The Judean Date Palm – Resurrected Promises

by | Jan 8, 2022

Late last year I found myself lost deep in the halls of Youtube and I stumbled on a truly awesome story that has had me pondering ever since. It’s the story of the Judean date palm which until recently was categorised as being extinct. In ancient times the Judean date palm was prized and famed around the known world for it’s beautiful fruit which was thought to have healing properties. In the time of the Roman empire, Judean dates were shipped across the empire. In fact so iconic was the tree that on Roman coins, Judea came to be represented by the date palm. However a variety of factors including warfare and climate change began to put pressure on the judean date palm until by the 1400’s they had completely disappeared. Although today there are thousands of date trees in Isreal these trees are not the original species but they are trees cultivated in recent years from seeds imported from Morocco. It might have stayed that way but for the crazy faith of two Israeli women.

In 1964 the last stronghold of the Jewish rebellion against the Roman empire was excavated at a place named Masada. Masada was the place where the dream of an independent jewish Kingdom died in 74 AD. The last defenders of Masada committed suicide rather than being taken by Rome. Israel was seemingly extinct, her people were scattered to the four winds and as the centuries rolled by the improbability of the return of the name of Israel to the roll of nations grew greater and greater as time passed by. Those last defenders of Masada had partially sustained themselves with those famous dates, and threw the pits down into the desert soil that a few days later would soak up their own lives and absorb the dreams and prayers for freedom. They lay there for one thousand eight hundred and seventy three years when in 1947 the modern state of Israel was born. The rebirth and growth of Israel is in my estimation one of the greatest miracles in human history.

Then in 1964 when Masada was excavated the seeds of the dates that the defenders of Masada had eaten were found and taken to a museum where they were kept until in 2005 Dr. Sarah Sallon asked for and was given a few of those seeds. Many were incredulous when she said she intended to try and grow them. It probably seemed like an impossibility but perhaps she was inspired by David Ben Gurion, the first prime minister of Israel, who said “In Israel, in order to be a realist one must believe in miracles.” Some of the seeds grew! After two millennia laying dead in the desert soil they sprang to life after the Israeli horticulturalist soaked them in a bath of growth hormones and fertiliser and planted them. Now it seems likely that in the not too distant future the world will once again get to eat Judean dates. It seems appropriate that it is part of the Phoenix genus, because it has been reborn out of the flames of Masada.

For days after hearing this soil I was mediating on the potential and power of a seed. That hidden in  those ancient seeds from Masada lies in all likelihood a future industry of Judean dates from Israel. They were just waiting patently for a person with faith and for the right conditions and they came to life. It’s the same thing every time you crack open your Bible. When you hold your Bible in your hands you are holding a bag of seeds that are 2000 plus years old. They are the promises that God has made us and like the dates from Masada they are patiently waiting for the person of faith to bring them to life. It reminds me of the story Jesus told of the Farmer and the seed in Luke 5:5-15.

As you read through the story one realises that the potential harvest is never dictated by the seed but by the soil. The same is true with the promises of God. As Paul wrote to the Corinthians “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.” If God has promised something it is never a bad promise, rather it may be bad soil. Hardness, unbelief and wrong priorities can all steal or delay the harvest that God desires to give us.

A Spring Season to Sow

I believe this next season is a spring season for sowing. I believe that God is once again passing over the church and throwing out the seed of his promises, so prepare you heart to fully receive the promises he wants to give you. Repent of any cynicism, hardness of heart and make sure that other things are not crowding out the life of God in your life.

I sense that this year God is wanting to re-infuse hope into his church. You might have some old promises, seeds from years ago that haven’t germinated as yet. It is tempting to believe that there is an expiry date for the promises of God. However God is patient and his promises are ever-lasting. As the news story about the Judaen date palm illustrates, the promises of God can wait patiently and spring to life even when hope is lost. So if there are promises that you have tucked away, it is time to prepare them for life. Soak them in prayer and in the Holy Spirit. Then sow them into you life by declaring them. Get ready for the miraculous, resurrection power of God to bring them to life, and for fruit to follow.

An addition from Debbie:

Often gardeners will mount the seed packet with a colourful picture of the flower or fruit on a stick where they have planted those seeds. This reminds them what to expect in each place.

There is a lot of work in a springtime sowing season often with little visible evidence thereof. Initially you might not see much more than dirt as you water and tend your seeds. This is why we need to keep the vision in front of us. Your imagination is the womb of faith, so keep the vision before you as your patiently care for the seed. The bible says in Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Having faith is being convinced and expectant of what you cannot see right now, like our Father, calling “into existence the things that do not exist”.

Don’t loose heart when you don’t see immediate results. Something is forming, even though it may be hidden to the eye right now. Different seeds have different germinating periods. Babies take 9 months in the womb as God knits them together in the dark. Seeds like lettuce or broccoli take 3 days, an apple seed takes 2 months to germinate. Whatever the seeds is that is germinating, don’t grow weary in tending it and getting the environment ready to receive it. Hebrews 6:12-14, says “So don’t allow your hearts to grow dull or lose your enthusiasm, but follow the example of those who fully received what God has promised because of their strong faith and patient endurance. Now when God made a promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater than himself, he swore an oath on his own integrity to keep the promise as sure as God exists! So he said, “Have no doubt, I promise to bless you over and over, and give you a son and multiply you without measure!” So Abraham waited patiently in faith and succeeded in seeing the promise fulfilled.”

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