Olive Trees in God’s House

from Lynda Lindsey

But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God. I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever. Psalm 52:8

So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him (David) in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came upon David in power. I Samuel 16:13

David, running for his life from Saul, took shelter with Ahimelech a priest of God Most High. There David meets, and is later betrayed by, Doeg the Edomite. Although Saul orders the death of Ahimelech and all the priests, Saul’s officials refuse. Doeg, having no such fear of evil deeds, carries out Saul’s edict. That day Doeg slaughtered not only eighty-five priests but destroyed their towns as well as all the inhabitants and all the livestock. David, in Psalm 52, is sorrowing over great evil and loss. David laments that anyone could boast about such wickedness and destruction. 

In contrast, David compares himself with a flourishing olive tree in God’s house.  David, already anointed with olive oil as Israel’s next king, was familiar with olive trees. It’s likely that David, as a shepherd, rested his flocks under the expansive shade of the huge, ancient trees.  Olive trees were valuable, highly prized commodities, providing food, anointing oil and perfume, medicine, fuel, and shade. The trees grew well and thrived in Israel’s climate, often reaching many hundreds of years in age.

Olive trees, known for their fruitfulness and beauty, are a symbol of strength and blessing. Like an olive tree growing in God’s garden David was growing under God’s love, guidance, shelter, protection and light. David, committed to serving God faithfully, confidently places his trust in God’s eternal, unfailing love. Confident in God’s character and nature, David need not fear. Just as surely as God will bring down the wicked to everlasting ruin, God will uphold His righteous ones. Thus David places his hope in God and offers praise to God, regardless of circumstances swirling around him.  Can we do the same?