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”. Psalm 92:12-13, ESV
A cursory look at Christian programs on TV reveals a worrying trend in our churches. Almost every Christian channel one turns to has material prosperity as the content of its message. One wonders if the gospel is only about material prosperity. The teaching of the unadulterated word of God has been replaced by an undue emphasis on the “non-weightier matters”. While I am not against material prosperity, I believe true Christian prosperity — which is not limited to material blessing — is being rooted in the Word of The LORD.
We are still in the early days of the year, it is essential for us to reflect on our walk with God and seek to be grounded in our relationship with Him.
In this beautiful Psalm of thanks and praise to God, the Psalmist describes the righteous as flourishing like a palm tree and growing like a cedar in Lebanon (v.12). He continues in v. 13 by saying they are planted in the house of the LORD; they flourish in the courts of our God.
What does the Psalmist mean by these Agricultural analogies?
In describing the believer’s life, the Psalmist uses terms that symbolizes growth and thriving. And he does so by using two of the toughest trees one could find. These trees have very unique properties that speaks volumes to the believers’ life. They both grow strong and firm in the ground. They can withstand harsh conditions without withering. Unlike the wicked, who are compared to grass that sprouts and withers, the righteous will flourish. Notable also is the longevity of the Palm and Cedar trees and their continuous bearing of fruits.
These analogies describes the life of a Christian in terms of growth, maturity, holiness, fruit bearing and eternal life. How sad we hardly hear about being planted–growth, maturity, holiness, and fruit bearing– on many pulpits.
How Can We Be Planted?
The most reliable source to keep us planted in the house of the Lord is the word of God. Growth and maturity in Christian living do not come by accident. They require deliberate effort and empowerment by the Holy Spirit. The story of Joshua has much encouragement for us as we seek to be planted in God’s house. Joshua was given the mandate to lead God’s people to the promised land. He accepted the task with much uncertainty and fear, having seen first hand the stubbornness of the Israelites under the leadership of Moses. But God reassured him and pointed him to His word:
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success’ (Joshua 1:8).
The command of God to Joshua in not allowing His Law to depart from his mouth, but to make it his whole life preoccupation is something that holds instruction for us. J. C Ryle, has said ‘the Bible is the true lantern for a dark and cloudy time, let us beware of travelling without its light’. There are many things that will seek to take our focus away from God each passing moment, but it is the Word of God that will stamp our persuasion in Christ Jesus.
Paul in his letter to the Corinthian church admonished them to “…keep the ordinances…”(1 Corinthians 11:2, KJV). He says to the Corinthian church as he does to us to hold fast the whole body of truth of the Gospel as has been delivered to us in the Bible.
A lot of false teachings abound that seek to take the focus away from Christ Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of our faith. It behooves us to keep the Word of God, to be planted in the house of God. Make the word “a lamp to [your] feet and a light to [your] path.(Psalm 119:105).