Olive Tree in the House of God?
CONTEXT: This Psalm was written during the events described in 1 Samuel 21 & 22. David having fled from Saul, came to Ahimelech the priest at Nob, and desired bread and a sword of him, (unawares of his true identity) which were given him. Doeg the Edomite being present at the same time was a unscrupulous fellow and when the opportunity arose he came and told Saul, and said unto him, David is come to the house of Ahimelech. Of course Saul quickly accused all in the house of Ahimelech of aiding and abetting David. When Saul’s guard refused to kill off the house of Ahimelech, Doeg quickly stepped up and did the dirty deed. In response David pens this passionate expression of grief.
There are only 9 verses in this very powerful Psalm all worthy of reading and repeating but I will comment on only a few:
v.1 Why do you boast of evil, O mighty man? Just an observation but did you ever notice that the most evil people in the world are usually the most boastful. I wonder if is because they are trying to cover up or deflect attention from their real inadequacies and evil intent?
Why doth he glory in malice that is mighty? that is, he that in malice is mighty, why doth he glory? There is need that a man be mighty, but in goodness, not in malice. Is it any great thing to glory in malice? To build a house belong to few men, any ignorant man you please can pull down. To sow wheat, to dress the crop, to wait until it ripen, and in that fruit on which one has laboured to rejoice, doth belong to few men: with one spark any man you please can burn all the crop. . . . What art thou about to do, O, mighty man, what are thou about to do, boasting thyself much? Thou art about to kill a man: this thing also a scorpion, this also a fever, this also a poisonous fungus can do. To this is thy mightiness reduced, that it be made equal to a poisonous fungus! Augustine.
v.5 But God will break you down forever; The fate of all evil is this, God’s righteous judgement will prevail and in that we can take comfort even in the midst of the very worst of storms.
When good men die, they are transplanted from the land of the living on earth, to heaven, the garden of the Lord, where they shall take root for ever; but when wicked men die, they are rooted out, to perish for ever. The believer sees that God will destroy those who make not him their strength. -Matthew Henry CC
V.8 But as for me, I am like a green olive tree in the house of God; Olives were prized for their oil and other properties in the Old Testament times. Even today one can pay a very hefty sum for quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil. David here uses the analogy the he is like that prized possession in the House of God.
We have seen that David was enabled, by the exercise of faith, to look down upon the worldly grandeur of Doeg with a holy contempt; and now we find him rising superior to all that was presently afflictive in his own condition. Though, to appearance, he more resembled the withered trunk of a tree which rots upon the ground, he compares himself, in the confidence of coming prosperity, to a green olive… From his language, it appears that he could conceive of no higher felicity in his condition than being admitted amongst the number of the worshippers of God, and engaging in the exercises of devotion. This was characteristic of his spirit. We have already had occasion to see that he felt his banishment from the sanctuary of God more keenly than separation from his consort, the loss of worldly substance, or the dangers and hardships of the wilderness. The idea of an allusion being here made, by way of contrast, to Doeg, who came to the tabernacle of the Lord merely as a spy, and under hypocritical pretexts, is strained and far-fetched. It is more natural to suppose that David distinguishes himself from all his enemies, without exception, intimating that, though he was presently removed from the tabernacle, he would soon be restored to it; and that they who boasted of possessing, or rather monopolizing, the house of God, would be rooted out of it with disgrace. And here let us engrave the useful lesson upon our hearts, that we should consider it the great end of our existence to be found numbered amongst the worshippers of God; and that we should avail ourselves of the inestimable privilege of the stated assemblies of the Church, which are necessary helps to our infirmity, and means of mutual excitement and encouragement.- Calvin
Toady many Christians are being persecuted for their faith. Like David they are forced to run, hide and put their unconditional trust in God. Just because you are not being chased or physically persecuted does not mean you do not have enemies of the truth around you. With liberalism invading our government, media, and schools we are more and more becoming surrounded by lies and deceit. The question today is will you be an Olive Tree in the House of God?