The Word for 2018 – Fresh & Flourishing!
Text: Psalm 92:12-15
 “The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
 Those who are planted in the house of the LORD Shall flourish in the courts of our God.
 They shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing,
 To declare that the LORD is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.”
- In 2018 you will continue to be fresh and flourishing! That’s what the Lord said to us in GCM. For months back, all I heard was the word “Flourishing”. But it was during the last GCM Pretoria Anniversary I heard Him add the word “fresh” to it while I was reading this text again from the NKJV.
That made me take a Word study to see how that same phrase is expressed in other translations. At the end, I still prefer the expression from the NKJV. Here are a few:
14 KJV – “…they shall be fat and flourishing”
14 NLT – “…they will remain vital and green.”
14 NIV – “… they will stay fresh and green”
14 NCV – “… they will be healthy and fresh.”
14 GNB – “… are always green and strong. ”
14 AMP – “… they shall be full of sap of spiritual vitality and rich in the verdure of trust, love, and contentment. ”
Understanding the Symbolism
In giving us that Word, the Lord likened us to 2 things:
- The Palm tree
- The Cedar in Lebanon.
That called for more understanding.
- 12 (AMP) – 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.
THE PALM TREE
Out of about 2,500 species that grow in diff. environments from the desert to the rainforest, the Date, Oil & Coconut Palms are the best known. They are mostly straight, without branches with evergreen leaves.
To flourish like palm tree means to stand tall, upright, stately, having Long life; with the idea of beauty & prosperity. The figure of the palm tree gives us the idea of fruitfulness & usefulness. Every part of it is useful. They have provided food & sustenance for people over the years.
Palm leaves were an emblem of peace, joy, victory, triumph & celebration both by the Romans & Jews alike (John.12:12-13; Rev.7:9).
Palms grows slowly, but steadily, from century to century, uninfluenced by the changing seasons that affect other trees, and patiently yields its fruit from generation to generation.
One of the most graphic representations Solomon made of the Palm tree was when he carved it as one of the 3 symbols into the walls of the ‘holy of holies’ all round (1Kings.6:29). This wasn’t just ornamental, but the very best symbolism of the righteous when planted in the courts of the Lord, will remain fruitful, fresh and flourishing, for as long as they live, and a glorious immortality afterwards!
The Palm tree symbolizes:
- Beauty & Fruitfulness
- Upright, Stately & Long-life
- Provides Food & Nourishment
- Evergreen in all weather!
- Age doesn’t impair their fruit-bearing capability!
- Symbol of Peace, Joy, Victory & Triumph!
Known for their height (Amos 2:9) they are known to grow up to 100ft in height & 6ft in diameter. They are mostly found in high altitude areas (6,600ft/2000m), unlike the Sycamore tree that grows in the lowlands (1Kings 10:27).
They are very solid, strong & immovable, giving us the idea of majesty, stability
Ps. 29:5 “The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars, yes, the Lord splinters the cedars of Lebanon.”
Ez.31:3-9. “Indeed Assyria was a cedar in Lebanon, with fine branches that shaded the forest and of high stature; and its top was among the thick boughs… I made it beautiful with a multitude of branches,
so that all the trees of Eden envied it, that were in the garden of God.”
Cedar wood is known for its durability & incorruptibility (moth repellent) and was therefore in ancient times used for shipbuilding & in most recent times for railroads.
The cedar is also known for its longevity. Some of these trees are supposed to have lived upwards of 1000 years!
The nature of this tree is, that it is always green (full of sap – Ps.104:16), and it bears “an excellent kind of fruit, like unto apples, but of a sweeter taste, and more wholesome” according to the renowned British theologian Adam Clarke.
It’s the main wood with its distinctive aroma, used in the Construction of Solomon’s Temple.
The liquid from its fruit (resin) was used by the ancient Egyptians for mummification (embalmment). Again, another tree that’s completely useful all around.
Symbolism of the Cedar:
- Unlimited Spiritual. Growth, thriving best in High Altitudes (Spiritual Places)!
- An emblem of Strength & Permanence.
- Always Green, full of spiritual Substance (sap).
- Fruitfulness in all Season (cold, hot, dry)!
- Its Aromatic Wood is Incorruptible (Moth repellent).
- It’s the preferred material for the building of God’s Temple!
- Its fruit/products are both sweet & can act as a preservative.
Meaning of the words – fresh & flourishing!
Fresh – the original reference is to a ground that’s rich & fertile producing plants that are fresh, green, healthy, strong and full of sap. The righteous believer planted in the courts of the Lord is being pictured here as ever youthful, attractive and full of energy and vigour and always productive & useful!
Flourishing – (from the word Flourish), meaning to bud or sprout, break out/forth, to bloom or blossom; to spread forth or prosper, to spring up, grow or fly; to be green, grow luxuriant or fresh!
One of the best examples of the use & meaning of this word is Numbers 17:1-8 – Aaron’s Rod that Budded!
8 Now it came to pass on the next day that Moses went into the tabernacle of witness, and behold, the rod of Aaron, of the house of Levi, had sprouted and put forth buds, had produced blossoms and yielded ripe almonds.
- Ps.52:8 – But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God; I trust in the mercy of God forever and ever.
- Ps.72:7- In His days the righteous shall flourish, And abundance of peace, Until the moon is no more.
Conditions & Requirements for Flourishing
Because of the times we are in, and all that’s happening around us, our greatest challenge in 2018 will be to remain RIGHTEOUS!
We are to also remain “planted in the house of the Lord” – live in daily fellowship with the Lord, drawing our strength & sustenance from Him.
Because only then, according to the time tested truth of this Scripture, we, the righteous will be fresh & flourishing like the most luxuriant and majestic trees of the forest – upright, strong, and unmoved by the winds of circumstance, but having strength and vitality in the midst of difficult times.
Your Prosperity in 2018 will be the evidence that the LORD can be trusted in fulfilling His promises. He is a dependable rock, and there is nothing unreliable about Him.
On the other hand, although the wicked too will “spring up” and flourish (v7), their prosperity is like the grass that will soon fade away!
In 2018, you will remain fresh in every area of your life – health, finance, business, marriage, etc.
In all that you do, you will flourish! You will know no dryness! Every desert before you shall rejoice & blossom as the rose! You will sing! And you will dance again, says the Lord! (Is.35:1-2).
You will be & remain fresh & flourishing in 2018, in Jesus’ name.
Everything that has been an obstacle to you and questioned your planting and growth will come to an end not later than the 31st of December 2017.