I grew up around palm trees; they were everywhere. If I remember correctly, I even attempted to climb one as a child (I loved climbing trees). These palm trees were so much a part of us that they enhanced the economy. So imagine my excitement when I read Psalm 92:12!
“The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.”
Knowing a bit about palm trees gave me a better understanding of this verse.
There are thousands of species of palm trees and despite some differences, they all still share quite similar characteristics. Their lifespan for example: the average palm tree lives for about 100 years. They do not sprout and wither easily, but rather grow steadily and surely.
The branches of the palm tree are long and evergreen, and when cut down can be used (amongst other things) for feeding livestock, making thatched roofs and (when dried up) making brooms and nests. One variation of the palm tree produces palm nuts which grow in clusters and are used in the production of red palm oil, and other types of household oils.
Somewhere at the top of the very woody trunk of the palm tree, locals extract a sweet and refreshing drink known as palm wine. This is very popular drink, especially and maybe surprisingly among nursing mothers. Palm wine, if left for a few days becomes fermented and is used in the production of alcohol.
The bark of the palm tree, apart from been used in herbs, is also used as wood in the production of other things. The root of the palm tree is popularly known for its medicinal properties used in the cure of various ailments. The palm tree even if burnt down, is still not wasted as the ashes can be used to make local soaps which have been known to do wonders for the skin. Yet still, there is so much more to the palm tree!
Going back to the text, the verse in Psalm 92 starts by saying, The RIGHTEOUS….
Who are the righteous? Some might at this point be saying: oh that’s not me, I haven’t ever been righteous or I haven’t been righteous lately, so that cannot possibly be referring to me….
Well, “if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10: 9 NKJV). If you are saved, then you are righteous. Not because of your deeds but because of what Jesus has already done according to Romans 3: 21-25 NLT
“But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.  For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past…”
The next key word that jumps out from Psalm 92:12 is the word FLOURISH …The righteous shall flourish.
The dictionary definition of the word flourish is “to grow or develop in a healthy or vigorous way, especially as the result of a particularly congenial environment.” When the verse says the righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, it should be noted, that the palm tree is environment specific. The palm tree, with all its potential and uses, does not grow everywhere. Your environment as a Christian is paramount to your growth and development. You need to get the right nutrition to lead a life of excellence, to live your best life.
When you are in the environment of the Word and the Spirit, you will grow and develop (this takes time so do not rush yourself) and like the palm tree, no part of you will be a waste. Not even the detours and the mistakes!