What Does Proverbs 13:12 Mean?

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But desire fulfilled is a tree of life.

Proverbs 13:12(NASB)

Verse Thoughts

The Tree of Life stands like two majestic book-ends in the Word of God. In Genesis we find this life-giving Tree growing in the midst of the garden of Eden, offering eternal life to Adam, who was made in God's image and likeness. All he had to do was to simply chose to take and eat of the fruit that hung from its branches, for he could freely eat of every tree in the garden, with one exception.

Adam had the opportunity to eat of this life-preserving Tree or to disobey God's one, simple command, "do not eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die". The moment he sinned against the Lord, Adam died spiritually and began the slow process of physical death, which has been passed to all his offspring, for all are imputed with sin and all must face death because of his one sin.

As an act of divine grace, God immediately banished Adam and his wife from the garden of delight.. preventing them from tasting of its life-giving properties. He installed two angelic sentries to guard the way to the Tree of Life, "lest he put forth his hand and eat of its energising fruit, and live forever". Had Adam eaten of the life-giving Tree in his fallen state, they would have become forever ensnared in a fallen body - eternally trapped in a sinful state.

In Revelation we discover the return of the Tree of life, standing in the midst of the paradise of God. "It produces twelve types of fruits, and yielded its fruit each month, while its leaves are given for the healing of the nations". Paradise lost, in the beginning, becomes Paradise restored at the end, and whoever 'overcomes' will be able to eat from "the Tree of Life" - whoever's faith is credited with righteousness, will be able to eat of its life-giving fruit... for "whatsoever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that overcomes the world - even our faith".

Four times in Proverbs are we given additional information about this wonderful Tree of Life. We have all been taught that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and a knowledge of God gives understanding, and in Chapter 3 we discover that  "wisdom is a Tree of Life, to them that lay hold upon her: and everyone that retains wisdom is blessed". Those who feed on Christ, in their heart by faith with thanksgiving, have eternal life and are freed from condemnation - because He is the Source and Sustainer of life

In Chapter 11 we read that, "the fruit of the righteous is a Tree of Life and he that wins souls is wise". The spiritual fruit of the believer who shares the truth of the gospel with others and points souls to Christ, brings life and truth and hope and salvation to the lost, while in Chapter 15 we find that "a wholesome tongue is a Tree of Life, while perversity is a breach in the spirit." Both verses point to Christ as Word of truth, the Nourisher and Sustainer of the soul, for in Him is Life... and He is the wisdom of God and the power of God, for all who believe. He is the One who holds the keys of death and hell and He has within Himself the Words of eternal life.

Wherever the Tree of Life is mentioned, we see an important link with faith in Christ, who is the personification of all-wisdom... in Whom dwell the words of eternal life, and through Whom comes the fruit of perfect righteousness. And here in Chapter 13, we read that, "hope deferred makes the heart sick, but desire fulfilled is a Tree of Life."

On a superficial level, this is a statement of fact for everyman. For sinner and saint alike... when aspirations die, plans fail and hope is delayed the soul is disappointed and distressed and the heart becomes sick. However, when the longings of the heart are fulfilled it becomes a Tree of Life.. When a dear desire is delayed, plans are thwarted or a longed-for outcome is impeded, the human response is sadness and disappointment, and too often we become 'heart-sick'.. 'but when the desire is fulfilled it is a Tree of Life". When aspirations are achieved and plans come to fruition what rejoicing fills the heart.

As with all other biblical references to the Tree of Life, we can see a clear link with Christ and salvation. Without Christ, there is no hope for the sinner who is dead in sin. Jesus is the hope of all nations, the joy of the whole earth and the only Saviour of mankind. Only He can forgive sins and only He has the words of eternal life.

He is the Light of the world, in Whom is life eternal. He is the Light of the world Who lightens everyone coming into the world. He is the promised Rest for the people of God, and He is the good Shepherd to a world of lost sheep, who will hear His voice. When He comes into the heart of a sinner saved by grace, that man or woman is transferred from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light, for He is that blessed Hope.

Blessed is the man that trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is in the Lord our God. For He is the true Vine in Whom is life eternal and He is the Bread of life the living water.. the Rock of our salvation, the Hope of all the ends of the earth, and ALL who feed on Him in their hearts by faith, with thanksgiving... will eat of the Tree of Life and find Him to be their Source and Sustainer through time and into eternity. 

My Prayer

Heavenly Father, thank You that Christ is the Light of the world and in Him is life and health and wholeness. Thank You that in Him we find peace with God, when we trust Him for our salvation. Thank You, that as Your children, we have Your heavenly peace - the peace that passes understanding, which guards the heart and enlivens the soul. Thank You for Your amazing plan of redemption, for the forgiveness of sin and life everlasting and thank You that the day is coming when we will see Jesus face to face, and have full and free access to the living Tree of Life, in the paradise of God - praise His holy name, AMEN.

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