Restoring the Trees
Once there was a man who had a beautiful house with well kept gardens, full of the most glorious ﬂowers and blossoms, with orchards all around. Surrounding the man’s garden were many high trees. On the other side of the trees was a beautiful valley leading to a mountain with snow topped peaks. It was a sight to behold. Oh how the man wanted to wake up each morning and see that awesome sight! To open up the vista before him, he decided to cut the row of trees down. The man was pleased. No longer would he wake up to see the trees blocking his view but he would now see the fabulous snow capped mountains each morning as he took in the fresh dewy air.
As the months went by the seasons changed and the winds would come and blow down from the slopes of the mountain and sweep across the valley. Soon the man realised that the orchard trees began to bend and the blossoms did not stay on the trees as long. What’s more, he noticed that the tiles on the roof of his house would come loose and often rattle. So every year he would climb up and ﬁx them. Soon the man grew old, and his son took over the running of the estate. Every year just like every year previously, he too had to climb up and repair the loose tiles after the winds came. One day he realised that there was a deﬁnite noise coming from the windows of the house. The wind would whistle through the loose window frames and rattle the glass between them. The noise was now very apparent. The son had never really noticed the sound before because he had grown up with it. And so he went to the task of repairing the window frames. The son found a wife and soon they had children, and just like the son, the grandchildren roamed around the estate enjoying the landscape, especially during the summer holidays when the fruit harvest would be brought in by the workers from the nearby villages.
As the son became older, he no longer felt like climbing up around the house, repairing windows and tiles, and so he trained his eldest son to do the job. Time went on, and one day the eldest son came up with an idea. ‘Why don’t we plant a row of trees at the bottom of the garden? In time it will create a barrier from the winds that come up from the valley,’ he told his father.
‘What a great idea my son,’ said the father, ’let’s get to work.’
They chose the best type of trees that would grow high and thick, and would make a perfect barrier from the winds. They began to dig and prepare the ground for the newly arriving saplings. They worked hard, but they began to unearth tree stumps that had obviously been chopped down with axes. Suddenly, the father remembered the time when as a very little boy, he saw his own father with the labourers from the village, chopping down the trees. He had never given it a second thought, and so he told his own son of the day it had all happened and how when all the trees had been felled, the grandfather sat all day looking at the mountains, until sunset.
“Oh dear, father” the eldest son said. “If grandfather had never chopped those trees down we would not have to keep repairing our house every year; our trees would not be bent and the blossom would stay much longer.”
“I know son; I realise that now. But now we can make it right again, just as it used to be in the old days,” the father continued. “These trees will take many years to grow. By the time they are high enough, you too will be an old man like me, and maybe then you will stand here with your children and tell of the day you planted them, and of the day grandfather cut them down.”
Exodus 34 tells us that the sins or actions of the parent’s aﬀect the children for generations.
5 Adonai descended in the cloud, stood with him there and pronounced the name of Adonai. 6 Adonai passed before him and proclaimed: “YUD-HEH-VAV-HEH!!! Yud- Heh-Vav-Heh [Adonai] is God, merciful and compassionate, slow to anger, rich in grace and truth; 7 showing grace to the thousandth generation, forgiving oﬀenses, crimes and sins; yet not exonerating the guilty, but causing the negative eﬀects of the parents’ oﬀenses to be experienced by their children and grandchildren, and even by the third and fourth generations.” CJB