Last week, I presented an object lesson about culinary nuts, and some lessons we can learn from them.  A number of kind people have asked me to post my notes, so here they are.

There are three kinds of nuts identified in the Bible:

1.  Almonds–They teach us of God’s Favor

  • Numbers 17:8  When God wanted to identify His choice for the people of Israel, He had Aaron’s rod not only bud and blossom, but to produce almonds.
  • Ecclesiastes 12:5  The almond blossom is used as an analogy for white hair, which is a sign of God’s blessing (Prov. 16:31)
  • Exodus 25:33-34  When God wanted to decorate the Holy Place of the Tabernacle, He instructed Moses to construct the Lampstand in the form of almond buds and blossoms.
  • Trivia:  the almond is actually a member of the peach family; and because it ripens early and does not keep well, the nuts are usually pickled in brine to extend the shelf life.
  • The almond teaches us that God loves us and will use His own means to demonstrate the things that please Him.

2.  Pistachios–They teach us of God’s Riches

  • Genesis 43:11  Jacob sent nuts as one of the gifts to Egypt–the Hebrew word is specifically the word for pistachios.  These grew in Lebanon and Syria, and thus were expensive and precious.
  • Trivia:  Pistachio trees are male and female–it takes two trees to produce the fruit.  The female tree will produce about 50,000 seeds every two years.  Pistachios were originally dyed to hide the bruising caused by hand picking; today, if they are dyed it is only as a matter of preference.  (When dyed red, they have been marinated in a mixture including salt and strawberries.
  • The pistachio teaches us that God shares with us His riches–every good and perfect gift comes from Him–and, of course, the most precious is Jesus Christ Himself.

3.  Walnuts–They teach us of God’s Comfort

  • Song of Solomon 6:11  The bride goes walking in the garden of nuts–the Hebrew word is the word for walnuts.  Though walnuts were eaten, and their shells were used to make dyes, the chief purpose of walnut trees at the time was for shade.  The walnut garden would have been a cool and beautiful place because of the overshadowing trees.
  • Trivia:  Walnut trees secrete chemicals into the soil to prevent competing vegetation from growing too close and depleting their water or nutrients.
  • The walnut teaches us that God wants us to enjoy this wonderful world in which He has placed us, and to look ahead to the comfort of that heavenly rest yet to come.

Other nuts are not mentioned in the Bible, but can still teach us about God.  Romans 1 tells us that we can learn of God through nature.

4.  Brazil nuts–They teach us of God’s protection

  • It is almost miraculous that brazil nuts exist at all.  The blossom that produces the nuts (seeds, actually) is tightly wrapped into itself, and can only be opened and fertilized by a particular breed of large, strong, long-tongued female bees–but they are not attracted to the blossom.  They are attracted to the smaller male bees, but only after they have interacted with a specific orchid, which does not grow on the tree of the brazil nut.  So God put the orchid near by to attract the male bee, who then moves to the brazil nut blossom and attracts the female, who ends up fertilizing the plant.  That chain of required events did not evolve–it shows Divine intelligent design!
  • In addition, while the nuts are taking 14 months to develop, they must be protected from insects and other jungle creatures, so they grow inside a hard, wooden casing like a coconut shell (8-24 nuts per shell).  This casing also protects them when they ripen and fall to the ground–often a fall of 100 feet or more!  Yet, to propagate the species, God left a hole in the shell, and created a rodent called the agouti who can use its strong jaws and teeth on the hole and open the casing to release the nuts.  The animal will eat some of the brazil nuts, and bury the rest for later.  Because each nuts has its own strong shell, they can last underground for decades–which is good, because they cannot germinate and grow until their planting ground is in sunlit warmth, which does not happen on the jungle floor until a tree falls and lets the sunshine in.  When that happens, then the life cycle starts over.
  • The brazil nut teaches us how God has planned for our protection and our good in every aspect of our lives;  even when we fall, we will not break.  Even when our security is ripped open, we will survive.  And even when we must patiently wait for His next blessing, we know that one day we will thrive.

5.  Cashews–They teach us of God’s ingenuity,  and our creation in His image.

  • Cashews are poisonous–that’s why you NEVER see a cashew in a shell.  The bud and blossom form, then the nut (seed) grows from it, and then a red or yellow fruit grows between the nut and the bud.  This “cashew apple” is edible and highly desired by the people who cultivate them.  (They are too fragile for transport, which is why we never see them in our stores.)  However, the nut itself, now in a hard shell attached to the bottom of the fruit, is highly poisonous until the shell is roasted and removed.  In fact, the roasting must be done outside to prevent the poison from affecting the workers!  Once that is done, however, what is left is a delicious nut.
  • The fruit is edible; so who decided to eat the nut?  Who invented the means for removing the poisonous shell to make it safe to eat?  We will never know.  But we know this:  God is the creator, and He made us in His image–which means that man is creative.  This creativity that comes from our Maker is the source of the curiosity and inventiveness that has made our lives so much easier and more pleasant.
  • The cashew nut teaches us that God wants us to have dominion over nature, and to use the abilities He has given to discover and unlock the secret pleasures He has prepared for us.

We have a Great God, Who has put us in a wonderful world!  Let’s look for lessons about our Creator in everything we see!