Juniper (or Broom) The Common juniper is an evergreen conifer. Mature trees can reach a height of 10m and live for up to 200 years. Its bark is grey-brown and peels with age, and its twigs are reddish brown. It is also known as broom due to it’s long needles. We come across this the Juniper in 1 Kings 19 3-8
“Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.
All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.
The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God.”
It’s struck me that it is often at those moments when we feel lie giving-up, that God refreshes us with rest and sustenance and encouragement. Such care enabling us not only to travel on but to reach the Mountain of the Lord.
Truth to tell, the distance across the wilderness to mount Horeb is no more than a three day’s journey. What the forty days is saying to both Elijah and us is that we are given enough sustenance even for our wanderings and diversions.
Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wand’ring from the face of God;
He, to save my soul from danger,
Interposed His precious blood.
O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let that grace, Lord, like a fetter,
Bind my wand’ring heart to Thee.
Teach me, Lord, some rapturous measure,
Meet for me Thy grace to prove,
While I sing the countless treasure
Of my God’s unchanging love.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it;
Prone to leave the God I love:
Take my heart, oh, take and seal it
With Thy Spirit from above.
Rescued thus from sin and danger,
Purchased by the Saviours blood,
May I walk on earth a stranger,
As a child and heir of God.