The Olive Press

2 Corinthians‬ ‭4:8-9‬ ‭
“We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.”

Psalms 52:8: “But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God; I trust in the mercies of God forever and ever.”

Interesting Facts about the Olive Tree:

With their gnarled and twisted trunks, olive trees are characterful and each tree is unique. Olive trees are amazingly tenacious. They have evergreen leaves and can grow in almost any conditions, on terraced hills in the blazing sun or in cool valleys, in rocky or rich soil, they thrive in both moisture and drought. Some olive trees grow from root systems a thousand years old.

What does any of this have with us?
Psalms 52:8 says, “But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God; I trust in the mercies of God forever and ever.”
No matter what the conditions: hot, dry, cold, wet, rocky, or sandy, the evergreen olive tree will live and produce fruit. It is said that it’s extremely difficult to destroy an olive tree; Even when cut down or burned, new shoots will begin to emerge from its roots. This Scripture reminds me that no matter the conditions of life, I can remain as steadfast as the olive tree in the presence of God – evergreen, faithful and bearing fruit in both adverse and good circumstances if ‘I trust in the mercies of God forever and ever’. David, hunted, exiled and persecuted though he was at the time of writing this psalm, had confidence to declare ‘I am like a green olive tree in the house of God’.
In other words; Despite my enemies’ advances against me, adverse situation and hardships, my confidence is in God’s continued mercy towards me. My hope is in Him and in His faithfulness. So I am not not destroyed. Instead, I am like a flourishing olive tree, which even in the drought, still lives and grows and out of the rock draws oil’.
Deuteronomy‬ ‭32:13‬ ‭NLT‬‬:
“He let them ride over the highlands and feast on the crops of the fields. He nourished them with honey from the rock and olive oil from the stony ground.”

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The tenacious little olive tree, that continues to thrive through all sorts of climates and conditions produces fruit – olives, and of course oil.
That oil was a vital part of ancient living; it was used for anointing, for healing, for cooking and for lighting lamps. And of course is still an important part of modern life.

If you have ever picked an olive directly from a tree and eaten it, you’ll know that in their natural state they’re really not very nice. They’re bitter. To make olives into the delicious salad ingredient and oils we take for-granted, they have to go through certain lengthy processes.

Although the olive tree can survive in just about any surroundings, in order to produce the best, healthiest fruit, the olive tree needs:

Both the east and west wind.
The east wind is the hot, dry, harsh wind of the desert. It’s the wind that blew over Job’s house, taking down his house and annihilating all his sons and daughters. It can cause green grass to wither in just one day with its fiery blast.
The west wind comes from the Mediterranean. It is moist, brings rain and life.

They need to be soaked – to be made clean

The olives need to be properly washed, and in some instances salted.
Ephesians‬ ‭5:26-27‬ ‭ESV‬‬
“…just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.”

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They have to be Pressed – in order to make oil. The only way to extract oil – the best and most valuable part of the olive – is by pressing.
The Mount of Olives is located just east of the Old City of Jerusalem and is where the Garden of Gethsemane was – Garden of Gethsemane – Gat Shemen in Hebrew, means, literally, “the place of the olive press”. Jesus spent much of His time there when he was in Jerusalem with His disciples – Luke 22:30: “Coming out, He went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him.”
Jesus spent a lot of time at the ‘place of the olive press’, conversing with The Father. And before his crucifixion, praying those words ‘not my will, but yours’. 

‭‭”Pressed on every side”

2 Corinthians‬ ‭4:8-9‬ ‭(NLT)
“We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.”

The olive has to be pressed In order to produce the oil. In the same way, we need at times to be ‘pressed’. But we can know, and be confident, that although we might feel squeezed and pressed by life sometimes, God is for us; “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”‭‭(Romans‬ ‭8:28‬ ‭NLT‬‬)

“Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.” (Romans‬ ‭8:18‬ ‭NLT‬‬)

I like that last bit of 2 Corinthians 4:9 “Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.”
Those pressing times in life seem unbearable when we’re going through them. But we are never abandoned by God. And, when like David, we decide to ‘trust in the mercies of God forever, rather than have a melt-down at the first sign of pressure, as we all tend to do at times, then like the olive when it’s pressed at just the right pressure, sweet smelling, pure oil will flow from our times of pressing, that will effect and touch those around us.
‭‭Jill McIlreavy 💜

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