Your stature is like a palm tree
Growing up in the north, palm trees always seemed exotic. We took one vacation in South Carolina when I was about four, and so my memories of that consist mainly of a few snapshots we had to commemorate the trip and an incident with an alligator and a brick - but that’s a tale for another day.
It was not until I was in highschool, and a choir trip to Florida, that I have any real memories of palm trees in the wild.
Since that time, I have headed south more often, usually via family laden mini van. I would load my groggy but excited kids in the van with the luggage on the roof, and a vat of coffee near the driver’s seat. At about 10 PM we would pull out of our New Jersey drive way and head to Route 95. Next stop - palm trees and paradise for a week.
Again it was South Carolina where we knew we had reached the south. It wasn’t just the accents that had changed, the landscape declared our departure from the north. “We’re not in New Jersey any more, Toto.”
But what is it about the palm tree that lands it here in the Song of Songs?
The Lord Jesus is speaking to His beautiful bride and says she has the stature of a palm. Why? What’s special about a palm? What set’s it apart?
There is a reason we find them in tropical and in very dry regions. First, these trees love the heat. When other plants and trees might be scorched they stand and produce fruit.
Remember the parable of the soils.
Others fell on the rocky places, where they did not have much soil; and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of soil. "But when the sun had risen, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. ...
The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away. - Matthew 13:5-6, 20-21
Our girl has faced afflictions and persecutions and what did we observe? Her faithfulness blossomed, her life bore fruit. Rather than whither at the hand of adversity, she grew in spite of - or perhaps because of - its presence in her life.
Palms do well in extremely dry climates as well. Their roots dig deep down to find nourishment, even when it’s in short supply. They are able to bring forth fruit in a parched and dying land.
Palms grow straight and tall. The psalmist says that the palm declares righteousness.
The righteous man will flourish like the palm tree, He will grow like a cedar in Lebanon. - Psalm 92:12
The palm also signifies victory. We see Christ welcomed into Jerusalem with the crowds waving palm branches and laying them down before Him. (John 12:13)
The heavenly scene that John describes in the Revelation of a multitude has us all holding palm branches in our hands. (Revelation 7:9)
What does it all mean?
The Shepherd King (Jesus) has just heard the maids declare ten characteristics of His bride that describe her spiritual maturity and He sees it too. He speaks into the life of His bride. Can you hear it:
You, my beautiful bride, grow straight and true. You not only survive adversity, you thrive. Where others are searching for food, you become a source of life for them. I can count on you to nourish others in times of drought. Your righteousness can be seen from afar. Your victory over the trials and temptations of life demonstrates that I am your source. Your roots dig down deep and find the rivers of living water, and there you abide.
Let your roots dig deep today.
Walk in the light.
See you again soon.