Psalm 52:8-9 (TLB)
But I am like a sheltered olive tree protected by the Lord himself. I trust in the mercy of God forever and ever. O Lord, I will praise you forever and ever for your punishment. And I will wait for your mercies—for everyone knows what a merciful God you are.
Cruising through Publix midweek to pick up a few items, I came across the clearance table on my way to checkout. Sitting in neat little rows in fancy bottles was extra virgin olive oil for half price. Usually upwards around $5 or $6, I grabbed one to give it a try. I always wondered what the difference was between regular olive oil and the higher priced “extra virgin” oil. I mean how something is “extra virgin” or more pure seems strange. It is pure or it’s not, right? Anyhow, I have it on my spice shelf with the almost empty bottle of plain olive oil. Every time I open the cabinet and grab the open one, it makes me wonder what the difference between the two is. Today I finally caved and looked it up on that wonderful gem called “Google.”
Extra virgin olive oil is considered the best. Olives are gathered in large nets surrounding each tree during harvest and hauled to the mill. Once there they are pressed with millstones into a mash. The mash is spread over cloth where the oil drips down and is caught. Extra virgin olive oil is the highest grade of oil. It is the virgin oil produced from this process that is not chemically modified with additives or further processing. The extra virgin oil is superior in taste, color and aroma. It is considered the premium. Virgin oil is lesser quality and not as good. Regular olive oil is watered down with other things, etc. and not pure. There is your basic lesson in the production of olive oil thanks to the Internet.
I am like a sheltered olive tree protected by the Lord Himself. I trust in the Mercy of God forever and ever. I will praise you (Lord) forever and ever for your punishment (discipline). I will wait for your mercy to come. David was facing the enemy. His back against the wall yet he knew that God would protect him and deliver him. David knew that he was precious to God. The Lord was with this man and he knew it. Even in his darkest hours of life, David consistently trusted the Lord’s Mercy and lived in His Favor. Olive oil is expensive compared to other similar products. Considering the size of the source and the primitive processing technique to acquire virgin oil, it costs more to produce it. Olive oil was considered a commodity in Biblical times. It was a crop of the wealthy used for many, many things.
Leviticus 24:1-4 (TLB)
The Lord said to Moses, “Tell the people of Israel to bring you pure olive oil for an eternal flame in the lampstand of pure gold which stands outside the veil that secludes the Holy of Holies. Each morning and evening Aaron shall supply it with fresh oil and trim the wicks. It will be an eternal flame before the Lord from generation to generation.
Olive oil makes an appearance in the Old Testament in the Holy of Holies. Each morning and afternoon the Children of God, Israel, were to bring “pure olive oil” for an eternal flame in the pure gold lampstand just outside the veil. This was as far as mankind could go outside of the priest. Right up to the curtain that contained the Presence of God. Pure olive oil was required. This was an expensive gift for God’s People. One might even wonder where they would find such a thing considering they had been wandering in the wilderness. God always supplies seed to the sower or gifts to the giver. The people kept the eternal flame burning.
I Samuel 16:12-13 (TLB)
So Jesse sent for him. He was a fine looking boy, ruddy-faced, and with pleasant eyes. And the Lord said, “This is the one; anoint him.” So as David stood there among his brothers, Samuel took the olive oil he had brought and poured it upon David’s head; and the Spirit of Jehovah came upon him and gave him great power from that day onward. Then Samuel returned to Ramah.
Olive oil comes in handy again at the anointing of David as God’s Chosen King. Samuel had tried to anoint all the other sons of Jesse, but it was a no-go from God until the man sent for his youngest son, David. The moment David came in, the Lord said, “This is the one, anoint him.” The most unlikely. The last in birth order. A shepherd by trade. God saw the purpose that he placed in this young man. Not only that, David was a man after God’s Own. In the quiet all alone in the fields tending sheep, he praised God. He communed with the Lord when no one was watching. As Samuel poured the olive oil over David anointing him, the “Spirit of Jehovah” came upon him and God gave him great power from that day onward. With this great power did not come perfection for the man or his life, David did not become sinless and darkness still came calling but his heart remained faithful to the Lord always.
2 Kings 4:4-7 (TLB)
“Go into your house with your sons and shut the door behind you. Then pour olive oil from your jar into the pots and pans, setting them aside as they are filled!” So she did. Her sons brought the pots and pans to her, and she filled one after another! Soon every container was full to the brim! “Bring me another jar,” she said to her sons. “There aren’t any more!” they told her. And then the oil stopped flowing! When she told the prophet what had happened, he said to her, “Go and sell the oil and pay your debt, and there will be enough money left for you and your sons to live on!”
One of my favorite stories shows the value and potential worth of olive oil in that day. She was a widow. Her husband who was in ministry had passed away. She was in debt. The creditor was demanding repayment. If not monetarily, he would gladly take her sons as slaves. She was desperate. When asked what she had, she produced “a jar of olive oil”. Now I am wondering if it was her husbands “anointing oil” as it was customarily used during that time. Who knows? What I do know is that it was indeed “anointed” oil because by the end of the story, she had enough to pay off the debt and live off the rest.
John 18:1 (TLB)
After saying these things Jesus crossed the Kidron ravine with his disciples and entered a grove of olive trees.
Jesus knew that His Time had come to make the final journey to the Cross. Judas had betrayed him. Everything had fallen into place now He it was time to give His Life. Do you think it was a coincidence that He “entered a grove of olive trees”? I don’t think so today as it all comes together. In fact, my heart leapt inside my chest at the thought. When Jesus died on the Cross and came back out of the grave it was with purpose. He handed us the Keys to the Kingdom. He also anointed us with the “Spirit of Jehovah” or the Holy Spirit. Now, the purpose that God created us with becomes true potential in our life. All the pressure and pain become worth the process to see its value and worth in the end.
Micah 6:7-8 (TLB)
For if you offered him thousands of rams and ten thousands of rivers of olive oil—would that please him? Would he be satisfied? If you sacrificed your oldest child, would that make him glad? Then would he forgive your sins? Of course not! No, he has told you what he wants, and this is all it is: to be fair, just, merciful, and to walk humbly with your God.
Every human being ever created has a plan and purpose designed by God with a future and hope. (Jeremiah 29:11) God would never produce anything unless it had the possibility of goodness tucked inside because He is good. (James 1:17-18) It pleased Him to give us His Love, Grace and Mercy no matter what the cost – it cost Him everything. Olive oil represents the anointing in our life. The potential placed there by God made possible by accepting His Grace, Mercy and Love. It becomes possible the moment that we ask Jesus to be our Savior and Lord. The Holy Spirit cultivates the Gifts given to us by God to overflow in abundance in our life. Some people want all of them, others just enough to get by. There are many varieties of olive oil on the shelf. The higher the process the more refined the process until the taste, color and aroma are superior. Some people will accept the process of God to release the full potential of God in their life. Others will sell themselves short.
If I offered “ten thousand rivers of olive oil” would that please God? Would it forgive my sins? See sometimes we think our anointing is our own when it is nothing more than God pressing Himself out of us. Those who truly want to be with the Lord must endure the pressure and pain of this process to move beyond the veil and into His Presence. We must never lose sight in the abundance of God in the true meaning of our anointing. It is to bring us closer to the Lord. What does God want? What does He desire? What has He hidden this potential in us for? To be fair, just, merciful and above all to walk humbly with Him day by day. The greatest potential of the Anointing of God in us is to bring us closer to Him by humbly surrendering our life to be with Him. it is the giving of ourselves as the woman provided borrowed jars to be filled, so we give our life. I have been broken. I am being restored. I see the purpose now. Thank you – Lord!
Luke 7:45-48 (TLB)
You refused me the customary kiss of greeting, but she has kissed my feet again and again from the time I first came in. You neglected the usual courtesy of olive oil to anoint my head, but she has covered my feet with rare perfume. Therefore her sins—and they are many—are forgiven, for she loved me much; but one who is forgiven little, shows little love.” And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
Jesus was in the home of a Pharisee. A woman who was a known prostitute came into the home and poured an entire flask of expensive perfume over his feet after washing them with her tears and drying them with her hair. The religious men were appalled. I am still wondering how she got in the house. Jesus calls them out on it. “You neglected the usual courtesy of olive oil to anoint my head, but she has covered my feet with rare perfume.” Sometimes we forget what this thing called Christianity is all about. We become wrapped up in religion rather than captivated by our relationship with Jesus who continually gives us His All despite our fickle hearts and wavering minds. The humility of surrender makes ones anointing a valuable gift. It is not one’s ability to preach a good message. It’s not their words, but the Voice of God’s Spirit. It is not in our supernatural ability. The Power is of God not the golden anointing oil. We must be pressed to get to the heart of the matter where the “pure oil” of anointing lies inside the human heart. If our heart is not after God’s Heart, you might as well dump it out. It is worthless. You give what you get. (Luke 6:38)
2 Corinthians 4:7-9 (TLB)
But this precious treasure—this light and power that now shine within us]—is held in a perishable container, that is, in our weak bodies. Everyone can see that the glorious power within must be from God and is not our own. We are pressed on every side by troubles, but not crushed and broken. We are perplexed because we don’t know why things happen as they do, but we don’t give up and quit. We are hunted down, but God never abandons us. We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going.
The extra virgin olive oil made it to the clearance table because it was not selling. People were not willing to pay the higher price for its exceptional quality. I am afraid as believers that we do the same thing. We do not want to be pressed much less broken to be refilled so the wasted potential of many is at stake. God has placed in each one of us a precious treasure. Just as an olive tree grows, produces, yields, cut back and reproduces such is the prosperity of God in us. But when the season is not favorable or we become too comfortable, we become like those Pharisees who did not see the significance of God with them. I don’t want to waste my potential. I am not a fan of pressure. I have felt the millstone of refinement crushing my heart. But I want all that the Lord has for me. I don’t want to sell myself short. But more than anything, I want to live in His Presence – closer every day. I cannot give up or quit. I must be conscious that those things that make me uncomfortable or cause me to break are the very things that release God’s Anointing in my life as His Purpose and Potential come pouring out of me. We are just perishable containers filled with God’s Power. Time to take it off the shelf, dust it off and use it again. It all depends on what I decide to do today. Will I allow the oil running off my life to be distorted or diffused? Or will I strive for perfection in my obedience and faithfulness to God? Do I want the proceeds sought by man or the prosperity of my soul at a much higher price? God gave His Son. Jesus gave His All. What am I willing to do with the Potential of God hidden in me?
Psalm 1:1-3 (TLB)
Oh, the joys of those who do not follow evil men’s advice, who do not hang around with sinners, scoffing at the things of God. But they delight in doing everything God wants them to, and day and night are always meditating on his laws and thinking about ways to follow him more closely. They are like trees along a riverbank bearing luscious fruit each season without fail. Their leaves shall never wither, and all they do shall prosper.