Date: June 28
Category: Godly Character
"The [uncompromisingly] righteous shall flourish like the palm tree [be long-lived, stately, upright, useful, and fruitful]; they shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon [majestic, stable, durable, and incorruptible]. Planted in the house of the Lord, they shall flourish in the courts of our God. [Growing in grace] they shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be full of sap [of spiritual vitality] and [rich in the] verdure [of trust, love, and contentment]. [They are living memorials] to show that the Lord is upright and faithful to His promises; He is my Rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him."
This is an amazing description of the person who is uncompromisingly righteous. Someone who is uncompromisingly righteous is someone who will do what is right no matter what. He doesn't follow anyone who doesn't follow God. He will do whatever God wants him to do because he is listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit. That's a person who is uncompromisingly righteous.
But what does it say about him? Well in verse 12a, we read that he shall flourish like the palm tree. That's an interesting description. When my wife and I visited Israel, we saw many palm trees all over the country. The trees were always beautiful and green. They were always lively. So according to this verse, the uncompromisingly righteous will flourish just like the palm tree. He will be long-lived, stately, upright, useful, and fruitful. He will not be stale and useless, but he will have a purpose.
Then verse 12b says that he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon, which means he will be majestic, stable, durable, and incorruptible. So the righteous will stand with good and lasting quality. He won't be weak and flimsy. This is such a powerful description of the righteous. But remember that this only applies to the righteous person who does not compromise his righteousness. If you compromise your righteousness, then you may stand strong for a while, but your stability won't last very long.
I have had friends who have been an encouragement to me in the past. They always pointed me in the right direction in terms of my spiritual walk with the Lord, and I have embraced them. But then those friends chose to give up on that path themselves. I remember trying to encourage them not to give up, but they didn't listen. Now they have collapsed in their relationship with God, their relationship with other people, their finances, and in many other things. Their downfall is a result of the choices that they made. They stood strong for a while, but in the end they became unstable.
That's why we need to be uncompromisingly righteous and embrace the Word of God and godly people who are directing us towards the Word. When we do that, we will be righteous without compromise and God will make us stable, just like a cedar in Lebanon.
Then in verse 13 we read, "Planted in the house of the Lord, they shall flourish in the courts of our God." That's where we will flourish – in the presence of the living God. We need the presence of God in our lives every day if we are to grow and flourish and become stable and useful.
If a tree doesn't get any water and sunlight then it cannot survive. If it doesn't get the nourishment it needs, then it can't grow. If it can't grow, then it cannot provide what it's supposed to provide for us. It's the same thing with us. If we, as Christians, don't get the nourishment that comes from the Word of God and the fellowship of other believers in the house of God, then we cannot grow spiritually. If we don't grow spiritually, then we won't be able to give to others what we're supposed to give them.
That's why we need the presence of God in our lives. First, we need it personally in our own homes and in our own time of devotionals with God. Then we need it in the fellowship of other believers in the house of God. In the presence of God is where we will find strength. When we are strengthened in God's presence, then when we go back out into the world, we won't be fearful of any obstacles that come our way.
In verse 14a, we read, "[Growing in grace] they shall still bring forth fruit in old age…" So even in old age, we will still be useful and productive for the Lord. It's interesting to notice that in society, as people become old, they often think that they're useless. They think that just because they've aged and are retired, they can no longer do anything productive. Some elderly people become grumpy because they expect to be sick; they expect to die; they expect nothing good to come out of their lives anymore.
But it's not like that with a person who has a close relationship with God. A person who digs in the Word, speaks the Word, and obeys the Word will still bear fruit even in old age, this Scripture says. We may not have a teenager's body anymore, but our spirits will still be alive and strong. The rest of verse 14 says, "[rich in the] verdure [of trust, love, and contentment]." So we always flourish with happiness and joy.
Then in verse 15 we read, "[They are living memorials] to show that the Lord is upright and faithful to His promises; He is my Rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him." All of the qualities in a person who is uncompromisingly righteous are only to show that God Himself is righteous. God is upright and faithful to His promises. He is our Rock and shelter. In Him we can find refuge and strength. And in Him there is absolutely no unrighteousness whatsoever. So the character of God and the nature of God can be reflected in His people, but only through those who are uncompromisingly righteous. So today, let's show others the righteousness of God, by living a life of righteousness ourselves!