The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.…
I. THE THREEFOLD RIGHTEOUSNESS WHICH ALL THE GODLY POSSESS.
1. Imputed. This is sometimes called the righteousness of God, because God provided it; it is called the righteousness of Christ, inasmuch as He performed it; it is also called the righteousness of faith, as that is the appointed means whereby we receive it.
2. Implanted. He is the subject of new principles, motives, feelings.
3. Exhibited. A changed heart will be seen in a changed life.
II. THE COMPARISON EMPLOYED.
1. For the righteous to be compared to the palm-tree, reminds us of the important truth that the most useful is the most flourishing believer.
2. The righteous will also grow as the cedar in Lebanon. A flourishing Christian is a growing Christian; he grows in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; he advances in the divine life, and abounds more and more both in the active and passive fruits of the Spirit.
III. THE PLACE SPECIFIED. "The house of the Lord," etc, "Christians," says an able writer, "are like soldiers; it is easier to fight in the regiment, where the men stand shoulder to shoulder, than standing alone to maintain some solitary outpost. They are like live coals; when separated they go out, but when gathered into heaps they burn and brighten, so as even to purify gold and silver. They are like trees; they grow the tallest where they stand together, running no small chance, like a solitary tree, of becoming dwarfed, stunted, gnarled, and bark-bound, if they grow alone. You never yet saw a tall and tapering mast which, catching the winds of heaven in its outspread wings, impelled the gallant ship on through the sea, and over the rolling billows, but its home had been the forest; there, with its foot planted upon the Norwegian rock, it grew amid neighbours that drew up each other to the skies."
IV. THE PERIOD INDICATED. "They shall still bring forth fruit in old age," etc. This, of course, does not imply that all the godly live to be old. It is true that the fear of the Lord prolongeth days; but still it often happens that the fairest specimens of sanctified humanity are called away in their early prime and promise. What the words signify is, evidently, that if they lived to be old their souls would continue to prosper, and that the peaceable fruits of righteousness would still be produced.
V. THE REASON ADDUCED. "To show that the Lord is upright," etc. A most conclusive proof have we in every "old disciple" of the faithfulness of God. When the hoary-headed saint reads the promise, "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee," he can stand up and say to all the world, It is true, for so have I found it during the whole course of my pilgrimage.
Parallel VersesKJV: The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.