Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Like a Green Olive Tree

 
But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God.
But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God. I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever.
—Psalm 52:8

Maybe it's not a very big deal, but when the psalmist says, "I am like a green olive tree," they don't mean a green olive as opposed to a black olive. Nor do they mean a young olive tree. The Hebrew simply refers to an olive tree in full leaf. Olive trees that get too much water have yellowish leaves and olive trees that get too little water lose their leaves. So the olive referred to in Psalm 52:8 is simply a well-watered tree.

I suppose there are several ways that I can look at this verse, but my mind immediately attaches itself to the fact that the olive tree is green—that is, it's getting the right nutrition and water—because it is in God's house. It's not an ornament beautifying the temple, but the temple is what makes it beautiful. It is not green of its own energy and it doesn't water itself. It is nurtured by God.

I cannot help but think of this passage: 

Do not let the foreigner joined to the Lord say, 'The Lord will surely separate me from his people'; and do not let the eunuch say, 'I am just a dry tree.' For thus says the Lord: To the eunuchs who keep my sabbaths, who choose the things that please me and hold fast my covenant, I will give, in my house and within my walls, a monument and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off. And the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord, to minister to him, to love the Name of the Lord, and to be his servants, all who keep the sabbath, and do not profane it, and hold fast my covenant—these I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples. Thus says the Lord God, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, I will gather others to them besides those already gathered.
—Isaiah 56:2-8

The one who said, "I'm like a green olive tree in God's house" is not boasting, but is stating their dependence upon God, for outside God's house they would say, like the eunuch in Isaiah, "I am just a dry tree." But under God's care, he greens and produces fruit, and invites others into greening with him.

I am just a dry tree, O God. Bring me into your house; feed and water me, that I, too, may be like a green olive tree supporting and being supported by the prayers of all people. Amen.

mmmm