The righteous flourish like the palm treeand grow like a cedar in Lebanon.They are planted in the house of the Lord;they flourish in the courts of our God.They still bear fruit in old age; they are full of sap and green,to declare that the Lord is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him. Psalm 92:12-15Why does the writer, King David, choose the palm tree to describe the righteous? Does it foreshadow Jesus' triumphal entry in John 12:13? I'm blessed when God tells me to dig deeper.
Though today we associate the palm tree with vacation, in biblical times, it was a symbol of victory, peace and fertility. It's image was etched in the temple (1 Kings 6:29, 32, 35). Used thirty times in the Bible, yet the palm is only recorded twice in the New Testament. It grows in warm, temperate climates and is an evergreen. Over 2600 species of the palm tree vary diversely in physical characteristics. Don't Jesus' children vary as well? God doesn't have favorites; He adopts all who believe.
But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God… John 1:12
Ceroxylon quindiuense, Colombia's national tree, is the tallest monocot in the world, reaching up to 60 meters tall. The coco de mer (Lodoicea maldivica) has the largest seeds of any plant, 40–50 cm in diameter and weighing 15–30 kg each. Raffia palms (Raphia spp.) have the largest leaves of any plant, up to 25 m long and 3 m wide (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arecaceae).The tallest palm in the world is over 190 feet tall! (A tad short of the giant redwoods of California that grow up just over 300 feet.) We are called to be tall, to stand out from the crowd. Many items are harvested from the palm tree: coconut, oils, dates, raffia, palm syrup, ivory nuts, carnauba wax, rattan cane, raffia and palm wood. The believer's fruit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control; Galatians 5:22-23) is to be abundant and diverse. The seed of one fruit among the palms is the largest seed in the world. The seed is fruit's origin…Jesus is our start, where our fruit gets it's nourishment to grow.
Last, the palm tree doesn't have age rings. It shows no age! "They still bear fruit in old age; they are full of sap and green," Psalm 92:14. Believers are never finished working for God.
I can't ignore the cedar in Lebanon. How do these two trees compare? The Lebanon Cedar grows only in one specific mediteranean climate. It too is an evergreen and grows up to 120 feet tall. Its wood was used to build both David and Solomon's palaces and also was used to build ships, houses, and temples because its wood is without knots and not likely to decay. The trunk is uncommonly tall and branches are very wide spreading, making it distinct. We are called to be distinct and without blemish (knots) if we are in Christ!
He has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— Colossians 1:22And we are offered life that never ends (not to decay).
God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. 1 John 5:11-13Lastly, the hebrew root for Lebanon means whiteness. When Christ stands before God on our behalf, God sees us as righteous, not guilty, white. Those who have believed in Christ are not perfect, but the One who covers us is.
I will greatly rejoice in the Lord;my soul shall exult in my God,for He hs clothes me with the garments of salvation;He has covered me with the robe of righteousness… Isaiah 60:10a
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9Because we are not perfect, this will be a continual confessing on our part. However, He has already forgiven because Jesus was a perfect, willing payment for all our sin; past, present and future sins, that satisfied a just God.
When we back up to verse 7 in this psalm, we see the picture David ascribes the wicked;
"though the wicked sprout like grass and all evildoers flourish, they are doomed to destruction forever."
So we see the evil and righteous contrasted.
- Grass: relatively short, here today and tomorrow frozen, dead, lifeless.
- Palm and cedar: tall, distinct, evergreen and full of sap, relatively long living.
When Jesus entered Jerusalem on a humble donkey, the people laid down their coats and palm branches for Him to ride (John 12:13). The palm; victory, peace, fruitful, tall, not showing age, diverse. The crowds could have used grass. On our trip to Ethiopia, one little girl and her mother insisted on welcoming a teammate back to their house for coffee. They must have spent hours preparing for her arrival to have covered the dirt floor of their home with grass. Grass; common, not evergreen, here today, gone tomorrow. The crowd choose palm tree branches to honor Jesus; He chose a humble donkey. Someday we too will wave palm branches and He will sit on the throne.
And behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and people and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!" Revelation 7:9
Will you be there on that day? This salvation is for all; every nation, tribe, people and language. Does Jesus' righteousness cover your wrong doing? If you're not sure, decide today to accept Jesus' covering. Click here or contact me. If you are in Christ, flourish like the palm, grow like a cedar, by daily planting yourself in the presence of God. Declare that Christ covers you, that He alone is righteous, He is your rock, and you will be fruitful forever, full of the Spirit and evergreen.