The Daily Office: Day 70- Flourishing Like an Olive Tree
Silence for 2-5 minutes:
If your mind wanders, silently pray a simple prayer again and again, such as, "I surrender to your love" or "Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me" until the Holy Spirit gives you a sense of peace and focus.
Psalm 52--To the choirmaster. A Maskil of David, when Doeg, the Edomite, came and told Saul, "David has come to the house of Ahimelech."
1Why do you boast of evil, O mighty man? The steadfast love of God endures all the day. 2 Your tongue plots destruction, like a sharp razor, you worker of deceit. 3 You love evil more than good, and lying more than speaking what is right. Selah 4 You love all words that devour, O deceitful tongue.
5 But God will break you down forever; he will snatch and tear you from your tent; he will uproot you from the land of the living. Selah 6 The righteous shall see and fear, and shall laugh at him, saying, 7 "See the man who would not make God his refuge, but trusted in the abundance of his riches and sought refuge in his own destruction!" [b]
8 But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God. I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever. 9 I will thank you forever, because you have done it. I will wait for your name, for it is good, in the presence of the godly.
Doeg the Edomite sought to ingratiate himself with King Saul by acting as an informant against David. The priests at Nob had given David and his men food and support when Saul sought to apprehend and kill the future king. Doeg was present when the assistance took place, and he notifies Saul. Under orders from Saul, Doeg will slaughter eighty-five priests for their support of David. (1 Samuel 21 and 22) In this Psalm, David contemplates the great evil done by Doeg and those like him and God's response to such evil.
According to Psalm 52, the evil man boasts of his misdeeds, speaks treacherous things, is deceitful and actually loves the evil that he commits. David sees Doeg's arrogance and unspeakable deeds, and cries out for justice. His one consolation is that God is fully cognizant of what is transpiring and will act righteously. Doeg will be confronted by God himself and the penalty will be harsh.
All that Doeg trusts in is temporal, opposed to God, and will ultimately fail. David, however, trusts in the steadfast love of the Lord. The constant, covenantal love of God is a recurring theme for David throughout the Psalms and is referenced 127 times! God's faithful love, sealed by covenant towards David is defined as "sure mercies" in the New Testament. No matter what David faced, he knew God was committed to him and would not let him go. God makes that same commitment to all those who trust in Christ. Doeg the Edomite, though a mighty man outwardly, was no match for God.
Finally, David likens himself to a verdant olive tree, flourishing in the house of God. The olive tree is a symbol of peace, prosperity, and longevity for the Israelite. David experiences the peace that only God can give. He knows that God will take care of his needs and sustain him no matter what. Saul may pursue him with intent to kill assisted by evil men such as Doeg, but God will protect and preserve the future king of Israel. What God is doing in and through David will last. Olive trees can live hundreds and hundreds of years. Doeg will perish, whereas David will eternally flourish.
God's desire for you is to know his steadfast love and for you to flourish. What areas of life do you see God bringing fruitfulness despite the evil of the world?
O Lord, like David, I am grieved when evil men do evil things. Help me to see that those who trust in you experience your faithful love, and they flourish. Help me realize that the fate of the wicked man is destruction. Amen.