LandMarks Magazine      
   

December 2009 Table of Contents

 
    January 3, 2010 - January 9, 2010
 
 

Healthy Root System

 

Key Text

“The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing; To show that the Lord is upright: he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.” Psalm 92:12–15.

 

Study Help: In Heavenly Places, 34; Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 18.

 

Introduction

“The tree of the desert is a symbol of what God means the life of His children in this world to be. They are to guide weary souls, full of unrest, and ready to perish in the desert of sin, to the living water. They are to point their fellow men to Him who gives the invitation, ‘If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink.’ John 7:37.” Education, 116.

 

1          What does the word of God say about the righteous? Who will be fat and flourishing? Psalm 92:12–15.

 

Note: “Prove the promise of God that ‘those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; and they shall be fat and flourishing; to show that the Lord is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him’ [Psalm 92:13–15].

   “Keep your heart and mind young by continuous exercise.” The Review and Herald, April 6, 1886. 

 

2          We want to be as a “cedar in Lebanon” as mentioned in Psalm 92:12; Psalm 104:16, 17. How do we become that cedar?

 

Note: “The cedar of Lebanon was honored by all the people of the East. The class of trees to which it belongs is found wherever man has gone throughout the earth. From the arctic regions to the tropic zone they flourish, rejoicing in the heat, yet braving the cold; springing in rich luxuriance by the riverside, yet towering aloft upon the parched and thirsty waste. They plant their roots deep among the rocks of the mountains and boldly stand in defiance of the tempest. Their leaves are fresh and green when all else has perished at the breath of winter. Above all other trees the cedar of Lebanon is distinguished for its strength, its firmness, its undecaying vigor; and this is used as a symbol of those whose life is ‘hid with Christ in God.’ Colossians 3:3. Says the Scripture, ‘The righteous … shall grow like a cedar.’ Psalm 92:12. The divine hand has exalted the cedar as king over the forest. … The cedar is repeatedly employed as an emblem of royalty, and its use in Scripture to represent the righteous shows how Heaven regards those who do the will of God.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 450.

 

3          If the righteous shall grow like a cedar, what is the first prerequisite or condition in ourselves we need to experience before we can receive righteousness, a condition acceptable to God, as found in Matthew 5:6?

 

Note: “We are to come to God in faith, and pour out our supplications before Him, believing that He will work in our behalf, and in the behalf of those we are seeking to save. We are to devote more time to earnest prayer. With the trusting faith of a little child, we are to come to our heavenly Father, telling Him of all our needs. He is always ready to pardon and help. The supply of divine wisdom is inexhaustible, and the Lord encourages us to draw largely from it. The longing that we should have for spiritual blessings is described in the words, ‘As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God’ [Psalm 42:1]. We need a deeper soul-hunger for the rich gifts that heaven has to bestow. We are to hunger and thirst after righteousness.

   “O that we might have a consuming desire to know God by an experimental knowledge, to come into the audience chamber of the Most High, reaching up the hand of faith, and casting our helpless souls upon the One mighty to save. His loving kindness is better than life.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 3, 1146, 1147.

 

4          From Whom only should our soul’s expectation be?  Psalm 62:5.

 

Note: “A divine element unites with human effort when the soul reaches out after God.” Gospel Workers, 99.

 

5          What is it that we need to drink if we do not want to ever crave the world’s advantages and attractions? John 4:14.

 

Note: “ ‘Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst’—never crave the world’s advantages and attractions—‘but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up unto everlasting life’ [John 4:14].”  “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1134.

 

6          What is the water that Christ referred to in John 4:14? The water of life flowing from whose heart will water the hearts of others? What are we to seek for and why?

 

Note: “You must seek to have an indwelling Saviour, who will be to you as a well of water, springing up into everlasting life. The water of life flowing from the heart always waters the hearts of others.” Ibid., 1134.

 

7          Why should we want to be a “palm tree” Christian? Explain what a “palm tree” Christian is. Psalm 92:12.

 

Note: “The palm tree well represents the life of a Christian. It stands upright amid the burning desert sand, and dies not; for it draws its sustenance from the springs of life beneath the surface.

   “See the weary traveler toiling over the hot sands of the desert, with no shelter to protect him from the rays of a tropical sun. His water supply fails, and he has nothing to slake his burning thirst. His tongue becomes swollen; he staggers like a drunken man. Visions of home and friends pass before his mind, as he believes himself ready to perish in the terrible desert. Suddenly those in advance send forth a shout of joy. In the distance, looming up out of the dreary, sandy waste, is a palm tree, green and flourishing. Hope quickens his pulses. That which gives vigor and freshness to the palm tree will cool the fevered pulses, and give life to those who are perishing with thirst.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 3, 1151.

 

8          What is the gift of God and the living water? John 4:10.

 

Note: “The water that Christ referred to was the revelation of His grace in His Word. His Spirit, His teaching, is as a satisfying fountain to every soul. … In Christ is fullness of joy forevermore … Christ’s gracious presence in His Word is ever speaking to the soul, representing Him as the well of living water to refresh the thirsting. It is our privilege to have a living, abiding Saviour. He is the source of spiritual power implanted within us, and His influence will flow forth in words and actions, refreshing all within the sphere of our influence, begetting in them desires and aspirations for strength and purity, for holiness and peace, and for that joy which brings with it no sorrow. This is the result of an indwelling Saviour.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1134.

 

9          A “tree of the desert” draws the thirsty traveler because there is water where that tree is. Where does a Christian go to satisfy his thirst? John 7:37. 

 

Note: “The tree of the desert is a symbol of what God means the life of His children in this world to be. They are to guide weary souls, full of unrest, and ready to perish in the desert of sin, to the living water. They are to point their fellow men to Him who gives the invitation, ‘If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink.’ John 7:37.” Education, 116.

 

10        If we are to be a sturdy “tree of the desert” in these last days under very trying circumstances, where should our root be? Ezekiel 31:7; John 7:37.

 

Note: “As the palm tree, drawing nourishment from fountains of living water, is green and flourishing in the midst of the desert, so the Christian may draw rich supplies of grace from the fountain of God’s love, and may guide weary souls, that are full of unrest and ready to perish in the desert of sin, to those waters of which they may drink, and live. The Christian is ever pointing his fellow-men to Jesus, who invites, ‘If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink.’ This fountain never fails us; we may draw, and draw again.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 3, 1151.

 

Additional Reading

 

   “If the Christian thrives and progresses at all, he must do so amid strangers to God, amid scoffing, subject to ridicule. He must stand upright like the palm tree in the desert. The sky may be as brass, the desert sand may beat about the palm tree’s roots, and pile itself in heaps about its trunk. Yet the tree lives as an evergreen, fresh and vigorous amid the burning desert sands. Remove the sand till you reach the rootlets of the palm tree, and you discover the secret of its life; it strikes down deep beneath the surface, to the secret waters hidden in the earth. Christians indeed may be fitly represented by the palm tree. They are like Enoch; although surrounded by corrupting influences, their faith takes hold of the Unseen. They walk with God, deriving strength and grace from Him to withstand the moral pollution surrounding them. Like Daniel in the courts of Babylon, they stand pure and uncontaminated; their life is hid with Christ in God. They are virtuous in spirit amid depravity; they are true and loyal, fervent and zealous, while surrounded by infidels, hypocritical professors, godless and worldly men. Their faith and life are hid with Christ in God. Jesus is in them a well of water springing up into everlasting life. Faith, like the rootlets of the palm tree, penetrates beneath the things which are seen, drawing spiritual nourishment from the Fountain of life.

   “When the love of Jesus is abiding in the soul, many who are now but withered branches will become as the cedars of Lebanon, ‘whose root is by the great waters.’ (Ezekiel 31:7.) The cedar is noted for the firmness of its roots. Not content to cling to the earth with a few weak fibers, it thrusts its rootlets, like a sturdy wedge, into the cloven rock, and reaches down deeper and deeper for strong holds to grasp. When the tempest grapples with its boughs, that firm-set tree cannot be uprooted. What a goodly cedar might not every follower of Christ become, if he were but rooted and grounded in the truth, firmly united to the Eternal Rock.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 3, 1151.

   “There are certain conditions upon which we may expect that God will hear and answer our prayers. One of the first of these is that we feel our need of help from Him. He has promised, ‘I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground.’ Isaiah 44:3. Those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, who long after God, may be sure that they will be filled. The heart must be open to the Spirit’s influence, or God’s blessing cannot be received.

   “Our great need is itself an argument and pleads most eloquently in our behalf. But the Lord is to be sought unto to do these things for us. He says, ‘Ask, and it shall be given you.’ And ‘He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?’ Matthew 7:7; Romans 8:32.” Steps to Christ, 95.

   “By maintaining a connection with God we shall be enabled to diffuse to others, through our association with them, the light, the peace, the serenity, that rules in our hearts, and set before them an example of unwavering fidelity to the interests of the work in which we are engaged.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 460.

   
   

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