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Planting Date Palms You May Never Sit Under

Revelation 7:9-17

The Shade of My Date Palm

One of the most graceful trees in all of the State of Florida is a Date Palm tree. It can grow as tall as 90 feet. It has green fronds that remain green the whole year. You can eat the dates and even make a drink from its sap. And if you are a native Floridian, I’m sure you have eaten the Heart of Palm a time or two; harvested from the tree’s inner core. But the most common use of the Date Palm is to provide shade for the scorching Florida sun.

I have one of these Date Palms in my front yard. I love the shade it provides. I love the dates it produces. But I didn’t plant it. The lady that lived in my house two years before I moved in did. She planted a date palm she never sat under. Consequently, those who came after her had access to the shade from the Florida sun because of the tree she planted.

Our commission as to what our Lord wants us to do in this cultural tribulation can be summed up with one single charge; the same commission the churches of Revelation received during their tribulation: Plant date palms you may never sit under.

1. Why: Providing shade for future generations triumphs the demands of the moment (9a)

After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb.

We all plant trees for future generations:

Either Brazilian Pepper Trees:

Ex20:4-6 You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in the heavens above, on the earth below, or in the waters beneath. 5You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on their children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6but showing loving devotion to a thousand generations of those who love Me and keep My commandments.

Or Date Palm Trees:

Gen15:5-6 He took him (Abraham) outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 6Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.

Textual Anchor:

Great multitude that no one could count, from every tribe nation standing before God is the ultimate fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham. It’s now; but not yet. It still hasn’t come to full fruition and won’t until Jesus recreates a New Heaven and New Earth.

Application:

The faith efforts you engage in today have ramifications far beyond your immediate enjoyment and for future generations.

2. Who: Those who live with a purpose much greater than themselves (9b-12)

They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. 10 And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” 11 All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures. They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying: “Amen! Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!”

Trees and Branches in the Bible Denote Two Important Spiritual Realities:

(1) The Barrenness of what could have been; or

(2) The Fruitfulness of what will be

Trees and Branches of the Barrenness of What Could Have Been:

(1) Adam and Eve - the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil;

(2) King Saul (Palm Branches laid at his coronation, but God rejected him);

(3) The First Triumphant Entry – (Palm Branches laid at Jesus’ coronation, but the People rejected him)

Trees and Branches of the Fruitfulness of What Will Be:

(1) Calvary – Gal 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree;”

(2) The Second Triumphal Entry – here – “salvation belongs to our God..and to the lamb.”

(3) Tree of Life – Rev 22:2 – on each side of the river stood the tree of life…and leaves of tree for healing of nation.

Application:

Barrenness of what could have been occurs at the precise moment we consider our own happiness to be more important than “thy will be done.” Fruitfulness for now and future generations comes when we look unto the one who lived with a purpose much greater than himself as our standard and example.

3. How: Through a burden born in tribulation (13-14)

13 Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?” 14 I answered, “Sir, you know.” And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

Search the Scriptures and You’ll Find How God Uses Tribulation to Shape our Planting Callings:

(1) He found Nehemiah. He wasn’t a preacher; he was a businessman. But he was a praying man. He was a man who wasn’t just filled with a moment of passion. He wouldn’t let it die.

(2) Then he baptized Nehemiah in a River of Tribulation. He heard the news about Jerusalem’s Walls and he began to pray, mourn and fast.

(3) Baptism of Tribulation made his burden stronger and stronger to do something and plant.

(4) He risked his life as a cupbearer to the Persian King not only by leaving; but by having the audacity to ask him to pay for it.

(5) Why didn’t God use the preachers, the priests, the deacons, and the rest of the people of God? Because there was no sign of tribulation. No prayers. No thought of planting Date Palms. Only Brazilian Pepper Trees of Barrenness.

Textual Anchor

Tribulation and the sacrifices of their own lives many in the Churches of Revelation made that is in view here to give them assurance that out of their tribulation, came burden and calling. And from that calling, their message endured.

Application

Any real and genuine move of the Holy Spirit is always born in tribulation. For through your tribulation, God has shaped you in a unique way to plant Date Palms in the way he wants you to plant them.

4. When: The moment you surrender "what should be" for what shall be (15-17)

15 Therefore, “they are before the throne of God and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence. 16 ‘Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst. The sun will not beat down on them,’ nor any scorching heat. 17 For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; ‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’ ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’”

What Shall Be Is Complete (15):

Series of three statements; number of completeness:

(1) “sit” before the throne;

(2) “serve” Him;

(3) He “shelters” them

What Shall Be Is A New Creation (16):

Series of four statements, the number of creation, all beginning with negations:

(1) Never again will they hunger;

(2) Never again will they thirst;

(3) Sun will not beat down on them;

(4) Nor any scorching heat.

Concluding With Completion Again (17):

(1) He will be their shepherd;

(2) Lead them to springs of water;

(3) He will wipe away every tear from their eyes

Application – You can only change what should be in this world by living and planting in light of what shall be in the next.

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