The word of the LORD came to me saying, “What do you see, Jeremiah?”
And I said, “I see a rod of an almond tree.” Then the LORD said to me,
“You have seen well, for I am watching over My word to perform it.” Jeremiah 1:11-12
Many of us can remember the candy bar jingle, “Sometimes you feel like a nut; sometimes you don’t.” The jingle was brought forth in 1977. The author earned $10 for the Almont Joy candy bar, and the candy bar company enjoyed massive success, even today in the 21st century.
According to various sources, the almond originated in the Middle East. It was known as one of the best products. The Bible first mentions the almond in Genesis 43:11 “Then their father Israel said to them, “If it must be so, then do this: take some of the best products of the land in your bags, and carry down to the man as a present, a little balm and a little honey, aromatic gum and myrrh, pistachio nuts and almonds.” According to Numbers 17, Aaron’s rod, made out of the almond tree, sprouted, thus denoting that he was God’s choice to be priest. “Now on the next day Moses went into the tent of the testimony; and behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi had sprouted and put forth buds and produced blossoms, and it bore ripe almonds.” It was a miracle that the rod blossomed. God’s choice was for Aaron to be priest. We also see the almond in the Temple menorah “Then you shall make a lampstand of pure gold. The lampstand and its base and its shaft are to be made of hammered work; its cups, its bulbs and its flowers shall be of one piece with it. Six branches shall go out from its sides; three branches of the lampstand from its one side and three branches of the lampstand from its other side. Three cups shall be shaped like almond blossoms in the one branch, a bulb and a flower, and three cups shaped like almond blossoms in the other branch, a bulb and a flower—so for six branches going out from the lampstand; and in the lampstand four cups shaped like almond blossoms, its bulbs and its flowers.
The Hebrew word for almond is שָׁקדַ shah-kahd. The Hebrew language is so beautiful. It is known as the Lashon Kodesh, the Holy tongue. The language is so holy that one cannot curse in Hebrew. Curse words are in English or Arabic.
In Jeremiah 1:11, the LORD asks Jeremiah a question “What do you see?” Jeremiah answers “I see a rod of an almond tree.” The almond is the first tree that awakens in the early spring. The almond is the early bird of trees, also known as the hasty tree. Even though Jeremiah was looking at a rod, a tool for chastening, the rod was the almond tree, the ‘hasty tree’. The LORD then does a play on words. His reply back to Jeremiah was “Then the LORD said to me, "You have seen well, for I am watching שֹׁקֵד (shoh-kayd) over My word to perform it." God had given Jeremiah a holy assignment; to prophecy against Israel, to condemn their heathen wickedness. God gave Jeremiah a very tough assignment. In addition to this holy assignment, God had Jeremiah remain unmarried, a difficult calling. Yet, with the challenge came the promise “I am watching over My word to perform it.” The LORD provided a play on the Hebrew word, almond דשָׁקַ shah-kahd and watching שֹׁקֵד shoh-kayd - the hasty tree and the watching, the assignment, the promise and the blessing.
Many of us are in the same place as Jeremiah. A holy assignment has been given. This holy assignment includes affliction. It is not an easy place; it is a lonely place. God calls His children aside at times, to endure affliction. It is not punishment, but to serve holy purpose for God’s perfect divine will. Only when we reach the other side, in heaven, will we truly understand God’s purposes for suffering. Perhaps the LORD has put a holy assignment upon you. You have found yourself in a challenging place, a place in which you have never been before. Grab hold to the tree; to the Cross, for there is power in the embracing of the Cross. Through your affliction, know that the LORD is watching שֹׁקֵד shoh-kayd; He sees.
Look upon my affliction and rescue me, for I do not forget Your law. Psalm 119:153
If Your law had not been my delight, then I would have perished in my affliction. Psalm 119:92
Remember the word to Your servant, in which You have made me hope. This is my comfort in my affliction, that Your word has revived me. Psalm 119:49-50