Today we turn to Psalm 92:12 – 15: The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. 13 Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. 14 They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing; 15 To shew that the Lord is upright: he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him. Psalms 92:12-15 KJV
The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree:
The first question that comes to mind is why a palm tree? And what does it mean to flourish like the palm tree? Well, to understand this analogy, a figure of speech used here to emphasize how the righteous are to flourish, we need to understand the palm tree of the Bible lands.
According to Bishop K. C. Pillai, there are four types of palm trees that grow in that area: the coconut palm, the date palm, the plantain or banana palm, and the palm tree of the scriptures. The one God is referring to grows straight and tall, up to 80 or 90 feet. In all their height they do not change in thickness. They are a very strong palm that can withstand severe weather, even monsoons; they are flexible and bend in the storms but do not break. Their root system is so secure that no palm has ever been known to be uprooted by a storm. Like the palm, we, those who are made righteous by God, are to grow straight and stand tall. Even if the storms of life batter us we are flexible in nature and steadfast in God’s Word so that we do not break or are uprooted. In hard times and good times we flourish like the palm.
The palm tree that God talks about also bears fruit all year long. From January through March you can obtain milk from the fruit, from April through June the fruit can be broken open and the meat eaten. From July through September the fruit has become soft enough to be peeled like one would an apple and eat the flesh, and in October through December it can be eaten like a plum. The fruit is a bit larger than a grapefruit and is supplied abundantly all throughout the year. So, to the eastern mind, when God says flourish like the palm, not only will he grow straight and be steadfast but have fruit to give abundantly through all seasons.
The palm tree is a symbol of fruitfulness, uprightness, steadfastness, health and longevity. God had its image engraved on the House of the Lord in an abundance of places symbolizing the fruitfulness, uprightness, steadfastness, health and longevity that He can provide to His people (I Kings 6, Ezekiel 40-42). We are God’s people; flourish like the palm tree. Continually produce fruit so others may be drawn in and partake, be upright and stand fast in God’s Word. Be healthy, God can make and keep you that way. And for as along as you live feed God’s people.
The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree:
The Hebrew word “flourish” used here means: to bloom or blossom; to spread or grow; to fly (as extending the wings); to break forth; to break out; to spring up. Palm trees are known for their long life. To “flourish like a palm tree” means to stand tall and to live long. The AMPLIFIED BIBLE says that the righteous will be: long-lived, stately, upright, useful, and fruitful.
Palm trees have been important to humans throughout much of history. They are mentioned nearly 40 times in the Bible. Palm trees are among the best known and most widely cultivated plant families in the world. Palms can be found in every type of habitat, from rainforests to deserts – which means that they can grow almost anywhere. In barren soil palm trees are watered deep at the roots. They are not just functional in providing shade, but practically all the parts of the palm have a useful purpose. The fruit of the palm provided a great part of the diet of the East. Various palms also provide a great variety of usable materials – both in Bible days and now. The various parts of the palm tree produce highly nutritious foods, fruits, oils and syrups, waxes, dyes, medicines, varnish, raffia and palm woods. From the products of the palm tree, you can make furniture, baskets, doormats, brushes, mattresses, ropes, thatching and clothing. In many historical cultures, palms were symbols for victory, fertility, peace and plenty. Palms were laid before Jesus at His triumphal entry into Jerusalem.
The uncompromisingly righteous will be like a palm tree – long-lived, stately, upright, useful, and fruitful! They can grow, flourish and produce fruit anywhere in any conditions!
The righteous shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon:
The Hebrew word, “grow” means: to enlarge – especially upward; to grow; to grow up; to increase. The AMPLIFIED BIBLE says that the righteous: shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon – majestic, stable, durable, and incorruptible! Cedar trees were very important in Bible days. They have strong, beautiful wood and they were used to build very important and stately buildings, such as temples and palaces. The words cedar, cedars or cedar wood are found nearly 80 times in the Bible.
Cedar trees are large, evergreen trees, which live a very long time and grow very tall. The cedars of Lebanon were particularly large and of the best quality. Cedar trees are common in forest areas that have a good deal of annual rainfall. Cedar trees can live a long time, because the moist habitat they enjoy is relatively free of fire. Their wood is also very resistant to disease. The wood of cedar trees has a very pleasant smell, which comes from natural oils in the wood that are toxic to insects and fungus. These oils do not develop in the younger cedar trees, which often leads to the rotting of their heartwood, resulting in mature trees that have hollow trunks. Cedar trees have been very important to humans for thousands of years. Their wood was used to build buildings, canoes and boats, and other useful items. Their bark was used to make blankets and coverings. Cedar wood is also an excellent source of fuel.
They usually grow to a height of 50 feet, but some grow 80 to 100 or 120 feet tall and can be 30-40 feet around the trunk, thus, they were solid, strong, and immovable. Some are supposed to be 1,000 years old! Cedars express the ideas of majesty, durability, incorruptibility, and stability. The older they get, the better they get!
The uncompromisingly righteous shall grow up like a cedar in Lebanon – majestic, stable, durable, and incorruptible. Even though they may face challenges, they keep on going and keep on growing. They are honorable; they are incorruptible; they are solid, stable and immovable; they endure through the years and through the seasons of life; they have withstood the onslaught of sin, devils and demons; they have withstood sickness and disease; they only improve with age; they are clothed with strength and dignity; they will stand before kings; they will be held in honor. The righteous are upright, strong, and unmoved by the winds of circumstance. If you place your faith firmly in God, then you too can have and enjoy this strength and vitality and you will only get better with age!
They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing:
The Hebrew word for “bring forth fruit” means: to germinate; to cause to flourish; to bring forth fruit; to make cheerful; to increase. The word for “fat” means: fat; rich: fertile. The word translated “flourish” here, means: to be green; verdant; new; prosperous; flourishing.
The Amplified Bible Bible says that the righteous are: growing in grace – they shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall continue to be full of the sap of spiritual vitality and rich in the verdure of trust, love, and contentment. Psalms 1:3 says that the man who trusts in the Lord and delights in His word is, “like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.” So if you honor the Lord, you will not grow old and weak and sickly and lose your faculties, like the rest of the world. Instead, you can expect to grow stronger; to increase, not decrease; to continue to bring forth fruit; to be fertile and productive and prosperous; and full of joy.
A few application thoughts:
Believers are often likened to trees in Scripture: “He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper” (Psalm 1:3). “I am like a green olive tree in the house of God” (Psalm 52:8). “His branches shall spread, and His beauty shall be as the olive tree, and His smell as Lebanon” (Hosea 14:6).
The palm-tree figure is especially intriguing. In Scripture, the palm is always the date palm, stately and beautiful. It has extremely deep tap roots—called a root ball—and thus can flourish even in the desert, growing tall and living long. It is perhaps the most useful of all trees, not only producing dates, but also sugar, wine, honey, oil, resin, rope, thread, tannin, and dyestuff. Its seeds are fed to cattle and its leaves are used for roofs, fences, mats, and baskets. Its fruit is said to get sweeter as the tree grows older, and this is compared to the believer in a beautiful verse: “Those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing” (Psalm 92:13,14).
It was palm branches that padded the path of the Lord Jesus as He rode into Jerusalem on the ass’s colt on that first Palm Sunday long ago (John 12:13; Matthew 21:8). This itself was a picture in miniature of the great multitude of the redeemed and resurrected saints who will greet the Lord Jesus at His throne, “clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands”; crying, “Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb” (Revelation 7:9,10).
May God enable each of us to flourish like the palm tree—beautiful in the Lord, useful in His service, bearing good fruit to His glory, even into old age!
We – the righteous – are living memorials to the goodness of God. Our blessed lives show that the Lord is upright and faithful to His promises and also show that He is our Rock, and that there is no unrighteousness in Him!