Psalm 52: 8-9
“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 have done; in your name I will hope, for your name is good. I will praise you in the presence of your saints.” NIV
I stumbled onto these verses this morning as I was looking up the next verse from the “fear not” list in my concordance. That verse will wait until tomorrow, as these immediately grabbed my attention.
I’ve never seen an olive tree. And, I confess, I don’t really like olives. There is (was) a little restaurant in the big city near where I live that served a delicious olive tapenade with some amazing bread, but, the restaurant burned down, and, it might really have been the bread, rather than the tapenade that appealed to me.
In any case, I’ve never seen an olive tree, but, I have seen things made of olive wood, and, I was struck by the variegations in the grain. They were beautiful. But, I think, to have that much variety in its grain, that tree must have had a pretty uncertain existence. It didn’t seem to me that it grew with one consistent little ring covering another year after year, as the trees in my hometown grew. It rains frequently in my hometown, and when you cut a tree there, you can see ring, ring, ring, ring — all pretty much the same size.
In these verses, David compares himself to an olive tree “flourishing in the house of God.” The message says, “growing green in God’s house.” For a tree to put out new, green growth, conditions must be favorable. David says, “I trust in God’s unfailing love … I will praise your forever … I will hope, for your name is good.”
David is trusting God. His life has not been easy. Like an olive tree, he’s had seasons of plenty and seasons of want. But, at this point in his life and in his writings, he is acknowledging that God is the source of his sustenance, it is his hope in God that sustains him, more than sustains him, permits him to flourish, even in uncertain circumstances.
As I face the uncertainties that today is sure to hold, I will think about that piece of olive wood, and how the uncertainties of its former life contributed to its beauty.
That’s a lot to think about today.