“But the godly will flourish like palm trees and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon.” Psalm 92:12
Dear People Who Keep Company with God,
The Bible is filled with hundreds of metaphors and analogies to help us understand God and His relationship with us. Here, the psalmist uses trees to explain how we can prosper in life’s different seasons. The palm tree refers to the date palm growing in the desert regions. It has a very long life and is an enormous blessing to people living in barren places. You can eat the dates and make a drink from its sap. Mats, baskets, fencing, and roofing are products made from the tree. A compelling picture of the gospel, the good news of what God has done in Jesus Christ for us. As the Scripture says, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the glad news of His good things!” (Romans 10:15)
Date palms grow in the blazing heat, frigid cold, violent sandstorms, and little rain. Yet none of this weakens the tree. It makes them more robust. Jesus told us that difficulties and storms would come and beat upon us (Matthew 7:24-28). But we can flourish like the palm because when difficult times strike, we can come back stronger than ever. As the Scripture says, “despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.” (Romans 8:28)
A godly person will also “grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon.” These cedars grow up to 120 feet tall. The Encyclopedia of Biblical Knowledge refers to them as “the king of trees.” They grew on Mount Lebanon, the central part of modern Lebanon’s west coast, the highest point in the Israel-Lebanon-Syria region. The mountainous setting is a beautiful illustration of being seated with Christ in the highest, most important place, the right hand of God the Father in the heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6). The tree’s roots go down thirty feet underground for every ten feet of height above the ground. As we trust in Christ and allow the Holy Spirit to strengthen our hearts, we will grow deep in God’s love, grace, and faith (Ephesians 3:17).
According to Adam Clarke’s Commentary of the Bible, “These noble trees grow among the snow.” Even in the dead of winter, they grow. The righteous thrive like that, not just during spiritual springtime, but also when spiritual winter hits. When we feel barren, with no anointing or apparent spiritual fruit, our roots are still growing downward in His love. The sap of the Cedar is a natural repellant to insects and diseases. This internal resistance to decay and infection is like “God’s armor,” enabling us to stand firm against all the devils’ devices (Ephesians 6:10-17).
Both the Palm Tree and Cedar of Lebanon in Psalm 92 are remarkable because of their location, planted in the temple courts (Psalm 92:13). The temple in Jerusalem was God’s House, where He lived among his people. Any tree that grew in the temple courts had to be brought there from somewhere else and transplanted. In the same way, God has not only made you alive in Christ, but He has also brought you close to Himself. He has rescued you from the kingdom of darkness and transplanted you into the Kingdom of his dear Son (Colossians 1:13). You are now in His House close to Him (Ephesians 2:13) If you allow your roots to go deep in His truth and love, you will flourish and grow in Him throughout your life.
Many Blessings, BW