Summary: This is the first part of a three part series on Joseph.
THREE NECESSARY WOUNDS
TEXT: Psalm 105:17-22
Psalms 105:17-22 KJV He sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant:  Whose feet they hurt with fetters: he was laid in iron:  Until the time that his word came: the word of the LORD tried him.  The king sent and loosed him; even the ruler of the people, and let him go free.  He made him lord of his house, and ruler of all his substance:  To bind his princes at his pleasure; and teach his senators wisdom.
I. “WOUNDING” THE APPLE TREE
Recently, I ran across an article about the growth and care of apple trees. The article clearly gained my attention when the writer said that orchard owners will frequently “wound” the trees to produce more fruit. These owners will carefully prune the trees with what is called “clean, flesh wounds.” The owner is attempting in this process to limit the growth of leaves and wood in the tree. In fact, there are some who refer to this overall process as the “dwarfing” of the tree.
In Maine and New Hampshire, the apple orchard owners give careful attention to the growth of the trees. Generally, the trees which are the most productive are not the ones that are the most beautiful, often the more fruit, the less wood and leaves that a tree will demonstrate.
Sometimes a tree will really take off and begin to grow tall and outwardly will look very beautiful but have no fruit. This is where the concerned owner will move out into his orchard and will drop a huge wounding blow to the tree. The tree suddenly turns attention from growth to healing. In the efforts at healing, the tree turns its efforts from wood to fruit.
The orchard owner does not just capriciously decide to that he will one day walk out into the orchard and start cutting his trees. For an owner to do so would severely damage the potential yield that comes from the orchard. He carefully watches the seasons and will then go about this almost terrifying process of wounding his trees. Fall or winter pruning will bring much damage to the tree and some never recover if they are wounded at the wrong time. The orchard owner will “wound” his trees immediately prior to the spring and summer because this is the time of the most productive growth in the cycle of the tree. The “wounds” of the tree will heal during the time of Nature’s greatest and perhaps most tender touch of growth!
Much can be said about this in a spiritual sense. It may seem as if the trials and tribulations that come our way are unplanned and sudden in their onset but God, who takes our spiritual growth into careful consideration is never out of sync with the timing that is necessary to our progress in His Kingdom. He will “wound” us just prior to the times of greatest spiritual growth. It is foolish for a man to shake his fist at God and deem His patterns as ill-timed and without rhyme or reason. Trust in the Lord. . .
In addition to having a careful eye toward the season, the orchard owner will also give careful regard to which branches he “wounds” on his trees. He follows the guidelines that other apple growers have found to be useful. Ultimately the orchard owner will cut away the majority of the branches of the tree that only reach vertically or toward the sun. They have discovered that the most productive limbs are those which grow horizontally or lateral to the main trunk.