I am currently in a Bible study called “Rooted” which has led me to ponder the concept of being rooted in something or someone or some belief or some substance that can anchor my roots, thereby keeping me grounded, so I don’t lose my sense of direction and subsequently lose my way. I hear people talk about putting down roots or returning to their roots or even searching for their roots. I guess in order to understand who we are, we want to first know where we came from.
This could be a physical place or it could refer to our parents, who may have moved from the place of our birth, but they are our true roots, even if they have not put down any themselves. This “parents as roots” viewpoint explains the words in Isaiah 11:1-
“A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him -”
These words are talking about Jesus, whose human roots traced back to Jesse, who was the father of King David, from whose descendants Joseph came, who was Jesus’s earthly father. Most of David’s descendants had been killed in wars with Israel’s enemies and the rest had been carried off to Babylon, exiled from their homeland. But God preserved a remnant. A root remained. And from the root, a shoot – and from the shoot a branch to bear fruit in God’s appointed time.
God preserves a remnant. God preserves a root. Actually, I’m thinking that the “fruit” of that branch, Jesus, became the Vine – the one and only, life giving Vine that I read about in John chapter 15, where Jesus told His disciples –
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the gardener. . . . No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me. . . . If a man remains in Me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.”
Roots are underground. Because they are not visible, I may think there is no life here, all is dead. I may think there is no hope. I wonder if that’s how God’s people felt during the four hundred years of God’s silence before Jesus was born? No more prophets sent from God. They had rejected them all. And now they waited for the promised Messiah in silence. There was no sign of life. But there was a root and there was a remnant, both waiting to be revealed when the time was right.
“But when the time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons.” (Galatians 4:4)
Jesus, the Root, was revealed and the remnant rejoiced. Remnants, by definition are small. And so it was that only the shepherds in the fields and a few wise men and a few others, like Simeon and Anna, the prophetess, and later, John the Baptist and those who became disciples, worshiped and celebrated, while the world at large was oblivious to the appearing of the long awaited Savior, who sprang forth from the long forgotten root of Jesse.
Today, in this time of upheaval and uncertainty, many are looking for a place to put down roots but wondering where is a place or a person in whom I trust enough to do this. I know enough not to plant in sand. Sand cannot hold roots, mine or anyone else’s. (probably where we get the expression “like shifting sands”) I need something more stable than sand. Colossians 2:6-7 answers my question –
“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”
I need to be rooted in Jesus. Jeremiah 17:7-8 paints a beautiful picture of what happens when my roots are in Christ –
“But blessed is the man/woman who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. He/she will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
Wow! Pandemic, post-pandemic – we are definitely in difficult seasons with predictions of disaster surrounding us on every side. And yet, where my roots are will make all the difference in my life. I will “have no worries in a year of drought.” I may be cut down, but my root will remain underground – alive and waiting to be called again to appear above the surface. Makes me think of the underground church in places like China. A remnant not currently visible, that will be revealed one day, alive and thriving as they await Christ’s return.
Roots are underground. Remnants are small. But both are ready to be revealed when Jesus returns. In Luke 18:8, Jesus asks this question –
“However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” Matthew 7:13-14 gives me a clue as to the remnant saying –
“For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Then I read in Romans 9:27 –
“Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand by the sea, only the remnant will be saved.”
It occurs to me that the remnant are those whose roots are in Christ Jesus. To be rooted in the Rock may be an oxymoron, may seem an impossibility, but my faith is anchored and rooted in Jesus, who is the Rock of my salvation.
“He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken.” (Psalm 62:2)
I find in Jesus, a place to put down roots – a place where they will have room to grow down deep. This was the apostle Paul’s prayer for us, dear readers, – a prayer as relevant today as it was centuries ago when Paul first prayed it.
“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, (the remnant) to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:17-19)
God’s love is infinitely wide and long and high and deep, – plenty of room for me and for you to put down our roots, plenty of room for our roots to grow ever deeper – holding us fast in our place as His faithful remnant – anchored and rooted in Him –
sincerely, Grace Day