** But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God: I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever. ** Psalm 52:8
In our last post, we talked about Trial, Trust and Triumph. We were reminded of the process that the Lord uses to grow our faith and make us stronger in Him. Today’s verse gives us another look at this principle by looking at the olive tree.
Olives trees are abundant here in the Iberian Peninsula. If you drive south through the hottest region of Spain, you can drive by fields of nothing but olive trees. Rows and rows, mile after mile. Thousands of olive trees, literally, as far as you can see.
Olive trees are not known for their beauty. They have gnarled rough trunks. Their leaves are small and give little shade. Their fruit, fresh from the tree, is bitter. But they are trees that can stand and grow under the intense summer heat. 100 degrees and higher day after day for months. And in winter they are unharmed by the relentless wind and cold. They can endure these harsh conditions and severe pruning yet bear fruit every year. Although they look dry and worn out, the average olive tree will give about 45 pounds of olives each year which will make about 4 quarts of olive oil.
One of the things that is interesting about the olive trees of Spain is that the ground beneath them is swept clean. They do not have grass, or weeds growing beneath them. The ground is very dry and clear of all debris. There is just earth and the tree. But below ground, their roots reach deep and spread wide. Their roots search for water constantly in their drought-plagued soil.
We can draw encouragement from the olive tree and its faithful endurance in harsh conditions. The life of an olive tree is filled with trials, and harsh conditions. Yet, it produces fruit every year. It works hard to find the water it needs to survive and doesn’t give up or die off just because life is tough. It trusts the process of life and stays in its place. It then triumphs each harvest season by giving its fruit to feed others.
Olive trees also have a caretaker. He is the one that prunes its branches and makes sure that the ground beneath them is free of weeds and anything that will impede its growth. There is no fluff around a fruitful olive tree. Every little bit that might get in the way of being fruitful has been dug up, rooted out and burned. Though we do not always enjoy the Lord’s pruning process in our own lives, it is necessary if we are to be fruitful Christians.
We know from the story of Noah and the ark that a branch from an olive tree brought hope that life on earth had begun again after a year of a world-wide flood. The olive tree survived a year of relentless trial.
Psalm 52 tells us that we are like the green olive tree. Strong, maybe not so pretty, but enduring. Our roots are deep, always looking for fresh water from the Holy Spirit to refresh us. With His water, we can endure the harsh seasons and not dry up or allow our fruit to die on the branch. And we can stand faithfully, trusting the process of life and its hardships. David tells us he is a green olive tree ** in the house of God**. His source of life comes from God Himself. David’s light, his refreshing water, and his unmovable roots are the Lord.
Like the olive tree, with age our outer beauty may become increasingly marred , but some ofthe most attractive characteristics of a fruitful Christian are our virtue, faithfulness, steadfastness, sincerity, and diligence, not our outer beauty. Being filled with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit of God will make us abundantly fruitful in love, peace, joy, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance. It will also assure more answered prayer and we will never doubt His unconditional love for us.
We can all be like an enduring olive tree. Year after year, trial after trial, we can remember David’s words and trust that the Lord is doing a perfect work in us, cleaning up the debris around us that impedes our growth and drains our strength and sustaining us through fruitful and unfruitful seasons. The process is lifelong. The Triumph is eternal.
As Olive Trees in the Lord’s garden, we can say along with David….** I trust in the mercy of God for ever and ever. **