Permanence and strength
Have you ever been compared to a cedar or palm tree? Well, the Psalmist does. And for us older guys, there are some encouraging words.
“The righteous flourish like the palm tree and 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 ever full of sap and green, to declare that the Lord is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.” (Psa. 92.12-15)
The palm tree and the cedar symbolized permanence and strength. They are in contrast to the transience of the wicked, who are pictured as temporary as grass (vs. 7). A tree planted in the courtyard of the temple symbolized the thriving conditions of those who maintain a close relationship with the Lord.
Trees are not usually planted in a house; but God’s ‘trees’ are said to be planted in his house because it is from his grace, by his word and Spirit, that they receive all the sap and virtue that keep them alive and make them fruitful. Like the Cedars of Lebanon, they grow tall, closer to heaven, and are respected by those around them.
Palm trees have a stately body and large boughs. Dates, the fruit of it, are very pleasant, and it is ever green. It has been said of the palm tree, the more it is pressed down the more it grows; so the righteous flourish under their burdens. They shall be fruitful. The products of sanctification, all the instances of a lively devotion, good works, by which God is glorified and others are edified. These are the fruits of righteousness, in which it is the privilege of the righteous to abound.
Faithful and sufficient
And here comes the good news for us in the winter years of our life. It is promised that they shall bring forth fruit in old age. Other trees, when they are old, leave off bearing, but in God’s ‘trees’ the strength of grace does not fail. The last days of the saints are sometimes their best days, and their last work is their best work. As it is by the promises that believers first partake of a divine nature, so it is by the promises that that divine nature is preserved and kept up. All that ever trusted in God found him faithful and all sufficient and none were ever made ashamed of their hope in him.
The psalmist tells us that his plan for his righteous ones in Christ is to declare that the Lord is upright, that he is our rock and there is no unrighteousness in him. He is preserving us for this work, and we have the privilege of walking in them, by his grace, even to our last breath. And remember, you are not an accident of nature; you have been planted by the One who gives life, abundantly and everlastingly. Rejoice, grow tall, spread your limbs and God will produce much fruit in and through you!