I have a 1828 Noah Webster dictionary. I like it because it uses Scriptural examples of words. Using Psalm 92:12, the meaning for flourish is: to grow in grace and good works. The verse says, “The righteousness shall flourish as a palm tree…” Here is something interesting about the palm tree that I learned from a pastor when I was young.
The leaves of the palm tree are green and flourishing at the top. That is not the case when we stand below and look up. I can see some palm trees from where I live. After a tremendous wind storm, the street was littered with dead branches and chunks of dried bark. I had to skit them as I drove by.
We are clothed in God’s righteousness. We flourish when we walk in His ways. When we are walking in our flesh, we drop dead branches that cause others to skirt around us. The testimony of Jesus is not attractive to them. Our lives do not display the gospel. The process of progressive sanctification is to help our leaves be green, and the fruit of the Spirit evident through our walk.
Another definition in the 1828 dictionary really caught my eye. It means: to open, expand, enlarge, or to shoot out, as in glory. Wow. Think of Isaiah 54. Verse 1 bids the barren to sing. Verse 2-3 says, “Enlarge the place of your tent, and let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings; do not spare; lengthen your cords, and strengthen your stakes. For you shall expand to the right and to the left…”
Here is an example of God’s orchestration. After I typed the above, I looked at my homework verse for today that I am to meditate on. It is 1 Timothy 4:12. It says, “Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity, show yourself an example to those who believe.” What a perfect verse to add to this post.
Do the following exemplify the Lord in your life? The words that you speak, your character, love, faith, and purity are displayed before others. Do they imitate Christ? In 1 Corinthians 11:1 Paul wrote, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ.” Paul wrote two letters to Timothy. Each one instructed him on how to walk uprightly before others.
God’s word in us is what will cause us to flourish. It is not something that we can do. It is the sole work of the Holy Spirit as we delight in God’s word. Hebrews 4:12 says that God’s word is alive, active, and powerful. I like to think of it as yeast in bread dough that permeates throughout our heart. Kefir has billions of active bacteria that bring healing as we ingest it. Psalm 107:20 says, “He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.”
Isaiah 55:11 says of God’s word, “…it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” God’s word hidden in our heart will prosper. It will permeate every aspect of our lives so that we are not barren or fruitless. John 15:8 says, “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.”