Sunday, February 28, 2010

How to Take an Olive Oil Bath

Got your attention, didn’t it?

I began to notice how much olive trees and oil are used in Scripture and wanted to learn more. To see if there might be more to God’s choice than just those trees being prolific in that area. I discovered some interesting things.

Olive oil is the most versatile and useful fluid. It was used in sacrifices, anointing, medicinal, perfumes and cooking. Oil touched everyone and every part of their lives. Rich had their expensive perfumes and the poor were left the olives to be gleaned after the harvest. The olive tree was multi-faceted just like God.

Many times the olive tree is used as a symbol for Israel.

And we, who believe, have been grafted into the original tree. Some tradition even holds that the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden was an olive tree. Rom 11:24 After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree! Kingdom life is contrary to what is natural. Over and over again, Jesus pointed this out during his ministry on earth.

If the trunk of the tree is cut down, the shoots from the roots continue to grow, ensuring its existence. How true is this for the nation of Israel.

Olive trees must be cultivated. The fruit of an olive tree in its wild state is small and worthless. Our own efforts will never be enough. They are worthless.

The most fruitful trees are the product of bare & rocky ground situated preferably at no great difference from the sea. They require years of patient labor before reaching full fruitfulness. The soil around the tree must be frequently plowed and broken up. The trees form deep roots, last a long time & produce fruit for years. At harvest, the tree is shaken or beaten with a rod. Like the tree we must endure the strife of rocky ground, often have our lives turned upside down and be humbled and afflicted in order to produce the fruits of righteousness. The good first fruits of oil.

When Jesus went to pray before facing the cross, we know he chose the Garden of Gethsemane. But did you know that name means “oil press?” He spent his last quiet moments alone preparing to be crushed in the oil press.

Ps 52:8 But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love forever and ever

The righteous man will not be uprooted.

Prov 21:20 In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has.

The Old Testament is full of uses and references to olive oil:

The word Messiah means “Anointed One”

The Manna God provided in the desert tasted like it was made with olive oil (Num 11:8)

Ingredients for sacred oil specifically for anointing the priests and Tabernacle. The recipe for this oil was not be used for anything else. (Ex 30:23-25, 37-38)

Oil was to be combined with spices along with the burnt offering (Ex 29:40) But was not used with the sin offering.

Lev 5:11 …he must not put oil or incense on it, because it is a sin offering

But it was used for anointing the sick. In Lev 14:13-18, oil is used on the lepers and is a demonstration of his restoration of life.

Oil was symbolic of honor, joy and favor and did not accompany purification rites associated with dishonor, shame and was withheld from the body in times of mourning.

Ps 23:5 …you anoint my head with oil and my cup overflows

Is 61:3 … the oil of gladness instead of mourning

Another major use of oil is as a source for light and fuel. A lamp filled with oil maintains a steady flame.

Ex 27:20 Command the Israelites to bring you clear oil of pressed olives for the light so that the lamps may be kept burning.

God’s Word is referred to a lamp unto our feet (Ps 119:105) without the Spirit to shed illumination means nothing. Anointing oil is also symbolic of the Holy Spirit. It is the source that allows the light to shine forth.

The Spirit takes on a few characteristics in the Bible.
As oil (1 John 2:20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One)
Water (John 7:37-39 …streams of living water will flow from within him. By this he meant the Spirit…)
And wind (John 3:8, Acts 2:1-4)

And finally in maybe the most perplexing analogy I found

Ps 133:1-2 How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity. It is like precious oil poured on the head

Brotherly harmony sanctifies us and unites us with God’s holiness

SOOO…. How do you take an olive oil bath? You soak in the Word of God and scrub yourself clean with the blood of Christ and then lotion your body with joy, peace, patience, love, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control and then go out and watch how you shine!

1 comment:

Erin said...

I have no idea how I missed this post but I am so thankful that I found it today. I can't wait to read it again and provided SO much information and I never even thought of this topic before.

I love comparisons and drawing parallel meanings through the word. This is awesome. I starred in my Google Reader so that I can read it again and again.

You are one of my favorites, Tia. I love your heart.