Palms and Cedars

I feel it is not necessary to explain the meaning of words knowing they likely are known by readers, but I do so to aid readers who perhaps don’t know the meaning. For example, a metaphor is one thing conceived as representing another; a symbol. The Bible uses metaphors widely, such as, “The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon” Psalm 92: 12.

To understand the meaning, find the traits of the palm tree and the cedar in the metaphor.

The beautiful palm tree in the Bible era represented victory of the spirit over the flesh. Palm trees are not made of hardwood. Instead, they consist of spongy, fibrous tissue that helps them be flexible.  So the righteous should be.

Palm trees are not the grandest or most impressive trees, thus humility is ascribed to them. A kindred attribute is stability.

They were symbolic of life and prosperity. Other qualities of the palm tree that are noteworthy of the righteous are resilience, victory, peace tranquility, inner peace and serenity.

When Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey shortly before His arrest and crucifixion, the people placed palm branches on the road before Him (John 12:12-13; Matthew 21:7-8). The palm branches depicted joy, celebration and welcome to the King.

It’s test time. How many of those qualities do people see in you?

Now the majestic cedars of Lebanon grow to a height of 150 feet and limbs spreading over a circumference of 30 feet. They were a metaphor for the might and grandeur of God.

The righteous Christian, that is, shall grow like the cedars. Applied, this refers to our spiritual growth as having the qualities of the cedars. Metaphorically it speaks of durability, and resilience. They were also symbolic of divine wisdom.

One physical attribute of the cedar was its strength. They were a valued building product throughout the middle east because of their strength. Their wood was used extensively in Solomon’s temple.

In several ancient cultures, cedar wood was used to construct sacred spaces, temples, and religious artifacts, as it was believed to ward off negative energy and provide spiritual protection.

The tree’s natural oils and resins are believed to have antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and insect-repellent properties. In a spiritual context, these qualities represent the cleansing and purifying aspects of cedar, which can be applied to the mind, body, and soul.

As a strong and resilient tree, cedar symbolizes strength and endurance. The tree’s ability to withstand harsh weather conditions, pests, and diseases exemplifies the idea of spiritual resilience and fortitude.

The spiritual significance of cedar encompasses protection, wisdom, strength, purity, and connection with the divine.

Now get out there and flourish like a palm tree, and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.