July 8th Devotion

Monuments to the Lord
By Whitney Hopler 

“Evergreens will grow in place of thorn bushes, firs will grow in place of nettles; they will be a monument to the Lord, a permanent reminder that will remain.” – Amos 5:24, NET

While walking through the Royal Botanical Garden in Ontario, Canada – one of the world’s largest gardens – I often stopped to stand in front of especially large trees that inspired me with awe. The evergreen trees, in particular, filled my entire field of vision with green branches that spread out in all directions. Some of those evergreen trees were fir trees, which also gave off refreshing scents. It was mesmerizing to experience the strength and beauty of those trees!

In the middle of a fallen world filled with challenges, Amos 5:24 points us to hope. This verse reminds us of God’s power to make powerful, positive changes happen in our lives. The imagery of evergreens and firs replacing thorn bushes and nettles symbolizes a renewal that goes beyond just surface changes. It describes a deep, enduring transformation that God promises to his people. Evergreen trees, which stay green all year round, represent life that endures through all seasons. They are constant and unchanging – just like God’s faithful love for us. Fir trees, which are known for their strength and ability to withstand harsh conditions, remind us of the resilience and strength we gain when we root our faith in God and trust God’s promises.

The Bible describes these trees as a “monument to the Lord,” serving as a lasting testament to God’s grace and transformative power. Just as physical monuments stand as reminders of significant events or people, our lives can become living monuments to God’s work within us. Monuments are often built to commemorate great acts or significant milestones, standing as visible signs of remembrance and honor. They are meant to remind us of the past, and to inspire us in the future.

We become living monuments to God’s greatness when God works in our lives, transforming us from within. Our lives become renewed by God’s power so they can serve as enduring testimonies of God’s mercy and love. The transformation from thorn bushes to evergreens and from nettles to firs reflects the dramatic changes God brings to us. Thorn bushes and nettles, which cause pain and symbolize difficulty, are replaced by evergreens and firs, which are strong and beautiful. When we allow God to replace the thorn bushes and nettles of our lives – our struggles, sins, and pain – with his holiness, we become monuments of God’s redemptive power. We add to the living monument of our lives every time we trust God to help us overcome a challenge and experience God’s peace, and every time we seek God’s forgiveness and experience God’s mercy and grace.

This transformation is not just for our own benefit; it’s also a powerful witness to others. People around us can see the changes God has made possible in our lives. As living monuments, we shine a powerful light in this dark world, inviting others to experience the wonder of God’s work in their own lives. We become part of God’s ongoing story of redemption, reflecting God’s glory and drawing others to him. Our renewed lives become living monuments that point the people who know us toward God’s powerful love.

So, let’s invite God to replace the thorn bushes and nettles in our lives with evergreens and firs. Let’s trust in God’s ability to bring about lasting, positive change. When we do, we become monuments to the Lord – living testimonies of God’s redemptive work, inspiring others to seek God and experience his love themselves.
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