The Blooming Almond Tree
Towards the end of every January or beginning of February, as the winter months and their sense of hibernation have lingered for what feels like much too long, the almond trees give us a spark of joy. Their blooming flowers signal that the season is on the precipice of change.
Almond trees love mild, wet winters and hot, dry summers. That is a characteristic of central Israel, so you can find many almond trees even along the roads leading to Jerusalem.
The limbs of the almond trees bud and blossom beautiful flowers of pink and white. It is quite a sight! And these bright lights announce to anyone looking to keep watch, because spring is coming!
What do Blooming Almond Trees Have to Do with My Life?
Because almond trees bloom early, but their fruit comes late, they are excellent harbingers of changing seasons. Their delicate flowers are the first signs of spring, meanwhile the nuts (fruit seed) are ripe for harvest at the very end of summer.
The LORD created our lives to have seasons, like King Solomon wrote. These periods of times mark events, whether they are important life stages or simply patterns of the weather. Solomon wrote there is a time for sadness and a time for joy. A time to rejoice and a time to mourn.
In other words, some seasons are full of life and growth, while some manifest with pain and loss.
It’s in those latter seasons that we wait, with bated breath, in anticipation and with expectancy, for that season of vibrant growth to give a sign of its coming.
Looking for Signs in Israel
Winters in Israel can be quite dreary and wet. Parts of the country are mountainous, so the days can get very cold. But in the midst of nature’s winter season, the LORD gives a sign of excitement marking that spring is about to sprout in the Holy Land.
This hard to miss and highly welcomed first indication of spring isn’t green pastures or a warm breeze. It’s a bit more subtle and it actually reveals itself before the weather makes its shift.
Because the LORD’s sign in Israel comes through a tree – the almond tree.
The Hebrew Word for Almond
The Hebrew word for almond is “shaked” (שקד ). And it appears only 4 times in the Old Testament.
In Genesis 43:11, it is classified as a delicacy when Jacob tells his sons to go down to Egypt. He sends them to find favor with pharaoh’s right hand (who was in fact his son, Joseph).
Its second mentioning, in Numbers 17:8, comments on how Aaron’s rod actually buds and produces almonds. It is the only one among the staffs of all other elders in Israel.
Ecclesiastes 12:5 mentions almonds as a mark of another year passing without joy or purpose. That was the third time the word appeared in the Hebrew Scriptures.
Where Else Can We Find Shaked in the Bible?
The fourth time “shaked” appears in the Bible is the one we want to focus on. As it is common in Hebrew, there is a little play on words in this context as well.
In Jeremiah 1:11-12, the LORD shows the prophet the picture of a physical almond tree in a vision to communicate a spiritual truth. Jeremiah recorded:
“The word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘Jeremiah, what do you see?’ And I said, ‘I see an almond branch.’ Then the LORD said to me, ‘You have seen well, for I am watching over my word to perform it.’”
But what do almonds have to do with watching over something?
This is a great example of something meaningful getting lost in translation. Because interestingly enough, the Hebrew word for “to watch, to be steadfast, to wake” is spelled exactly the same way as the word for almond!
Do you think it’s coincidental that the Lord spoke to Jeremiah about the almond tree, and then mentions watching over His Word? No, we don’t think so either!
The almond trees being the first to bud isn’t something that was decided by nature itself. It is a sign established by the LORD – it has His fingerprints all over it. And God wanted it to mean something.
Because He caused it to — the almond tree blossoms. And it brings excitement about change, a new season and renewed life.
Renewed life is something that God promised us from the beginning. John 10:10 tells us that one of the reasons why Yeshua came to earth was to give us life in abundance. It is the desire of our Savior for us to experience LIFE!
If you are currently in a season that feels – emotionally, relationally, or spiritually – like winter, take heart! Look to the almond tree and let God’s Word fill you with hope.
Hold steadily onto your faith because spring is coming. God’s promises are true and certain, and He prepared a good future for those who love Him. He is giving you a sign in the form of almond blossoms that He is at work.
The LORD prepared a garden for Adam and Eve to live in. And the garden was full of life, and growth, and fruit. It was a safe place filled with joy, but most importantly, filled with the Spirit of God.
This is the environment that you and I were created for. And the time will come when we will live in that Eden-like state with Elohim for all of eternity. A blooming almond tree is a reminder of that.
Until that permanent season comes, be encouraged. When the winter seems firmly set around you and it feels like it will never leave — look to the almond trees.
A Simple Guide Through the Biblical Holidays: Free PDF Download
You may know them as the “Jewish holidays,” but did you know the Bible calls them “Feasts of the LORD”?
We’ve put this guide together for you so that you have all you need to know about these holidays that God calls His own.
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