But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God. Psalm 52:8
The olive tree is a symbol of many blessings and is prevalent in the Holy Land, covering hillsides with greyish-green leaved trees which flourish in poor soil and dry conditions. It is evergreen and long-lasting. There are ancient olives in the garden of Gethsemane, probably not dating back 2000 years but possibly descending from the ones where the gospel writers tell us Jesus endured the agony in the garden and was arrested before his crucifixion.
Olive branches are a symbol of peace and victory, the fruit provides food and healthy oil, the tree is a symbol of endurance. The dove that Noah sent out from the Ark brought back an olive leaf, a symbol of hope.
How can we be like a green olive tree? We can be upright, steadfast, and vigorous in following the way Jesus shows us. We can be fruitful in our care for others and the love we show to all people and to our beautiful world.
The second half of verse 8 says “I trust in the steadfast love of God forever.” Sometimes it feels as though we are living in a time of “poor soil and dry conditions” but we must flourish as the olive tree does in difficult circumstances, trusting in God to sustain and uplift us and we must proclaim his name, “for it is good”.
Be though my vision, O Lord of my heart
All else be naught to me, save that thou art
Thou my best thought, by day or by night
Waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.
Hymn 488:The Hymnal 1982