The Lord loves Lebanon and the cedars of Lebanon! Read the following verses and see. (All NRSV.)
Psalms 92:12-15 The righteous flourish like the palm tree, and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. 13 They are planted in the house of the Lord; they flourish in the courts of our God. 14 In old age they still produce fruit; they are always green and full of sap, 15 showing that the Lord is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.
Psalms 104:16-17 The trees of the Lord are watered abundantly, the cedars of Lebanon that He planted. 17 In them the birds build their nests; the stork has its home in the fir trees.
Isaiah 35:1-2 The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus (KJV: rose; CJB: lily) 2 it shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God.
Isaiah 60:13 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 glorify where My feet rest.
Jeremiah 22:6 For thus says the Lord concerning the house of the king of Judah: You are like Gilead to Me, like the summit of Lebanon; ….
Isaiah 29:17-19 Shall not Lebanon in a very little while become a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be regarded as a forest? 18 On that day the deaf shall hear the words of a scroll, and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see. 19 The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the Lord, and the neediest people shall exult in the Holy One of Israel.
Hosea 14:4-6 I will heal their disloyalty; I will love them freely, for My anger has turned from them. 5 I will be like the dew to Israel; he shall blossom like the lily, he shall strike root like the forests of Lebanon. 6 His shoots shall spread out; his beauty shall be like the olive tree, and his fragrance like that of Lebanon.
I used to wonder why God liked Lebanon so much when it isn’t part of Israel. But when I searched it out more extensively, I discovered that southern Lebanon is included in the original borders God set for Israel. Still, I wondered why He loved the cedars of Lebanon so much. To me, the cedar trees that I’ve seen in America aren’t that beautiful. The fragrance is very pleasant, but as for visual beauty, other trees far surpass them. Yet, God loves them and wants us to be like the cedars of Lebanon to Him.
One day, as I pondered this, wondering what a tree would have to be like for people to marvel over it. The thought came to me that if the cedars of Lebanon were like the Redwood trees of California, then it would make sense why God mentions them so often and gives them so much honor. King Solomon honored them, too! He built the Temple out of them!
On another day, I was cleaning house and putting some blankets away, thinking how nice it would be if I had a cedar chest to put them in. Suddenly, the thought hit me. Cedar chests are used because cedar keeps away moths and insects! So, that is why God wants us to be like cedar trees! He wants us to be of such material that the enemy stays away!
I was caught now! I had to know more! Thus began an in-depth study of the cedars of Lebanon which ended up being connected to Frankincense. It is amazing! Just wait and see! (The Frankincense part will come in the next blog. )
The Hebrew word for “cedar” is “erez” אֶרֶז H730. It’s from H729 אָרַז which means to be firm, to stand firm (from the tenacity of its roots) !!!
Yes, Lord, help us to be like the cedar—to have tenacious roots so we can stand firm in You!
In Hebrew, “Lebanon” is Levanon (H3844) לְבָנוֹן. It is from H3835 lavan לָבַן “to be white, …to make white, become white, purify 2) to show whiteness, grow white… to make bricks.” The country Lebanon was named this because of its white, snow-capped mountains.
Now, this is not really legal (scholarly-wise), but if you take the beginning of the word “Lebanon” לְבָנוֹן , you get “lev” לְבָ which means “heart.” So, I like to think of the Lebanon as meaning “hearts made white”!
Yes, Father, make our hearts white by the blood of the Lamb, and keep us rooted firmly in the land of Your pure, whiteness!! Like cedar wood, give us Your fragrance that is pleasant to You, but repulsive to the enemy. Help us to be repellent to the attempts of the enemy to infest us and eat at us. May we be able to say with Yeshua, “The enemy has nothing in us.” (John 14:30 NRSV … the ruler of this world is coming. He has no power over me; …. NKJV: … he has nothing in Me.)