"The Righteous Shall Flourish Like a Palm Tree"
We do not have the luxury of seeing many palm trees here in Columbus, Ohio. This time of year they are a welcome sight though. It usually means we have traveled to a warmer climate for a few days! The 92nd psalm uses a simile to compare “the righteous” to flourishing “like a palm tree” (Psalm 92:12). What a beautiful expression, but how might that be an accurate comparison?
The palm tree grows upwards. It is an erect tree with its aim pointing straight towards the heavens. What should be the “aim” of a Christian? “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:1-2, NKJV). Our focus ought to be on heavenly treasures!
The palm tree survives despite drought and flood. We see palm trees in areas that may go without rain in intense heat for days. Yet, we also see them enduring hurricanes and high winds and water. They even do so in a less, nutrient-rich soil than other crops. The righteous must also thrive despite the droughts and storms of life. The “wise man” is the one whose house is still standing when “the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock” (Matthew 7:25). Life’s storms may bend the righteous, but they will not break us.
The palm tree bears fruit. On average, date palms are known to yield between 300-400 pounds of fruit annually and sometimes as much as 600 pounds of fruit. Besides this, the trunk is used for timber, the leaflets can be used to make baskets, the leaves can be used for fuel and the fruit stalks can be used to make ropes or cords for packing material. The palm tree is a very useful and productive fruit tree. Likewise, “the righteous” ought to be people who “still bear fruit in old age” (as Psalm 92:14 says). Jesus would say in his parable of the Sower that those of the “good ground” are those who “bears fruit and produces; some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty” (Matthew 13:23).
The palm tree is constant throughout all seasons. While some trees drop their leaves and lose their beautiful colors in the winter, the palm tree is unchanging. It is constant throughout all seasons in its appearance. What a beautiful picture of the consistency of the righteous. In any season of life, the righteous are dependable, steadfast and constant. Paul calls us to be no less. “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord…” (1 Corinthians 15:58).