“His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree.” Rather common in the Holy Land, the olive tree is a multi-branched evergreen with a smooth, ash-colored bark and green, leathery leaves. The olive tree is an extremely slow-growing plant, requiring many years of patient labor to reach its fullest fruitfulness. Mature olive trees will produce small flowers of yellow or white, and when those blooms begin to fall, olives, the fruit of the tree, begin to form. In the ancient Near East, olive trees were an essential source of food, lamp oil, medicine, anointing oil, sacrificial oil, and wood for furniture. And although the prophet Hosea refers to the “beauty” of that olive tree, the beauty is not in that twisted trunk or dark green leaves, the beauty is the value of its fruit, the abundance of oil it produces. It is possible to extract 20 gallons of oil from one olive tree!
The first mention of this tree in Scripture comes at a significant crossroads. Due to a world in which “every imagination of the thoughts of his (man’s) heart was only evil continually,” God found Himself grieved “at his heart.” He would be forced to “destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast.” All of that glorious creation, along with the pinnacle of that creation, man, would be destroyed. God had breathed life into man, and now that breath would be snuffed out. But life would continue, for “Noah found GRACE in the eyes of the LORD.” Noah would ride out the storm of judgment in the safety of an Ark, his protection, his haven.
After a year’s confinement in that floating zoo, Noah “sent forth a raven” to see if the water had abated; the raven never returned. Noah then “sent forth a dove,” but the dove found no “rest for the sole of her foot.” Seven days later, the dove was sent again, returning with “an olive leaf plucked off.” An olive tree was alive and growing! The promise of that olive branch was a new beginning for humanity, a reconciliation with the God of grace, a renewal, a revival for Noah’s weary soul.
The name Oliver has a Latin origin, meaning olive tree. Little Oliver’s birth was stress-filled, as this teeny bundle arrived months prematurely; he was so small and weak. We prayed, watched him slowly mature and grow, then rejoiced as he finally made his journey home. May he grow as strong as that olive tree of Bible days, may he be spiritually fruitful and productive. But my deepest desire is that he experiences that peace with God, the reconciliation, mercy, and grace the cross has to offer, and the renewal Noah experienced when he held that olive branch in his hand.
Genesis 8:11 And the dove came in to him in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf plucked off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth.
Lord, thank You for Your grace. May I be as fruitful as that olive branch, as I allow your power to flow through me.<div class='sharedaddy sd-block sd-like jetpack-likes-widget-wrapper jetpack-likes-widget-unloaded' id='like-post-wrapper-164683012-3248-6575b23a1ff16' data-src='https://widgets.wp.com/likes/#blog_id=164683012&post_id=3248&origin=grandmasgleanings.com&obj_id=164683012-3248-6575b23a1ff16' data-name='like-post-frame-164683012-3248-6575b23a1ff16' data-title='Like or Reblog'><h3 class="sd-title">Like this:</h3><div class='likes-widget-placeholder post-likes-widget-placeholder' style='height: 55px;'><span class='button'><span>Like</span></span> <span class="loading">Loading...</span></div><span class='sd-text-color'></span><a class='sd-link-color'></a></div>