Up a Tree
July 30, 2014 • By Ed Wrather
Now these are the words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem to the remainder of the elders who were carried away captive—to the priests, the prophets, and all the people whom Nebuchadnezzar had carried away captive from Jerusalem to Babylon. - Jeremiah 29:1 NKJV.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. - Jeremiah 29:11-13 NKJV.
In Papua, Indonesia lives the Korowai tribe that builds their homes in trees. Many of us in the United States and other places have built tree houses when we were kids or we have built them for our children. There is no comparison to the houses that this tribe builds. The Korowai builds homes more than 100 feet in the air which requires some very good engineering and construction skills.
The Korowai tribe lives in a remote portion of the jungle and was only discovered by the outside world in 1974 when a Dutch missionary found them. Why do the Korowai build their homes so far up in the air? It is a way to protect themselves from attack from other tribes and also from insects like mosquitoes. The tree homes use Banyan or Wambom trees to form the main foundation of the house. The entire tribe turns out to help with building one of these tree houses working together to cut down trees and branches and to carry the necessary material to the top of the chosen tree. Watching a video about the construction one man said that he only knew of one person that had fallen from one of their tree houses. (Amusing Planet 01.11.13)
The people of the Kingdom of Judah were carried away in captivity by the Babylonians to Babylonia and they would be there for 70 years. It was a harsh reality, God’s people were in a strange place they did not want to be in and now they hear from the Prophet Jeremiah that they will not be leaving anytime soon. Many of those hearing the words of God through Jeremiah’s letter would never return to Jerusalem and they would die in Babylonia. This was not what they wanted to hear! This was not what they wanted, they all just wanted to go back home, but going home was not going to happen for most of them.
Life has a way of driving us up a tree sometimes, of forcing us out of our comfort zones, and into strange new environments, and situations that we do not want to be in. When the Korowai tribe was forced up trees to cope with surviving in their environment the tribe not only survived, they thrived and built houses in those trees. God had instructions for His people in captivity in Babylonia, as to how they were to survive and thrive there. Here are the instructions God gives to His people through the Prophet Jeremiah: “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all who were carried away captive, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and dwell in them; plant gardens and eat their fruit. Take wives and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, so that they may bear sons and daughters - that you may be increased there, and not diminished. And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace you will have peace (Jeremiah 29:4-7 NKJV).”
When life drives you up a tree do what God tells His people in Babylonia to do call upon God, seek God, for He has a plan for your life “to give you a future and a hope (Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. - Jeremiah 29:11-13).” If life has you up a tree, don’t give up! Maybe God has you there to build a new life that will be even better than you knew before.