Most of my life, I’ve lived near beautiful palm trees. I grew up in California, and I currently live in Nevada. The hot Nevada desert is scenically dry and barren, but palm trees live in denial of the intense heat or seasonal changes.
During heavy rains, winds, or drought, palms trees stand upright while they wait for better days with their tropical attitude. You could always count on a palm tree to splash a bit of paradise in almost any season. Perhaps, that’s why God compares His people to a palm tree. Like a palm tree, we were created to flourish.
The righteous man will flourish like the palm tree,
He will grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
Planted in the house of the Lord,
They will flourish in the courts of our God.
They will still yield fruit in old age;
They shall be full of sap and very green
Psalm 92:12-14 New American Standard Bible
Created to Flourish
I’ve enjoyed watching my three-year-old granddaughter flourish. Her vocabulary is growing. Her questions are increasing, and she’s becoming extremely self-reliant and independent. She doesn’t understand limitations. Life is a puzzle to be solved. (I think it’s adorable, but my daughter finds it less endearing.) When we flourish, we’re healthy, and we grow.
The psalmist in the above verse poetically writes that we were created to flourish. Here, the Hebrew word for flourish means to sprout or shoot. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to flourish in our…
God’s Word says we can, but here’s the caveat. It says a “righteous man” (or woman).
Do you suddenly feel disqualified? Do you have a knot in your stomach because you had an argument with your spouse this week? Or, perhaps you yelled at the kids, or missed your prayer time? Do you expect a huge spiritual “whack” on the head, while self-condemning thoughts whisper, disqualified!
Qualified to Flourish
Let me reassure you, you’re not alone. No one is perfect, but we can remain planted in the Lord. His redemptive message reminds us not to carry what God has nailed to the cross. Jesus paid it all. God’s grace carries us through our unattractive spiritual moments, but His sacrifice redeems us from guilt, shame, and sin.
Remind yourself that your righteousness, sanctification, and redemption are in Jesus Christ.
…so that no man may boast before God. But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, “LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.”
1 Co 1:29-31 NASB
Flourish Like a Palm
The question remains; why did God choose a palm tree to make His point? Okay, there were probably lush palms all around Israel, but let’s consider a few palm attributes.
Palm trees are perennials; their leaves remain year-round.
We can flourish in any season.
Palm trees can withstand drought.
We can remain faithful during setbacks or circumstantial shortages.
Palm trees bear fruit.
We can bear spiritual and tangible seed-bearing fruit in every area of our lives.
Enjoy a Fruitful Life
This month, as we prepare for Resurrection Sunday, and celebrate Palm Sunday, I hope you’ll view the palm tree differently. I hope it will be a reminder that you were created to flourish.
“10 Surprising Facts about Palm Trees.” MNN. Accessed March 04, 2016. http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/wilderness-resources/stories/10-surprising-facts-about-palm-trees.
Harris, R. L., Archer, G. L., Jr., & Waltke, B. K. (Eds.). (1999). Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (electronic ed.). Chicago: Moody Press.
New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update (LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995), 2 Co 9:10–11.
“Palm Trees.” Palm Tree. Accessed March 04, 2016. http://www.2020site.org/trees/palm-tree.html.
Wikipedia. Accessed March 04, 2016. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arecaceae.