12 The righteous will flourish like a palm tree,
they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon;
13 planted in the house of the Lord,
they will flourish in the courts of our God.
14 They will still bear fruit in old age,
they will stay fresh and green,
15 proclaiming, “The Lord is upright;
he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.”
“I think that I shall never see
A tree whose hungry mouth is pressed
Against the earth's sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.”
-Joyce Kilmer, 1913
Trees are spoken of many times in Scripture
The Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden
The Juniper Tree that Elijah ran and sat under when he was depressed
The Tree upon which Absalom’s hair became caught in the thicket
The Tree that bears fruit
The Tree that Jesus cursed
The Tree of Life
Scripture uses trees to teach us many lessons. But in our particular text for today, the Psalmist lifts up two trees:
The Palm Tree
The Cedars of Lebanon
The Psalmist said that the righteous shall flourish like a Palm Tree. What is so special about a Palm Tree?
- Palm Trees are tall, majestic and beautiful
- Palm Trees are resilient. They flourish even in drought because of their deep root system
- Palm Trees are able to withstand hurricanes and massive storms because they know how to bend
The Psalmist also likened the righteous unto the Cedars of Lebanon.
-The Cedars of Lebanon stood 120 feet tall and 30 feet wide.
-They were firmly rooted and were very strong. They were so high that they could see far above the city out into distant lands. The Psalmist said that the righteous, like the Cedars of Lebanon are firmly planted and they flourish in the courts of the Lord. They continue to bear fruit even in their old age. They stay fresh and green.
Sometimes we have to be like Palm Trees, getting our thirst quenched by our deep root systems. During times of spiritual drought, our “roots” must be deep…deep enough to help us to reach the living water of hope in Christ, resilient through adversity, encouraged by remembering those who have gone before us…Like a palm tree, we must learn how to be flexible. There are times when we must learn how to bend down and be humble. We must bend, but not break during the storm.
Sometimes we’ve got to be like the Cedars of Lebanon. Sometimes we must stand firm, stand tall and stand strong. We’ve got to learn how to be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, in as much as we know that our labor is not in vain in the Lord.
We’ve got to stand tall and stand strong. In order to do that, we must be firmly planted in the courts of the Lord. The courts of the Lord, the house of the Lord, the ways of the Lord, the Word of the Lord. is In Psalm 1, the righteous are described as “blessed…” not walking in the council of the ungodly, or standing in the way of sinners, or sitting in the seat of the scornful.” The righteous delight in the law of the Lord and meditate upon it both day and night. This behavior makes them like “a tree planted by the rivers of water.” Their leaves don’t whither and whatever they do shall prosper. Conversely, the ungodly are not so, but are like the chaff which the wind drive the away...”
The Lord is looking for those who will be like trees, Palm Trees, Cedars of Lebanon who know how to be resilient through Christ, who know how to bend and be flexible, but also who know how and when to stand tall, stand firm and will not move.
Over two thousand years ago, there was another tree. Jesus was crucified on that tree and died for all of our sins. He went through the agony, the separation from his Father, the shame and the blame. He went all of that so that we might have a right to the tree of life. We all will one day leave this earth, and give an account of the things we have done in this body. The most important this will be whether or not we accepted Christ as our Savior and embraced the lessons of trees…
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Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,