Tuesday, 3 September 2013



Gopher wood had the capacity
To sustain life’s
Capacity for differentness.

“A vine was before me”
Purple with fruit for

Acacia wood could bear,
Could form unity
And could be borne.

Cypress gave its tone
To the instruments
Made from it.

Fruitfulness was the apple tree
Distinguished among
The trees of the wood.

Excellent as the cedars!
Dignity and stateliness
Amongst the twisted thorns.

What a grand entrance
Was through
The doors of olive-wood.

Was that too inferential for you?
Perhaps various qualities of wood
- Grains, textures, fragrances, strengths -
Interest or enlighten. History too,
Ancient sources and customs, might provoke
Emotions or thoughts. But that is below
My purpose here: as the cup-bearer
Had a vine before him I have a
Man: His qualities, mien, customs.
The grain always straight, the textures
Beyond man’s apprehension, the fragrance
What delighted God, the strength to break
Death’s power, to bear us through. Name
Once again - Man according to God.


Amid man’s constant grappling,
His insolence and fraud
Christ was a tender sapling
Before the eye of God.

He did not take resources
From man’s domain of dearth -
But drew from heavenly sources
Untrammelled by this earth.

And God’s heart was observant
Of that exotic Shoot,
The One who was His Servant,
Who rendered God His fruit.

Here he was the Succeeder
In God’s eternal plan -
His bearing as the cedar,
Our Bridegroom and God’s Man.

Nations will find Him tender
As He returns to stanch
Their wounds when come in splendour -
“The Man whose name is Branch”.

In power He will have finished
Man’s wilfulness and strife;
Men will taste undiminished
Fruit from the Tree of Life.

Jehovah showed Moses wood
Without God showing us
We would not discern
The distinctiveness of His Man.

Jehovah showed Moses wood
Not distinguishing the variety
No species can encompass
The distinctiveness of His Man.

Jehovah showed Moses wood
Our bitterness
Would only be dispelled by
The distinctiveness of His Man.

Jehovah showed Moses wood
It has always been His delight
To see, and to bring to our sight,
The distinctiveness of His Man.


Benaiah, the soldier,
Could use his staff as a weapon
To wrest the Egyptian’s spear.

David, the psalmist,
Knowing God’s staff and rod
Bore his own staff to the conflict.

Jonathan, gatherer,
Used his staff at the time of his triumph
To harvest honey.

The princes, princely,
Dug with their staves
The well in the plains.

Aaron, the priest,
Was possessor of the rod which
Budded, blossomed, and brought forth almonds.

Moses, shepherd,
Had the staff of God
For authority and supply.

And Jacob, wanderer,
Home at last,
Worshipped on the top of his staff.

You may know the interpretation
Of each passage. But for a moment
Think of it like this - each one
Clung to something of Jesus; whether
In peace or war, whatever they confronted
They clung to Him. Oh! let me follow their
Example, cling to Christ if in conflict,
Lean on Him in worship. And if we
Can speak of one who will keep us
Without stumbling, how are we sustained:
Depending on our Lord Jesus Christ.


To make the Ark required acacia wood:
A supple wood, well able to endure
And thus to bear the testimony through.
The copper altar required acacia too
To bear the fire and all the heat produced
That God’s delight should daily be ensured.
But this wood also standing as it was hewn
Formed boards by which the tabernacle stood
Since only this in all its strength conduced
To form the tent which God Himself would choose.
One kind of Man could be before God’s heart:
Suited to God within His inner Man.
Only the Christ could be the perfect Ark,
One kind of Man in sufferings and charm
Clears the approach by which we may advance
To God’s abode where we may boldly stand.
One kind of manhood alone is consonant
With Christ Himself and God can rest in that.
Men after Christ now have their heavenly part
Which will remain when death and sin are past.


Go up to the mountain and bring wood
That the house of God may be built;
Long since should your sloth have been eschewed,
With your selfishness and your guilt.

Go bearing your axe to hew down trees
That the house’s beams may be strong.
Your vigour will not regret your ease
As you quit the place of your wrong.

How long will you sow but will not reap,
Have your gains in bags full of holes?
The house of your God lies waste, a heap -
Rise, for benefit of your souls.

Go, find there is wood to bear each weight,
There is wood whose scent is refined,
And wood to be carved to decorate
Till God’s house accords to His mind.

How soon will your blessing have accrued!
God will give your singing a lilt:
Go up to the mountain and bring wood
That the house of God may be built.

Help me, Lord Jesus, to provide
The wood offering - to maintain
What is for thy service, without
Pretension, to dependably
Supply unmemorable and
Unsung effort. As others have
Laboured, their names now known only
To God, make me expendable,
Reduced to ash. As Urijah
Would not act for his own comfort
If the Ark and God’s people were
In the fields, even if it meant
His death. As Naboth of Jizreel
Would not abandon his father’s land
Whatever the cost - even if
It meant his death. As Christ’s bondman
Paul spent and was spent, night and day,
That God’s service should continue,
That God’s testimony remain,
Even to the point of his death.

Feb - Jul 1998

1 comment:

I'm glad to hear how this strikes you!