Some time ago I cut an old plum tree down that had grown in our yard since we have lived here. Due to the spring rains and other responsibilities I did not remove the stump until just recently. Even though the tree was gone and the stump looked like it was drying up, some small green shoots of growth came up from the base of the stump.
I remember years ago when dad would replace an old fence post with a new one cut from a locust tree when the sap was rising. Some time when the conditions were right a new sprout would grow from that locust post even though it had been cut from the tree and all visible signs of life were gone.
These two instances remind me of the Scripture in Job 14:7-9. Here God through Job is comparing the cutting down of a tree to the death of man in verse 12. I will not quote the whole but verse 7 says, “ for there is hope for a tree, if it is cut down it will sprout again”. The roots may grow old in the earth and its stump may die in the ground yet at the presence of water and proper conditions it will bud and sprout new growth.
Now lets look at what Job says about the other living part of God’s creation. In verse 12 he says “so man lies down and does not rise till the heavens are no more, they will not awake nor be roused from their sleep.”
May we take note of the comparison here; the tree is cut down, dies, and from the decaying stump sprouts an identical new plant just like the original.
Man dies and is put in the grave to return to the ground from whence he came. Unlike the tree no new physical life has ever come from the dead body of man that decays, and is dissolved; for the man breaths out his last breath and returns to dust.
Notice Job’s response to man’s plight in verse 13. “Oh, that you would hide me in the grave, that you would conceal me until your wrath is past, that you would appoint me a set time and remember me.” Job expresses this to be a privilege to be hidden from physical affliction and distress. To be kept in secret until all the unpleasant things of earth are no more. Job indicates, “I will rest here where you have concealed me until the appointed time for me and you will remember me”.
In verse 14, Job says, “If man dies shall he live again, I will wait till my change comes.” Here Job assures us of the certainty of a resurrection.
Isn’t the following Scripture enough to assure us that through Jesus Christ we will be remembered in the resurrection in the last day? In John 11:24, Martha said to Jesus concerning Lazarus, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
Jesus said “ I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me, though he may die he shall live.”
In the comparison of the tree stump and the man in Job 14, man’s spirit will return to God in the last day through faith in Jesus and his body will dissolve back to the ground from whence it came. What a great and significant difference.