" 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. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green proclaiming, 'The Lord is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him' " (Psalm 92:12-15).
As people grow old, they cannot escape the experience of gradual decline in physical strength. Others would even give up pursuing their dreams when they were still young. They realized that life is too short, their body is too weak and their dreams are beyond their reach. It is rare to see old people who are still physically healthy and full of visions in life. And it is even rarer to see old people who maintain their spiritual vitality.
Psalm 92:12-15 taken as a promise, describes the spiritual vitality of the righteous even in old age. The desire of the righteous is to see the church rising up from spiritual stagnancy and growing continually in grace.
How does Psalm 92:12-15 describe grace in the life of the righteous?
1. His Grace In Your Life Will Flourish And Grow.
“The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon.” “Palm trees are known for their long life. To flourish like palm trees means to stand tall and to live long. The cedars of Lebanon grew to 120 feet in height and up to 30 feet in circumference; thus, they were solid, strong, and immovable. The psalmist saw believers as upright, strong, and unmoved by the winds of circumstance. Those who place their faith firmly in God can have this strength and vitality” (NIV Life Application Study Bible).
If you are related to God in and through Jesus, you are described in those glorious terms. This promise tells about the certainty that God’s people will remain strong, immovable, stable, and will continually grow in spiritual vitality until the end of our lives here on earth.
2. His Grace In Your Life Will Bear Fruit And Will Stay Fresh And Green.
The psalmist said that this promise of staying fresh and productivity will remain even in old age. In the Bible, the pinnacle of man’s life is not his young age but his old age. This is because, in Jewish culture, one’s inherent worth and prestige increase steadily with the passing of years. The Bible never makes a secret of a person’s age. We know the ages of Abraham(175), Isaac(180), Jacob(147), Ishmael(137), Sarah(127), Moses(120), Joseph(110), Joshua(110), and Eli (98). The Bible’s emphasis on aging is not physical but spiritual and mental. Aging is not feared. It is welcomed with gladness and hope. “Old age is not a defeat but a victory, not a punishment but a privilege.”
In Hebrew community, the elderly are not thought of as people who have outlived their usefulness. They are not made to feel that they ought to apologize for being alive. Aging is a cause for celebration. To be older is better. Gray hair is considered beautiful (Proverbs 20:29), and a crown of splendor (Proverbs 16:31). With gray hair came respect and honor (Leviticus 19:32).
The psalmist connects productivity even in old age. Rabbinic literature says “He who learns from the young is like one who eats unripe grapes and drinks wine from the wine press. But he who learns from the old is like one who eats ripe grapes and drinks old wine.”
3. His Grace Will Cause You To Keep On Proclaiming His Name.
The righteous can still serve as a mighty witness of God even in old age. The righteous will maintain the goodness and faithfulness of the Lord as his constant talk even in old age. The Lord will be the constant theme in his conversation. There will always be song in his heart about the goodness of the Lord. He will never forget the first grace that transformed his life for such grace will be growing constantly even in old age.
John Owen, the English Puritan answered the question how the discipline of meditation upon the beauty and glory of the Lord will restore His people to the paths of growth and productivity.
One, as we focus our mind on Jesus, the Spirit of God changes us everyday, more and more, into the likeness of Christ himself.
Growth, flourishing, and fruitfulness will result from a constant reflection on Jesus’ glory. As we live in constant contemplation of the glory of Jesus, virtue will flow from him to repair all our decays and to renew a right spirit within us. This way of recovery is foolishness of course, in the eyes of the world. It is like washing in Jordan seven times to cure our leprosy. But the life of faith is a mystery known only to them that live in it.
Two, meditation on the glory of Christ gives us delight and satisfaction in life.
Yes, in this life we cannot have a perfect vision of Christ. But as we draw nearer to that vision, the better, the more spiritual is the state of our mind and soul. Remember that most of our barrenness arise from admission of unworthy thoughts into our mind and weaken the operation of grace in our lives. But when the mind is filled with the thoughts about Jesus, such thoughts are filled with power and strength to cast out all causes of spiritual weaknesses in our lives.