Our Lord Jesus identified Himself with the prophecy of Isaiah (61): “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me because the Lord has anointed me to preach good tidings to the meek; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;…to provide for them that grieve in Zion, to give unto them beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair, that they might be called trees of righteousness, THE PLANTING OF THE LORD, that He might be glorified.”
The blessed man of Psalm 1 is “like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season, his leaves do not wither, and whatever he does prospers.”
Another reference from the Psalms (92:12-15): “The righteous shall flourish like the Palm Tree; they shall grow like a Cedar in Lebanon. Those that be planted in the House of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be full of sap and green; to show that the Lord is upright…”
One commentator indicates that Palms and Cedars are “trees of the Lord,” and it is by His care that they flourish; they are not trained and pruned by man! They are evergreen, and are beautiful in every season of the year. Everywhere these trees are noteworthy; no one can gaze upon a landscape in which there are either Palms or Cedars without his attention being fixed upon these royal growths. I well remember, on my first trip to Washington, Oregon and California many years ago, how we were transfixed by the lush growth of the Cedars on the West side of the mountains, and then the Palm Trees when our bus entered California. Having grown up on the bald Saskatchewan Prairie, I have a particular penchant for trees of any kind, but the magnificence of the Cedars and the Palms overwhelmed me.
The renowned Cedar of Lebanon is a true Cedar, unlike those of the Cypress family with which we North Americans are more familiar. The upper slopes of the Lebanon Mountains were once covered with these majestic trees. In centuries past, the Cedar of Lebanon was sought after for its attractive, fragrant, durable wood. Unfortunately, there is now but a grove of these ancient and beautiful trees surviving in the northern mountains. The people of early Middle East civilizations used them for building palaces, ships, temples, and tombs. You may recall that, when Solomon built that first magnificent temple in Jerusalem, he ordered Cedar trees from Lebanon.
The Palm, on the other hand, is found in warmer climates, especially in the tropics. It is important in tropical regions because it provides food, clothing, and building materials for the people. Most Palms grow straight and tall, with long fan-like leaves clustered near the top. There are many varieties of Palm trees, bearing different fruits such as dates and coconuts.
It is interesting to note that the Lord refers to these magnificent trees as a type of His people who are to be “called trees of righteousness, THE PLANTING OF THE LORD.”
Those who are His shall grow like the Cedars of Lebanon “that brave all storms, and grow near the eternal snows, the Lord Himself filling them with a sap which keeps their hearts warm and their boughs strong.” Such is the work of the Holy Spirit dwelling within. The child of God flourishes like a Palm tree, which pushes all its strength upward in one erect column without a single branch. It is a pillar with a glorious crown. It has no growth to the right nor to the left, but sends all its force heavenward, and bears its fruit as near the sky as possible.
It is by His care that they flourish; they are trained and pruned by His loving hand; they stand in the beauty of His Righteousness under all kinds of weather. The storms of life serve only to deepen the roots and strengthen the tree. Indeed,
The wind that blows can never kill
The tree God plants!
It blows from east, it blows from west,
The tender leaves have little rest,
But any wind that blows is best.
The tree God plants
Strikes deeper root, grows higher still,
Spreads greater boughs, for God’s good will
Meets all its wants.
There is no storm has power to blast
The tree God knows;
No thunderbolt, nor beating rains,
Nor lightning flash, nor hurricanes;
When they are spent, it still remains,
The tree God knows.
Through every tempest it stands fast,
And from its first day to its last
Still fairer grows.
“Lord, let it be so with me, I pray!