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From the Cedar to The Hyssop 

Solomon wrote of the grandest trees to the insignificant bush

First Kings 4.33

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • August 21, In the year of our Lord, 2016

Scripture Reader and Reading: Dave Fitzwater – John 19.28–30

Song Leader and Song Suggestions: Kevin Michael – Songs on creation


  1. Last Wednesday evening for my Bible class, 
    1. we went through First Kings 4,
    2. that spoke of
      1. some of the glories of Solomon’s kingdom, and
      2. some of his own personal glories.
  2. One of his glories was 
    1. that Solomon sought to know all the works of God.
    2. We know of his spiritual wisdom, but
    3. he also examined God’s natural creation, and
      1. much of God’s natural creation
      2. shows up in Solomon spiritual writings,
        1. especially in the Song of Solomon.
        2. You see, the same God
          1. who gave us the Bible,
          2. also gave us creation.
            1. Many people do not accept that, or
            2. they simply have not given it much thought.
              1. However, open your eyes more as you read Scripture, and
              2. you will see how often the Bible refers to natural creation,
                1. then you will understand why Solomon
                2. observed all parts of God’s creation.
  3. First Kings 4 includes this reference to his familiarity with nature,

    33 Also he spoke of trees, from the cedar tree of Lebanon even to the hyssop that springs out of the wall; he spoke also of animals, of birds, of creeping things, and of fish (1Ki 4.33).

    1. Concerning the plant kingdom,
      1. Solomon knew and spoke of the grandest to the least,
      2. from the highest to the lowest,
        1. at least of what was available to him.
        2. For him that would have been
          1. the cedars of Lebanon and
          2. the hyssop that springs out of the wall.


  1. The Cedar Tree of Lebanon 
    1. The following comes from

      Early Use
      The cedar of Lebanon (Cedrus libani) was prized throughout the ancient Near East. The Palermo Stone [The Palermo Stone is one of seven surviving fragments of a stele known as the Royal Annals of the Old Kingdom of Ancient Egypt, DR] indicates cedar was imported to Egypt in the reign of the 4th dynasty king Sneferu, ca. 2613-2589 BC. One of its primary uses was for boat construction. The Egyptian tale of Wen-Amun, from ca. the 11th century BC, recounts the travels of an Egyptian official to Byblos to negotiate for cedar wood. One of the earliest references to cedar in Mesopotamia comes from the reign of Sargon of Akkad, ca. 2334-2279 BC.
      Biblical Significance
      Commonly referred to in Scripture as the cedars of Lebanon, this aromatic, durable wood was highly desirable for building in Iron Age Israel. David used in it [sic] building his palace (2 Sam 5:11; 1 Chr 17:1), and Solomon used it in the construction of the temple and a palace for himself (2 Chr 2:3-8). He was said to make the cedar as plentiful in Jerusalem as sycamore-fig trees in the Shephelah (2 Chr 1:15). The second temple was also constructed from cedars (Ezra 3:7).Cedar of Lebanon cones
      These giant, beautiful, evergreen trees grow in mountainous regions, at altitudes of 3,300-6,500 feet (1,000-2,000 m). They can be found in Lebanon, south-central Turkey, and Cyprus. They produce cones which grow on top of the branch. The trees can attain a height of 100 feet (30 m) and the trunk may reach 6 feet (2 m) in diameter. Compared with the trees of Israel, the cedar is indeed a mighty tree, and it is highly praised in Scripture.
    2. What does the Bible say or how does the Bible use the Cedars of Lebanon?
      1. In Judges 9, Jotham used it in his fable,

        15 And the bramble said to the trees,
        “If in truth you anoint me as king over you,
        Then come and take shelter in my shade;
        But if not, let fire come out of the bramble
        And devour the cedars of Lebanon!”
        (Jdg 9.15)
      2. First Kings 7 gives the dimensions of one of the homes that Solomon built,

        2 He also built the House of the Forest of Lebanon; its length was one hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits, with four rows of cedar pillars, and cedar beams on the pillars (1Ki 7.2).
      3. Ezra 3.7 shows that they used these trees for the second temple.
      4. In Psalm 29, the psalmist showed the power of God’s voice,

        5 The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars,
        Yes, the Lord splinters the cedars of Lebanon.
        (Psa 29.5)
      5. Psalm 104 tells us who planted the Cedars of Lebanon,

        16 The trees of the Lord are full of sap,
        The cedars of Lebanon which He planted…
        (Psa 104.16)
      6. In The Song of Solomon 5, the Shulamite spoke of Solomon’s countenance as the Cedars of Lebanon,

        15 His legs are pillars of marble
        Set on bases of fine gold.
        His countenance is like Lebanon,
        Excellent as the cedars.
        (Song 5.15)
      7. Isaiah 2 describes what God shall do to haughty people,

        10 Enter into the rock, and hide in the dust,
        From the terror of the Lord
        And the glory of His majesty.
        11 The lofty looks of man shall be humbled,
        The haughtiness of men shall be bowed down,
        And the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day.
        12 For the day of the Lord of hosts
        Shall come upon everything proud and lofty,
        Upon everything lifted up—
        And it shall be brought low—
        13 Upon all the cedars of Lebanon that are high and lifted up,
        And upon all the oaks of Bashan…
        (Isa 2.10–13)
  2. The Hyssop that Springs Out of the Wall 
    1. What does the Bible say or how does the Bible use hyssop?
      1. Exodus 12 explained to the Israelites coming out of Egypt how to observe the Passover,

        22 “And you shall take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. And none of you shall go out of the door of his house until morning” (Exo 12.22).
      2. Leviticus 14.4, 6, 49, 51–52 shows that hyssop was used in the cleansing of lepers.
      3. Numbers 19.6, 18 shows hyssop used in conjunction with cedar in one of the offerings.
      4. Psalm 51 shows that David understood how hyssop was used in purification, and he wanted it applied spiritually,

        7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
        Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
        (Psa 51.7)
      5. And remember from John 19,
        1. that while the Son of God hung upon the cross,
        2. He thirsted and they used hyssop to give Him a drink,

          28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst!” 29 Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth (John 19.28–29).

          1. Which shows that He probably was not as high up
          2. as paintings often show, because
            1. hyssop would not reach that high.
  3. Be Like Solomon 
    1. Appreciate the beauties of nature, for
      1. your heavenly Father created it all.
      2. However, it is not just about observing the beauty,
        1. it is letting that beauty show us
        2. that there is a God in heaven, for
          1. beauty does not happen by accident, but
          2. beauty comes from an artist.
            1. If you have art,
            2. you have an artist.
    2. Look at creation and
      1. think on what you have seen.
      2. Most of us when we see a spectacular sight in nature,
        1. glorify God in some manner.
        2. We know that from the grandest things to the smallest things,
          1. they did not happen by accident, but
          2. that a Being of infinite wisdom and power made it all.
    3. See if you can make a spiritual connection. For example,
      1. Learn from the ant (Pro 6).
      2. Look at the birds of the air and that they always have food (Matt 6).
      3. Consider the lilies of the field and know that God will clothe you (Matt 6).
      4. Listen to Jude speak,

        12 These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots; 13 raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever (Jude 12–13).
      5. Read the Song of Solomon and notice all the nature comparisons.
  4. Let the Natural Works of God Lead You to Praise Him 
    1. In Psalm 104, the psalmist wrote of the wonders of God’s creation, including
      1. the heavens,
      2. clouds,
      3. wind,
      4. the Earth,
      5. Noah’s Flood,
      6. drink for all animals,
      7. grass,
      8. vegetation,
      9. produce,
      10. wine,
      11. oil,
      12. bread,
      13. the Cedars of Lebanon,
      14. birds,
      15. goats,
      16. rock badgers,
      17. seasons,
      18. the moon,
      19. the sun,
      20. predators, and
      21. man.
    2. Then the writer burst out with this,

      24 O LORD, how manifold are Your works!
      In wisdom You have made them all.
      The earth is full of Your possessions—
      (Psa 104.24)

      1. Therefore, whether you notice the redwoods or the grass,
      2. praise God for His wonderful creations.
  5. General Observations 
    1. Pursue the knowledge that comes from God.
    2. Acquiring knowledge requires observation.
    3. Natural creation teaches us many things about God, life, and biblical truths.
    4. Even as the cedar and the hyssop depend upon God so do we.
    5. Even as God used both the cedar and the hyssop He can and does use you, whether you are cedar-like, hyssop-like, or something in between.
    6. The scientific investigation of creation leads to the Creator.
    7. Be aware of the natural creation, and, remembering that it is the work of God, treat it well.


  1. The Jews demanded that the Romans nail Jesus to a tree,

    13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”)… (Gal 3.13).
    24 [Jesus] Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed (1Pe 2.24).

    1. Not only did He die on a tree, but
    2. they would have used hammers with handles made from wood.
  2. Someone had compassion on Jesus and gave Him a wine-soaked sponge on hyssop for Him to suck on the sponge. 
  3. He also wore something more stout than the hyssop, but 
    1. not as grand as the cedar of Lebanon.
    2. He wore a crown of thorns,
      1. perhaps from a vine, or
      2. even from a tree like this one from our yard.
  4. All of creation, and 
    1. what Jesus did here,
    2. including His death,
      1. was for the glory of God, and
      2. we fit into that when we recognize Him as the Creator, and
        1. when we go to Him through Jesus. 03951,Presentation Featured Image