With fall approaching, leaves will soon be filling up our garden view, whether we are gazing at spectacular autumn color or leaf-littered lawns! Enjoy the following “leaves” Scriptures, for the hours ahead, lost in raking, shredding, mulching, playing, and hauling to compost, and see a connect-the-dots-style drama unfold of God’s forgiveness and healing.
Scene 1: Fig Leaves and the Fall.
Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
Genesis 3:7 NIV
The first mention of leaves in the Bible comes after that fateful moment of “leaving God’s way” (pun intended!).
the reach for fig leaves to cover themselves highlights in horticultural detail Adam and Eve’s leaving God’s way for their own way.
—“Fruiting, Not Leaving,” God’s Word for Gardeners Bible, page 16
The attention drawn to fig leaves, and not fig fruit, is a subtle yet strong indicator that the first couple ignored the words of God, casting off his good-hearted, loving leadership for their own fruitlessness. The drama begins as they leave the LORD’s communion and the intimate Garden of Eden, headed wayward across the hard-scrabble land.
Scene 2: Mint Leaves and Hypocrisy.
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness.”
Matthew 23:23 NIV
Many Bible books later, from the first of the Old Testament, Genesis, to the first of the New, Matthew, leaves continue to indicate a departure from the ways of the Lord. The Pharisees were tithing dill and mint leaves routinely, yet completely missing the ways of justice and mercy; the faithfulness of their payments was a cover for fraudulence of their hearts.
Scene 3: Hyssop Leaves and Forgiveness.
A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
John 19:29-30 NIV
The tiny hyssop leaves contrast the mighty moment of the cross, where Jesus gave his life so that our lives could return to God’s communion. Jesus made the way for God’s forgiveness to come to us, and we have a leafy connection through hyssop to help take hold of this truth.
“by his wounds you have been healed.”
1 Peter 2:24 NIV
Final Scene: Healing Leaves and Happy Ever After.
On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.
Revelation 22:2 NIV
In the end, the tears are wiped dry, there will be no more pain. The ravages of injustice, cruelty, and betrayal—everything that has come by leaving God and his justice, mercy, and faithfulness—are healed. Rejoice, gardeners! The Lord takes the very symbol of departure from his ways and will, leaves, to be the instrument of his healing. Hallelujah! May you rejoice in the leaf piles this fall!
Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies.
Psalm 103:2-4 NLT
Learn more about growing these featured plants in your garden from our Plant Guide:
fig trees — gardenndelight.wpengine.com/plant-guide/fig/
hyssop — gardenndelight.wpengine.com/plant-guide/hyssop/
mint — gardenndelight.wpengine.com/plant-guide/mint/
©2015 Shelley S. Cramm for photos of fig, mint, and hyssop leaves
Children rejoicing in the leaves c. 1977 – that’s me, my brother and cousins “helping” to rake leaves on our grandparents front lawn, my dad or aunt likely took this picture