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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
Temple Mount is one of the most hotly contested religious sites in the world. Currently the Muslim Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock stands where the Jewish temples of Solomon, and Nehemiah once stood. The Dome of the Rock with its ornate marble and stone with Golden dome is built over the place of the temple itself. Over and over again, there are clashes between the Palestinians and jewish people on who has authority over the area.
Every time I walk on Temple Mount, I stop and am amazed at the beautiful olive trees peacefully growing in the breeze. Amid the tension and continual upheaval, the olive tree, the long standing symbol of peace and triumph calmly thrives.
In Psalm 52, David finds himself in the midst of turmoil and desperation. David writes the psalm when Doeg (Do-ayg), an Edomite, and one of King Saul’s officers, has run to King Saul and informed him that David has found refuge in the city of Nob under the protection of Ahimelek. David has become hated by King Saul, and Saul sends his men with Doeg, and his men slaughter the entire city. Innocent men, women and children are destroyed because of providing protection to David. David in his psalm is wondering how Doeg can be so passionate about his evil actions and deceit. How this man filled with hatred grew strong by destroying others.
David finishes the psalm by writing, “But I am like an olive tree.” An olive tree, a symbol of peace and victory, is firmly rooted in its place, quietly providing shade, fruit for nourishment. It also produces oil, that when burned gives off warmth and light.
To David, it didn’t matter how corrupt and evil the people around David became, he was committed to remain rooted in the unfailing love of God. In spite of the evil, David would offer the olive branch of peace and treat others with friendship and love.
Just like the olive tree that flourishes in the house of the Lord, we must also stand with humility and kindness. No matter what is happening in the world around us, our continual focus must be to provide shade, sustenance, warmth, and light to those around us.