But I am like an olive tree
flourishing in the house of God;
I trust in God’s unfailing love
for ever and ever.
I will praise you forever for what you
in your name I will hope; for your
name is good.
I will praise you in the presence of
Psalm 52: 8-9
Am I truly like an olive tree? I ponder the reason David likened himself to the olive tree. His reason, I’m sure, will shed light on my self-evaluation and answer the question, am I truly like an olive tree? And not just any old olive tree, but an olive tree flourishing…flourishing in the house of God.
Let’s examine just a few of the characteristics of an olive tree.
1. The olive tree has a number of important uses. Its fruit produces the olive oil, which is still very important in cooking and is a major part of the Mediterranean diet. The oil has also been historically used to anoint priests, prophets and kings. Also, its hard figured timber is used to make special furniture and statues. Do I, like the olive tree, serve a multitude of important roles or fulfill numerous necessary needs?
2. The tree’s numerous branches form a dense, shady tree which is favored by animals in the heat of the day. In the heat of life, can those around me find shade and covering under my branches?
3. The olive tree has an enormous root system. This is to maximize its exposure to the underground water supply, thereby sustaining the tree in dry dessert conditions. Am I an important conduit of life force to those around me and to the living water of the Holy Spirit? Am I tapping in to this living water, thereby sustaining myself, so that I can continue to serve in the multiple roles and fulfilling those numerous necessary needs around me? Am I also well grounded with an enormous root system, so I may not be swayed or moved by the fanciful winds of modern doctrine?
4. Due to this extensive root system, olive trees grow wide apart from each other. This allows maximum sunlight to reach the tree, which is the best condition for fruit ripening. Increased light results in maximum productivity. Am I exposed to the light of His word? Maximum exposure to His light will result in maximum productivity in my life! In John 15, Jesus commands us to bear fruit. Am I bearing as much fruit as I ought to?
5. Grafting olive trees is a popular practice and results in increased reproduction of the olive tree. And with such potential, why wouldn’t we want to reproduce this tree. Am I in the habit of reproducing myself…grafting in other olive trees with the powerful revelation of His word?
The symbolism behind the act of anointing people and things with olive oil is that we are consecrating them for use by our heavenly Father, ‘that they may be most holy; whatever touches them will become holy’ (Exodus 30:29). Throughout the Old Testament, anointing signifies the holiness of the anointed objects or persons, their separation to God, and also divine authority.
However, the significance of David’s confession, and now my confession in Psalm 52: 8-9 is not just that I am holy and separated unto God for his use through the act of anointing.
No, the significance is that I am like an olive tree – I am a vessel through which the Lord can pour out his anointing, and can complete a multitude of important functions. I am like an olive tree…I am like an olive tree.
By the way, the olive oil is produced by pressing (applying great pressure and force to) the fruit. The fruit was either crushed by being trodden on or by rock-hewn presses to force the oil out from the fruit. I wonder what would spew forth if great pressure or force is applied to the fruit of my life. Would it be anointed oil or useless mush?
I tell you, I would be ashamed to share some of my answers above with you. However, because I trust in God’s unfailing love, I am confident ‘that He who hath begun a good work in me, will complete it.’ And until such work is completed, I will “call things that are not, as though they were” by continuously confessing “I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God.”