Not Actually a Tree

Joshua Trees grow in the Mojave Desert and they look like palm trees and act like a cactus, as they can store water and they are called succulents.  The story says that a group of Mormons were in the Mojave Desert when they spot this odd shaped tree and one of them exclaims, “It looks like Joshua holding out his hands to guide the Israelites across Canaan”, and the tree had a name.  Joshua had spent 40 years roaming around in the desert after leaving Egypt till God finally let the Israelites into the Promised Land.  The problem with this, was that the Promised Land was occupied and in order to settle in this land, the Israelites had to conquer everyone.  After the Israelites won the battle of Jericho, they set their sights on the city of Ai.  The Old Testament God was a vengeful God who demanded compliance and often tested the faith of His people.  A man named Achan was disobedient by taking spoils from Jericho and because of the sin of Achan, the Israelite army was defeated at the small city of Ai.

Joshua was a man of great faith, and he was upset after this humiliating defeat, so he lifted up his arms and looked up at the sky to pray for direction.  Once Achan and his family were punished, the sin was purged, and God told Joshua that he would have a victory over Ai.  Joshua had some of his men move away from the city to set an ambush.  When the men of Ai saw Joshua, they chased after him, but the plan was to lure them away from the city.  God tells Joshua to hold out a javelin and this was the signal for the men waiting in ambush to attack the city.  These men set the city on fire and as the men of Ai see their city burning, Joshua stops running away, turns around and they start fighting their pursuers.  Twelve thousand men and women of Ai were killed that day by the Israelites.

I don’t see these Joshua trees looking anything like Joshua lifting up his arms and looking at the sky to pray, but I guess people see what they want to see.  The Mormons were searching for their own Promised Land, and this may be why they were thinking about Joshua.  I guess it is possible that some of these Mormons may have stumbled upon some peyote buttons in the Mojave Desert and that helped them to see this, but we will probably never know why they saw Joshua in this tree, that is not actually a tree.

Written for Linda G. Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday where today the prompt is to use the word tree.

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