Acacia wood was the only wood used to build the Tabernacle. The Bible named the wood used in the Tabernacle as shittah, which translates as acacia. Despite acacia’s plentiful presence on the Sinai Peninsula, the tree had a drawback: a pair of straight, light gray thorns at the base of each leaf. When Israelites cut down trees and fashioned boards (planks) for the Tent of Meeting walls, furniture, and poles, they had to contend with these thorns.
God could have supplied trees without thorns for Israelites to make boards for Tabernacle structures. Why did God have Israelites use a tree with thorns? After all, the Tabernacle was an important structure of Israelite worship. Building it should have been easy.
One answer is that acacia tree thorns assisted Israelites to comprehend that just because they were out of Egypt didn’t mean that all would be smooth in their lives. In their new world, plants had thorns that could/would pierce and puncture their skin.
I am a conservative woman who is a Christian. Similar to Israelites on Sinai, Christian women in the 21st century need to work with what is available in their world. In the Sinai, an acacia tree was available. In my world thorns are persons, political parties, and at times even church. Some days, I think that there are more thorns than flowers in my environment. Some people just have so many thorns (and, of course, I don’t)!
Because opinions differ from mine, doesn’t mean others’ opinions are wrong. Possibly, my opinions and perspective are wrong (gasp!).
God put me in this life to live and interact with what and who is here. My interactions should promote God’s glory. How can we learn to interact with thorny people and institutions? I’ve thought of three ways:
First, we must know what we believe and why. If we claim to be Christian, we need to learn all we can about God and Christ; and know why and what we believe about them.
Second, we need to listen to different perspectives with an open mind; and not to only perspectives we agree with. I am so guilty of this one.
Third, we need to know when to keep quiet. If you don’t know about a certain issue, keep silent. You don’t have to have an opinion on every topic.
Importantly, we can deal with thorny problems while not becoming a thorny person.
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