped the Lord, the Eternal God. (Genesis 21:33, NLT)

The tamarisk, often called salt cedar is a common enough tree in Palestine. It is aN evergreen which can grow as high as 50 feet tall. It has needles, not leaves, and the needles excrete salt which draws water which collects there overnight. In the morning, the sun warms the air and the water droplets evaporate and cool the tree and the shade it gives. The Tamarisk grows in impossible soil, where nothing else will take root. Insects turn its juice into a white substance that some people call manna.

So we ask why a Tamarisk, Abraham? I don’t know for sure but I do wonder if it is because:

  • It reminded Abraham that he had sinned and that God had forgiven him.
  • Or because salt was always added to grain offerings. (Leviticus 2:13, NLT)
  • Maybe the trees just reminded Abraham of home.
  • A reminder that like the Tamarisk we can share the Gospel no matter how unfriendly the soil?

Or perhaps it is that the tree takes almost 400 years to grow to its full height and 400 years after Abraham’s planting, his descendants would leave Egypt, travel through a desert and need shade, sustenance and even manna?

When we plant a relationship, a business or begin some other event, perhaps the Tamarisk is a reminder to us that everything takes time. Be patient while your Tamarisk grows.

Prayer- Lord, we are so anxious to have everything right now, but your Tamarisk shows us that all things mature in their own timing. Grant us your patience, Lord. Amen.

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