“The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God” Psalm 92:12 (NIV)
In our 2021 New Years’ Eve service, Pastor Alex reminded us that in 2022 there is a lot for us to possess and achieve. This is our year of growth and expansion no doubt, but that does not mean that 2022 does not bring its own challenges, tests, and trials. Jesus warned us that in this world we will face many troubles and we may experience things that may shake us to the core. The truth is that storms come, with varying severity. Most times we don’t know when they will hit, or the extent of the force for which they carry. This period of fasting and prayer at the beginning of the year prepares us for storms that may come in the form of the loss of a loved one, a health battle, a financial loss and the list goes on. Yet in Psalm 92, God promises us that the righteous will flourish like a palm tree.
The Bible does not mince its words here at all. The palm tree is designed to bend. When the storms come, palm trees can bend so much that they can even be horizontal to the ground. They look like they have had a beating so much that they are lying flat down on the ground and will never be able to stand tall again. It may feel like you're in the middle of the storm, but just as the palm tree bends and bends and bends, it does not break and neither will you. In fact, when the storm dies down, the palm tree can stand upright again. The palm tree becomes stronger than it was before the storm. This year, we prepare ourselves for the storms that will come. We do that by seeking God’s Kingdom and His Righteousness. We can face whatever 2022 holds and stretch in the face of adversity because we are the righteousness of God. This year we will not only just hear what God is saying but act on what God is saying.
The second part of the verse should not be overlooked. They do not take this place of planting for granted. They are firm - not just coming to church on a Sunday here and there, but are consistent. Consistent in all areas in the House of God. Sunday service, participating in corporate prayer and Bible study. They flourish in the courts of God, serving and impacting all those that come to the House of God. This is the secret to the righteous’ flexibility. So, when the storm hits, they may not have anticipated it but they were ready. It may be really hard to bear and it may come with a force that knocks them all the way down, but they do not break. When the storm dies down they get up again and flourish.
If you were bent over by the storms of the pandemic, you are not broken. You can come upright again stronger. As you fast declare that you are like a palm tree!
Further Study: Matthew 7:24-29, 2 Corinthians 5:21, Psalms 1:1-6, Job 42:11-17, John 15:1-8