Are we FLOURISHING or FADING in our OLD AGE?
June 20 Bible Reading: Psalms Chapters 90-97
"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." (Psalms 92:12-15)
As the title declares, this individual psalm of thanksgiving was written in order to accompany the Sabbath celebration. This psalm speaks about the righteous growing like a palm tree and a cedar. While the palm tree symbolizes beauty and fruitfulness, the cedar stands for strength and permanence. The reason why believers grow and flourish is because they are planted in the house and courts of God. In other words, they live in daily fellowship with God, drawing their strength and sustenance from Him as their roots go deep down into the soil of God’s unquenchable love. In the end, their intimate fellowship with Christ is the secret of their fruitfulness for Him!
Let us always remember that no matter how old we are, we can have a fresh and fruitful life. Since we are planted in the rich soil of God’s vineyard, we will continue to bear fruit and be flourishing (v. 14). It is only when we abide in Jesus that we can bear much fruit (John 15:5). Our old age should not impair our fruit-bearing capabilities, as we continue to pulsate with vigorous spiritual life (the sap) and our testimony remains evergreen. Our spiritual prosperity is evidence that the God is faithful in fulfilling His promises!
It is interesting to note that while the righteous is compared to two strong, vital, and productive trees - the palm and cedar (v. 14), the wicked is compared to grass (v. 7). While the righteous flourishes and go on from strength to strength, the wicked withers and fades away very soon. The source of the vitality of the righteous is not themselves, but God in whom they trust. Thus, the psalmist correctly concludes that there is great wisdom in living righteously, rather than living wickedly in this world!
In old age, those who live righteously for Christ remain fresh (v. 10), flourishing (vv. 12–13), fruitful (v. 14), and faithful (v. 15). Instead of complaining endlessly about their limitations, they continue to praise God and be witnesses of His grace and favor upon their lives. God’s goodness toward the righteous will surely elicit heartfelt thanksgiving from them at all times (vv. 12, 15; 1 Thess. 5:18). Even though their exterior bodies grow weaker, inwardly they are renewed day-by-day (2 Cor. 4:16).
Thus, the difference between flourishing or fading in old age appears to be righteous and obedient living every day (v. 12). Those who have lived for God during their early lives tend to keep bearing fruit even when they are old. This psalm challenges us to consider whether we are preparing for our final years by living with righteousness today. We need to continue daily in God’s Word, rooted and grounded in Christ as we drink of His love and faithfulness. It is then we will always be fresh, fruitful and flourishing in God’s kingdom, as we become inspiring testimonies of the constant presence and provision of God. It is then; we can join in with singing this old hymn “The longer I serve Him, the sweeter it grows”:
“Since I started for the kingdom, since my life He controls, since I gave my heart to Jesus;
The longer I serve Him the sweeter He grows; the more I love Him more love He bestows;
Each day is like Heaven my heart overflows; the longer I serve Him the sweeter He grows;
Every need he is supplying, plenteous grace He bestows; everyday my way gets brighter;
The longer I serve Him the sweeter He grows.”