â€œShe is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.â€ (Proverbs 3:18)
The tree of life in the Garden of Eden was a literal tree, whose marvelous fruit apparently had the medicinal ability to retard the aging process indefinitely, even for men and women under Godâ€™s curse (Genesis 3:22-24). This amazing tree will be planted again along the streets and rivers of the New Jerusalem (Revelation 22:2-3).
The writer of Proverbs used this tree and its health-giving qualities as a symbol of four attributes of a God-centered, spiritual life which can bring blessing to all those touched by it. First of all, true wisdom is like a tree of life, imparting true happiness to all those partaking of it, then guarding it.
Next, â€œthe fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wiseâ€ (Proverbs 11:30). A life exhibiting genuine righteousness, like one manifesting genuine wisdom, yields wholesome spiritual fruit to those in real contact with it.
The third figure is given in Proverbs 13:12. â€œHope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.â€ There is nothing more rejuvenating to the spirit than for a dream suddenly to come true after long-continued hope has almost gone. An abiding, confident, always-continuing life of hope is a tree of life.
Finally, â€œa wholesome tongue is a tree of lifeâ€ (Proverbs 15:4). â€œWholesomeâ€ here means â€œhealing.â€ One can become a veritable tree of life by using his God-given privilege of speech not to complain or criticize; not in vulgarity or foolishness, but to help, encourage, instruct, and comfort.
May God help each of us to be a spiritual tree of life by attaining and demonstrating true wisdom, by living in genuine righteousness, by always maintaining an attitude of confident hope, and by speaking only words of edification that â€œminister grace unto the hearersâ€ (Ephesians 4:29). HMM