Been thinking about cedar – you know, aromatic cedar.
Guess we are doing more than think about it, as we prayerfully seek God for protocol gifts to present to elders at All Tribes DC, the National Native American Day of Prayer held in Davids Tent on the Mall, Nov 9th 2018. Our simple gifts this year, will be made of cedar….
I am always looking for ways the creation reveals the Creator:
Rom 1:20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead;
Like most things I think about, I am always intrigued if the Bible says something about it, and when I type in the word ‘cedar’ into Biblegateway.com, it immediately displays over 70 verses with the word cedar in it.
Cedar is considered the most sacred tree in many Native American beliefs. It was the first tree planted by man in the Third World to save people from a flood, according to the Navajo (Dineh). http://www.ancientpages.com/2018/01/06/cedar-sacred-tree-medicine-power-native-american-beliefs/
Molly Larkin talks about using cedar in her prayer time:
‘Praying with cedar
A lovely, traditional way of offering prayers for someone is to let them know, “I’m going to burn cedar for you.” It tells them you are going to pray for them with the smoke, which will carry your prayers up to the Creator.
In the winter, I place cedar on coals from my fireplace each morning when I pray.
Other times of the year, when I don’t have a fire going, I keep the cedar in small branches and light the branch. It doesn’t smoke for long, but it burns long enough to pray.’
While I do not ascribe to all of these native American traditions, neither do I discard them either – for there is much truth in native American culture and traditions, that must be brought to the Word of God for clarity.
I still remember the Easter sunrise service at the inter-tribal native American service here in Tulsa Spring of 2018. An Osage elder, burned cedar on the campfire in the middle of the teepee, and smoke filled the tent, its sweet smell reminding me of our prayer and worship ascending to the Creator, a sweet sacrifice unto him.
Biblically, cedar is a sacred wood, and it was used in primarily three ways:
When a sacrifice was made, a burnt offering to the Lord, the dove was bound with cedar before going into the fire, for cedar produces a beautiful aroma at all times, especially when burned.
Le 14:6 As for the living bird, he shall take it, and the cedar wood, and the scarlet, and the hyssop, and shall dip them and the living bird in the blood of the bird that was killed over the running water:
Throughout the history of God’s dealings with man, incense was offered up at the time of prayer, and as one wise elder phrased it; ‘symbolic of our prayers ascending to the throne of God’.
For those interested in my research on this topic, please read: https://www.chrisaomministries.com/2013/12/prayer-as-incense
For the purpose of what I feel impressed to do here, let me sum up what I believe Holy Spirit has been showing me about cedar – not only was it used for sacrifice, as incense, becoming a sweet aroma unto God, but Solomon built both the temple and his palace using cedar beams.
David, the greatest king of Israel after Jesus, built his palace using cedar:
2Sa 5:11 And Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David, and cedar trees, and carpenters, and masons: and they built David an house.
Solomon built his palace from cedar too:
1 Kings 7:
7 But Solomon was building his own house thirteen years, and he finished all his house.
2 He built also the house of the forest of Lebanon; the length thereof was an hundred cubits, and the breadth thereof fifty cubits, and the height thereof thirty cubits, upon four rows of cedar pillars, with cedar beams upon the pillars.
3 And it was covered with cedar above upon the beams, that lay on forty five pillars, fifteen in a row.
So then, since David and Solomon are great Kings, Biblically we could say that cedar is symbolic of Royalty.
Yet in between these accounts, we see beautiful intricate account of the construction of the First temple, recorded for us in 1Kings 5 and 6. The temple is where all of Israel would come to worship.
Let’s read a couple verses from this account:
1Ki 6:9 So he built the house, and finished it; and covered the house with beams and boards of cedar.
Beams and boards of cedar! Beautiful!
1Ki 6:10 And then he built chambers against all the house, five cubits high: and they rested on the house with timber of cedar.
1Ki 6:15 And he built the walls of the house within with boards of cedar, both the floor of the house, and the walls of the ceiling: and he covered them on the inside with wood, and covered the floor of the house with planks of fir.
Fir may be strong and great to walk upon, but when you look up to worship God, what would you see in the temple? Cedar!
1Ki 6:16 And he built twenty cubits on the sides of the house, both the floor and the walls with boards of cedar: he even built them for it within, even for the oracle, even for the most holy place.
1Ki 6:18 And the cedar of the house within was carved with knops and open flowers: all was cedar; there was no stone seen.
1Ki 6:20 And the oracle in the forepart was twenty cubits in length, and twenty cubits in breadth, and twenty cubits in the height thereof: and he overlaid it with pure gold; and so covered the altar which was of cedar.
1Ki 6:36 And he built the inner court with three rows of hewed stone, and a row of cedar beams.
So then, if God gave specific instructions on how to build the temple, and those instructions included cedar, I believe we can safely say, that the cedar in the temple symbolizes worship.
Sacrifice, Royalty, and Worship!
So we love to give cedar gifts, aromatic cedar because of its beautiful smell and grain patterns.
Yet mostly because we love Jesus, and recognize His perfect sacrifice that reconciles us to our heavenly Father the Creator.
Cedar is a beautiful gift our Father gives us, to help us in our worship of Him, in spirit and in truth, as living sacrifices before His throne, its aroma, reminding us and this world that we are to be the aroma of heaven, Christ’s love revealed to a broken world.
Here’s an article I wrote about Jesus: https://www.chrisaomministries.com/2017/02/27/do-you-want-to-go-to-heaven/
As many of you know, we had the privilege of participating in the flag raising ceremony on the Navajo (Dene’) capital in Window Rock, AZ in July of 2014 in the freshly created Garden of Reconciliation across from the Sports Complex there. Many know the story: Peace tree were donated in honor of the peace trees that were torched by the calvary initiating ‘The Long Walk’ of the Navajo, from canyon des Chelley to Ft. Sommner. Combat veterans donated a combat medal received in operation desert storm in Saudi Arabia, and a marine corp veteran donated his K-bar, and we held a formal flag raising ceremony raising 5 flags with Navajo president Ben Shelley presiding. Protocol gifts were presented to pastors there in the form of two hand carved cedar benches. An outer cedar amphitheatre was created shipped and constructed there, built from cedar (https://chrisaomministries.wordpress.com/2014/07/03/the-legend-of-the-cedars/)
In the center of the garden stands a 14′ tall cedar cross, that stands behind a cedar podium that houses the proclamation of reconciliation pronounced that day.