Scripture Reading: Psalm 92: 12-15
Verses 12 – 14 of our reference today says, “The righteous will flourish like the palm trees; they will grow like the cedar of Lebanon. They are like trees planted in the house of the Lord that flourishes in the temple of our God that still bear fruit in old age, and are always green and strong”. Dear reader of Daily Strength, have you ever wondered why the palm tree is used to describe the righteous? This is instructive. God cannot use words or make illustrations without reasons or make statements that are of no value. Look, the life of a palm tree is not influenced by the seasons of the year like many other plants. Watch, carefully and you will notice that the palm tree produces all through the year and it’s greenish all through. As it sheds some of its leaves, new ones sprout immediately to replace them. Take notice also that because the palm tree is strong and healthy many creeping plants grow on it and feed from it. Every time of the year, it is capable of producing wine juice which brewers convert to assorted kinds of drinks. Beloved, do you know that no matter how old a palm tree may be, it still manages to bear fruit. Is this not wonderful? The life and nature of the palm tree should actually be replicated in the righteous man. The righteous man is one who does things, which are morally right and justifiable. This means that his righteous actions bring him into intimacy with the Triune God; from where he gets his daily nourishment. For such a person, St. Bemadine of Siena has this to say, “In all your actions see in the first place the kingdom of God and his glory; persevere in brotherly charity, and practice first of all that you desire to teach others. ” No wonder the Imitation of Christ Bk. 1,1,3 says, “This is the highest wisdom: to despise the world and to head to the kingdom of heaven”. In Psalm 1: 1-2 the scripture says, “Happy are those who reject the advice of evil men, who do not follow the examples of sinners and join those who have no use for God, instead they find joy in obeying the Law of the Lord, and they study it day and night”. As we gradually come to the end of this year, the Holy Spirit enjoins us to seek to end the year in a righteous mode – a friend to Jesus. He is careful to obey the Lord and dwell in his word. So that your Spirit – man is maintained and nourished by God, through his word and sacraments, especially the body and blood of Christ received in faith and in good state. We will enjoy God’s protection and our health renewed daily. So for the Christian to flourish like the palm tree, he must understand who he is and execute these kingdom principles:
(i) Seek earnestly and perseveringly the Lord Jesus Christ. This means that he must seek the righteousness of God through the sacrifice of Christ in the cross.
(ii) Develop internally motivated passion and commitment to assisting the less privileged in the society. That means that he must consciously and as a duty extend sacrificial love to others.
(iii) Live a humble and unassuming life, believing that all things including his life took origin from God Almighty. He owns nothing actually!
(ivj Develop a heart of gratitude to God for every good or bad situation.
Beloved, when you follow strictly these Kingdom principles, you are planted in the tabernacle of God, and as the scripture says, you shall flourish in the court of our God. You will grow in authority and power and be able to prevail significantly over life circumstances that may tend to stand against you. You shall trust in the mercy of God forever, because you are a green olive tree in the house of God (Psalm 52:8). You shall be dew unto Israel (family, community or nation) (Hosea 14: 5-6). As a righteous man, you shall grow as the lily, and cast forth roots as cedars of Lebanon.
1. Take a worship song as you are led
2. Consider the barriers confronting your smooth relationship with God. Rise in holy anger to confront such obstacles in the name of Jesus Christ.
3. Invoke the indwelling power of God into your life
4. Lord grant me the grace to grow like the cedars of Lebanon in your court in Jesus name Amen.
5. I consecrate myself with the holy Word of Jesus Christ. Therefore, no weapon formed against me shall prosper. (3x)
6. Pray for the success of the 21 days of prayer and fasting programme, which comes up on January 6th to January 29 2016.
7. Pray for the grace to be there.
Exercise: Share this reflection with someone else
Memory Verse: Psalm 92:12