“The word of the Lord came to me saying, ‘What do you see, Jeremiah?’ And I said, ‘I see a rod of an almond tree.’ Then the Lord said to me, ‘You have seen well, for I am watching over My word to perform it’” (Jeremiah 1:11-12 NASB).
This interchange between God and Jeremiah seems a bit strange. How does an almond branch connect to God diligently watching over His word to see it happen? To understand this interaction, we need to recognize two things: 1) a wordplay happens in Hebrew in these verses, and 2) the horticulture of the almond.
The word for almond in Hebrew is shaqed, and the word translated as “diligently watching” is shoqed. What Jeremiah sees—the almond branch—connects to God’s message that He watches diligently over His word to see it happen. That explains the connection between what Jeremiah sees and God’s message to him, but what does it mean?
Of all the trees in the land of Israel, the almond tree blossoms first. The appearance of the almond blossoms signals that spring has come. Yet, while the almond blossoms first, its fruit arrives last of all the trees. It’s first to blossom and last to fruit. Herein lies God’s message to Jeremiah. As with the almond, whose fruit you must diligently await, so is God’s word. If He has given His word—even if its fulfillment is delayed—He watches over it diligently to perform it. Like the almond’s fruit, God’s word, even if delayed, will come to fulfillment.
Do we have the patience to diligently endure until God performs His word? Do we trust that, even if the world around us looks like God has forgotten His word, He diligently watches over it to do it?
Patiently enduring is often one of the hardest spiritual disciplines to acquire because in our culture, in which everything is instant and immediate, we don’t like to wait. Patience is a struggle. But as anyone who understands agriculture will tell you, growing produce takes time, and there are specific seasons within the growth cycle of the fruit.
Don’t get in front of God. Wait patiently for Him to perform His word because He diligently watches over it to do it.
Father, sometimes patience is hard for us. Help us not to get out in front of You, but to trust Your goodness and timing knowing that You watch over Your word. Amen.