Viv White Exhortation
“The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.” (Psalm 92 :12)
What does it mean to flourish like the palm tree? To understand this analogy, a figure of speech used emphasize how the righteous are to flourish, we need to understand the palm tree of the Bible lands.
From old it was taught that 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.
“So, then, brothers and sisters, don’t let anyone move you off the foundation of your faith. Always excel in the work you do for the Lord. You know that the hard work you do for the Lord is not pointless.” (1Corinthians 15:58)
God instructs us to be steadfast and unmovable. We know that Christ strengthens us (Philippians 4:13), and has made available to us the tools to be strong in the Word.
“For this reason, take up all the armour that God supplies. Then you will be able to take a stand during these evil days. Once you have overcome all obstacles, you will be able to stand your ground.” (Ephesians 6:13)
In order to be steadfast and unmovable we must put on the whole armour of God — His Word. It must be in our hearts and on our lips. In the Old Testament the righteous spoken of in Psalms 92 were those that adhered to the law. Today, God made us righteous when we believed Romans 10:9 and it is up to us to put on His Word, and then He will cause us to 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. Spiritually the fruit we are to bear is:
“But the fruit that the Spirit produces in a person’s life is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23a)
Fruit is available when the plant is strong and nourished. Our Heavenly Father is the source of ‘living water’ – Jeremiah 2:13 / Jeremiah 17:13. Be strong in your Christian living, and be fed with ‘living water’ by the Word of God.
In the eastern culture of old, the Palm tree is considered to be a God tree, they say it flourishes by the grace of God. If we compare it to the coconut palm which also bears fruit there is a marked difference. The coconut palm requires much cultivation and care for it to grow and produce fruit. God’s palm tree is a miracle of growth; if ten seeds are planted, ten trees emerge and it lives without man’s assistance. The people of the east say it is God-planted, God-watered, and God-owned. This is also a people’s tree; if one is on your land you freely allow anyone to partake of the tree and when someone climbs the tree for fruit and leaves they freely give to others. “Freely we receive, freely we should give” (Matthew 10:8).
When a palm tree is cut down all of it can be used. The wood makes good beams for building; termites do not infest it. The roots are used to make ink and a pithy part of the root is used to make medicine. The leaves can be used as paper and also to make roofs for booths (temporary shelters) and poorer people’s houses.
To make paper from the leaves they are soaked in water until they turn white. When written on with an iron instrument the writing never fades, and worms do not eat the leaves. There are a few references in the Word of writing with an iron pen, writing on the palm leaves is what is indicated.
“Oh that my words were written! Oh that they were inscribed in a book! Oh that with an iron pen and lead they were engraved in the rock forever!” (Job 19:23-24)
The people of the east never talk about how ‘old’ a palm is for it produces fruit and flourishes no matter the age. So it should be with ‘true worshippers’ who worship God the Father in spirit and truth!
“Indeed, the time is coming, and it is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth. The Father is looking for people like that to worship him.
God is a spirit. Those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:23-24)
The palm tree is a symbol of fruitfulness, uprightness, steadfastness, health and longevity. God had images of palm trees 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 (1 Kings 6, Ezekiel 40-42).
“Its windows, recessed walls, and palm tree pictures were the same size as those in the east gateway. Seven steps went up to it and led to its entrance hall.” (Ezekiel 40:22)
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.