In November of last year (that seems weird to say last year just nine days in to this one), I attended a conference for women in leadership who serve a specific ministry. The theme for the conference was “Flourish.” Sitting in the hotel room that first night, this word nerd went to the Scriptures to find instances where “flourish” is used…what it means. As with many key words in Scripture, we really experience only limited understanding with surface reading. However, when we take the time to pick up a shovel and dig for treasure through word study, we will uncover revelation (to us) and know the full breath of God.
Well, in this cursory search of “flourish,” I found many applications of the word. Little did I know that God would highlight one of the applications the next day. Psalm 92. Take a minute to look it up and read it…I’ll wait while sipping on this most fabulous mango green tea…
Back to the conference in November. As we were worshipping the following day, God started whispering to my spirit over and over… “Trees of Lebanon…Trees of Lebanon…Trees of Lebanon.” Right there in worship, I opened the word, did a search for “Trees of Lebanon,” and was stopped in my soul tracks at Psalm 92. It was a NOW word for the women at the conference, and it’s a NOW word for intentional Jesus followers in 2019.
I don’t know about your 2018, but mine was filled with the most wonderful blessings and answered prayers that were met by some of the most horrible, soul-wrenching events. It was a year of growth and setback, life and death, celebration and morning, unity and separation. It was a year of Psalm 92:1-9. Even though I was pressing in and practicing thanksgiving for God’s love and faithfulness…Even though I was entering an intense season of offering my life as a “Yes and Amen” for His purpose…Even though I was walking in the joy of His handiwork…well, there were moments and seasons of (still are) profooooouuund pain, grief. We have an enemy who is serious about his work and purpose.
When the wicked spring as the grass, and when all the workers of iniquity do flourish; it is they that shall be destroyed forever:
Here is a paraphrase of what this verse is saying with the Hebrew meanings through key words: When the morally wrong, condemned, and ungodly break forth and bloom to spread like grass that glistens, and when those who habitually practice wrought against others through troubles and vanity and mischief flourish or twinkle for a glance, their works will be overthrown and brought to nought.
This is saying that the works (and workers) of satan will flourish, but it’s only a glance. The works of satan against God’s people will only last for a twinkle in time, then the works will be destroyed. It will sometimes feel like forever when the enemy’s attacks are glancing your way, but just wait. The enemy has had his twinkle in 2018, yet we will proclaim Psalm 92:10-15 for 2019! It’s OUR time to flourish.
The Hebrew word for “flourish” throughout this chapter is the same, but the application is very different. Verse 10 declares that the light and power of God will rise up through our lives, and we will overflow with new oil and prosperity. Verse 12 proclaims that the righteous will “flourish like the palm tree.” Get this… “palm tree” means to be erect! We will also “grow like a cedar in Lebanon,” which is saying that we will have increase through the tenacity of our roots! Wowza!! When we remain erect in spirit as our souls are bowing before His throne, yielded to His hand, our roots will be tenacious and prosper!
Let’s not stop here. Verse 13 says that sons and daughters of God will flourish, break forth, bloom, spread, fly in God’s yard. Where is His yard? Wherever we set our feet for His commission and purpose is real estate for God’s Kingdom, whether it is a location or a soul.
Then in 14, there is proclamation that even those who are old will “bring forth fruit” and be “fat and flourishing.” This “fat” is not an accusation towards a number on a scale; it is the picture of being fertile…pregnant, even. I see a remnant of Christ who have walked intentionally, positioned in God’s will even in the midst of great and painful trials.
Because these people of God have remained faithful…not perfect, but being perfected and remaining faithful…the seed that the Spirit has planted inside of them has taken root in fertile soil. That seed has been nourished and strengthened and protected as a woman with child, and the fruit is ripe. The fruit of obedience to God’s will, the fruit of yielding to the Spirit’s transforming counsel, the fruit of devotion to the example of Christ will flourish in 2019 in ways and places and through people that the world has despised…the church has disregarded.
When this fruit breaks forth and flourishes, it will, in God’s exhale of verse 15, “…show that the LORD is upright: [and that] He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.”
Watch and see what He is doing in our days to come. Perceive it. Lean into it. You will be utterly amazed.
Learning and Growing With You…