”The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree” (Psalm 92:12).
There are many ways in which the Bible communicates to us spiritual truths. One of those ways is by taking the subjects and objects of nature. God often draws our attention to certain things of nature for the purpose of illustrating a spiritual truth. Today I want to draw your attention to one of those objects and that being the palm tree. There are 60 references to the palm tree in the Bible.
There are more than 2,500 species of palm trees. The palm rises upright with a slender stem 40 to 50 feet, and at times, even 80 feet. Its only branches are the feathery green fronds that spread out from its top to a length of 6 to 12 feet. When we consider the palm tree, there are many features of the palm that could illustrate a spiritual truth. In our consideration of the palm tree I want to limit our focus to our promise text ”The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree” (Psalm 92:12).
THE PERSON THAT IS DESCRIBED AS A PALM TREE!
The Bible speaks of the ”righteous” as the ones that are being compared to the palm tree. As believers we are made righteous in Christ. We are declared righteous in the finished work of Jesus Christ. The Bible says in Romans 5:19, ”For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” The only way a person can be right with God (saved) is through the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore we must depend on the Lord Jesus and His righteousness to be saved or made right with God.
Because we are righteous, we are to live righteous. Or to put it another way, since we are saved, we are act like we are saved.
In Jewish literature, the ”righteous” was those marked by possession of certain qualities and by the absence of other qualities. Some of the positive qualities named were mercy, benevolence, love of neighbour, truthfulness, honour to parents, and chastity. Negative traits of the righteous include: freedom from bloodshed, violence, and envy. When Psalm 92 compares the righteous to the palm tree it is speaking of someone that is righteous and therefore lives a righteous life. There are certain qualities that are present in their life and certain qualities that are absent in their life. The righteous is one who says they are saved and as well shows they are saved. Our walk matches our talk.
THE PROSPERITY THAT IS DEPICTED IN THE PALM TREE!
The Bible speaks of “flourishing” to imply a Christian life that is prospering spiritually and a spiritual prosperity that is manifested in certain ways in the Christian. The use of the word suggests a Spiritual Progression. By spiritual progression I refer to spiritual growth. The Bible says in 1 Peter 2:2, ”As new-born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word that ye may grow thereby.” The Christian life is to be one of spiritual growth.
I think one of the great examples of spiritual growth in the Bible is found in 1 John 2:13, ”I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father.” If you notice the verse carefully you see that three levels of maturity are depicted in the verse. There are little children, young men, and then fathers. At one stage in our life we are little children. But as we age, grow and mature we become young men. Then there is the point that we become fathers. It is a picture of spiritual growth.
Spiritual growth means that I am learning more about Christ. It means that I am constantly maturing in my walk with the Lord. It means that I am growing in my comprehension of His will for my life. It means that I am growing spiritually stronger. Can I challenge you to ask yourself several questions? Let’s each of us ask ourselves:
- Am I closer to the Lord today than I was this time a year ago?
- Has my knowledge of God’s word and will increased over the past year?
- Am I stronger and more able to deal with the temptations that cross my path day by day?
- Am I becoming more like Christ in how I act and react?
- Do spiritual things have a greater involvement and interest in my life than this time a year ago?
- Is my faith in God’s promises stronger and growing stronger each day?
- Do I find myself becoming more faithful to God’s house, God’s word, and God’s work?
- Do you find yourself becoming spending more time in God’s Word and more time with God in prayer?
- Do I find myself sharing my faith with others more frequently and less fearfully?
If we will answer those questions honestly, the answers will tell us much about how we are growing spiritually. Our text tells us that the righteous shall flourish. There will be spiritual growth and progression in our Christian life.
Secondly, the various uses of the word not only suggest the thought of spiritual progression but also of Spiritual Production. When we think of the righteous flourishing we think of one that is fruitful and productive in their life. Their life is not marked by barrenness. Take the date palm for example. It is a very productive. A healthy male date palm can produce 300 to 600 pounds of dates per year. A female date palm may bear 200 to 1,000 dates in a cluster. The Lord Jesus never intended the Christian life to be barren and unproductive. Jesus has chosen us that we should go and bring forth fruit (John 15:16)
THE PICTURE THAT IS DRAWN FROM THE PALM TREE!
We have considered the words ”righteous” and ”flourishing.” In closing let’s look at the words, ”like a palm tree.” Our text tells us that the righteous will flourish like the palm tree. How does the palm tree flourish? Let me share with you a few things about the palm tree and how it flourishes.
- Where the Palm Tree Flourishes: Palm tree survives and even flourishes in the most adverse circumstances. You find the date palm in the desert. You find it in a place where most other plant life is absence because the desert heat by day and cold by night. You find the palm tree in a place where there is little rainfall, yet it still flourishes. This picture is of a believer flourishing in the midst of difficult and adverse situations and circumstances. Tragedy does not stop them. Adversity does not cause them to wilt. The difficult times do not stop them from serving God and bearing fruit unto the Lord. No matter what they are going through and where they are at, they flourish like the palm tree.
- When the Palm Tree Flourishes: The seeds of the date palm normally take 4-5 months to germinate. It is in the eighth year that the tree begins to bear fruit. The picture is of a young believer growing spiritually and as they grow they began to bear spiritual fruit. A single date palm can bear up to 600 pounds of a year. The female date palm may bear 200-1,000 dates per cluster. Even more fascinating is that the date palm will bear fruit annually for well over 100 years. The Bible says, “The righteous will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green” (Ps. 92:14).
- Why the Palm Tree Flourishes: The reason the palm tree can survive in a desert environment is because of the root system. The date palm does not have a tap root, but thousands of little rootlets, most no thicker than a human finger spread out and down beneath the surface. The roots may be small but they are so firm that it can stand even in a monsoon. The large number of roots allows it to reach out and down and draw the water and nourishment it needs to survive and flourish.
Colossians 2:7 says, ”Rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.’ The secret to a flourishing life is our relationship to Jesus. In Him we find and draw the resources to flourish like the palm tree! God bless you. YOU SHALL FLOURISH LIKE A PALM TREE!