THE RIGHTEOUS SHALL FLOURISH
Study Text: Psalm 92:12 - 15
- A righteous person is the one who has willfully and sincerely repented of his or her sins and has accepted the Lord Jesus as his or her Lord and personal Saviour (The Imputed Righteousness).
- As a result of the imputed righteousness, the person begins to walk in newness of life, abstaining from sins and fleshly lusts and living in obedience to the word of God with a steadfast hope of eternal rest in heaven after this world. (The Acquired Righteousness).
- The word of God says he will flourish like a palm tree. That is a promise of prosperity with a picture in mind.
- So we shall discuss the topic under three sub-headings:
1. The Picture of the Righteous
2. The Promise to the Righteous
3. The Prosperity of the Righteous
1. The Picture of the Righteous
- Let us notice some traits of the palm tree which has its counterpart in the palm tree saint.
i. The palm tree has deep roots which go down until they strike the living springs of water.
- This signifies anchorage and nourishment of the righteous. He is deeply rooted in Christ and His words, and derives nourishment day-in day-out from Him.
- He cannot be easily uprooted or blown away with a heavy storm. This indicates the steadfastness of the believer in the truth of the word of God in the midst of challenges.
ii. The palm tree is an evergreen tree.
- This characteristically typifies the constant freshness of the Spirit-filled life.
- Nearly all of the fruit-bearing trees put on their beauty in the spring of the year. Then when the cold winter approaches, they shed their foliage and the life goes down into the roots.
- This is typical of many Christians who are only vibrant for the Lord in one season and fade away spiritually in another season.
- Such unstable people are described as being lukewarm, and cannot receive the promises of the Lord.
iii. The palm tree usually grows very tall with leaves at the top end.
- This makes it beautiful to behold and gives shade for people to find relief from the heat of the sun.
- The life of a palm tree saint is very pleasant to people and will also bring comfort, joy and blessings to others.
- The Holy Ghost imparts a Christ-like character, a tenderness of speech, and gives him a winning disposition, a power to draw, and a heavenly influence.
- God wants to beautify the saints until they will be attractive and manifest the sweetness of Jesus to a lost world.
- That is why He described the believer as the light of the world and the salt of the earth. Mathew 5: 13 -16
iv. The palm tree has many uses.
- Almost every part is very useful. The fruit is used to make palm oil, shaft from the fruit is used locally to generate fire for cooking, the leaves can be used for brooms, and for making temporary roofs in huts, the sap is taken as palm wine, while the stem are used as beams of various application.
- The life of a palm tree saint is relevant and profitable in many aspects of life. He will be of a profit in the home, in the community, in the Church, in the place of work, even in foreign places.
v. The palm tree will grow in the desert.
- It not only means shade and shelter from the hot, burning sun, but a spring of water is usually found where the palm grows.
- The palm tree saint is equipped to survive in any harsh condition without losing the beauty or relevance. Rom 8: 35 – 38.
vi. Palm trees are easily spotted and identified.
- Everyone can easily identify a palm tree. Palm trees are difficult to hide and they don't blend in with their environment.
- Jesus said a city build on a hill cannot be hid. He must be noticed sooner or later by a distinctive and godly lifestyles different from the corruptible lifestyles of the world.
- He cannot be made to conform to the worldly doctrines, traditions and sinful pleasures. Romans 12: 1 – 2.
2. The Promise to the Righteous
- The Bible is full of promises of God, and all are blessings meant for the righteous alone. And whenever the Lord gives a promise, it must surely come to pass, unless if the condition to be fulfill by man is not met.
- But now, what promise concerning the righteous does the psalm give? It is a promise that relates to all of life and especially to old age.
- In verses 12-13 God promises that throughout life the righteous will flourish and grow. "The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; they will flourish in the courts of our God."
- Now, of course, it is normal for a tree to grow. It is normal for it get taller and for its trunk to get wider.
- So as a Christian you are not meant to be a spiritual dwarf. No, you are meant to flourish and grow throughout your Christian life.
- Your faith and your spiritual insight should increase. Your love and compassion for other people should grow richer and deeper. Your hope in God's future should become more intense. Your zeal and commitment to the house of God must grow bigger and better, both in the area of winning souls and the various activities in the Church.
- Paul talks about this kind of growth in Ephesians 4. He talks about the church reaching "unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God" and becoming "mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ." He also says, "Speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ.
- So if you are righteous, God promises that you will flourish and grow throughout your life. And then, what about in old age?
- In verse 14 God promises that the righteous will still bear fruit in old age and stay fresh and green. Now, if a tree is fresh and green, it doesn't matter how old it is. It is still very much alive.
- That means the righteous will remain strong and healthy even in old age. We can see the example of Caleb who confesses that his strength at eighty years is till similar to when he was forty.
- And then of course one of the things a healthy, green tree does is to bear fruit even in old age. So God is saying that if you are righteous, in your old age you will be like a tree that stays fresh and green. You will be healthy spiritually. And you will bear fruit.
- What kind of fruit? In Colossians 1 Paul talks about "bearing fruit in every good work." And in Galatians 5 he lists the qualities that are "the fruit of the Spirit": "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control."
- So if you are a righteous person God promises that in old age you will be spiritually alive and healthy and will produce spiritual fruit.
- Why will you do that? Well, one reason an old tree stays fresh and fruitful because it is getting enough water. And in the same way, you will be fresh and fruitful in old age if you are being watered by God's Word.
- Psalm 1 talks about the person who meditates on God's Word day and night. It says he or she is "like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither." Psalm 1: 1 – 3.
- So this is a great promise of spiritual health and fruitfulness in your old age.
- And then God also promises that in their old age righteous people will proclaim the LORD's faithfulness. Verse 15 says they will proclaim, "The LORD is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him."
- So if you are righteous, then when you get old you will praise the LORD who planted you in his courts. You will praise him for protecting you and making you fruitful. You will tell the world that the LORD is upright.
- In his relationships with you, he does what is right. And you will tell the world that he is your Rock. In other words, the LORD is a solid, dependable Person you can rely on totally. So you can depend on this God to do what he says. You can depend on him to keep his promises. If you are righteous, you will proclaim that great is his faithfulness.
3. The Prosperity of the Righteous
- Are there any advantages to being a righteous person? After all, you have to go to a lot of trouble to be righteous.
- You have to turn from sin, you have to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. And then in God's strength you have to try to live a life that pleases him.
- So what is the good of that? What is the advantage of a righteous life? The Bible is full of several advantages of being righteous.
i. The righteous are spiritually alive.
- A tree is a living thing. If you are a righteous person, you are alive. You are not just physically alive, you are spiritually alive in a healthy relationship with God and the people of God. God is the source of your life. Ephesians 2:5
So one implication of the tree picture is that if you are righteous, you have spiritual life.
ii. The righteous are attracted to God
- If you are a godly person, God has not only made you alive. He has also brought you into a close relationship with himself. He has brought you from a distance and transplanted you in his house.
- Only the one with clean hands and a pure heart can be allowed in the presence of the Lord. Psalm 24: 3 – 5.
- Paul has a similar idea in Ephesians 2:13. He says to non-Jews: "But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ."
- And in Colossians 1:13 he says that God "has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves." So God has brought you near to him, spiritually. He has planted you in the courts of his house.
iii. The righteous people are in a place of honour.
- If you’re a godly, righteous person, you have been made one with God through Jesus Christ. You have been adopted into God’s family.
- You have a place of great honour as a tree planted in the courts of the LORD. You will become the apple of God’s eye, and you cannot be treated anyhow.
iv. The righteous are in a place of protection.
- If you belong to God in Christ, his eye is always upon you. His love surrounds you. And you are safe from those who would hurt you. They can do you no ultimate harm.
- In John 10 Jesus says this about his people: "I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand."
- As a righteous person the Bible says no weapon that is fashioned against you shall prosper. Isaiah 54: 17
v. The righteous are in a place of provision.
- The righteous is rightly placed by God where he cannot lack. His word says he will not beg for bread.
- A life of righteousness will ensure that God meets all your needs. Philippians 4: 19
- So is it worthwhile to be righteous? Yes, indeed. Earlier in Psalm 92 the writer talks about the wicked people.
- In verse 7 he says, "Though the wicked spring up like grass and all evildoers flourish, they will be forever destroyed." So that is their destiny: to be destroyed. But if you are righteous and godly, you will be like a tree planted in the temple courts.
- Do you see this promise being fulfilled in your life? Some of you are older. In your old age, are you continuing to bear fruit? Are you still fresh and green with spiritual life?
- But what if you are not thriving like a healthy tree? What if you are not fresh or green spiritually? What if there is no fruit? Then, no matter what your age, the problem may be that you have never really been made alive spiritually.
- So what should you do? Acknowledge that you are a sinner. And then trust in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who died for sinners. Seek God's forgiveness and ask for the presence of the Holy Spirit in your life.
- If you do that, you will be alive spiritually. And then you will be like a tree planted in the courts of God's house.
- Throughout your life, you will flourish and grow. And even in old age you will still bear fruit. You will "stay fresh and green, proclaiming, "The LORD is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him."