In the House of God

Let us follow the Lord’s lead and pay heed to what is within.

The sayings of our mouth and the meditation of our heart.

Ps 19:14 – Let the sayings of my mouth, And the meditation of my heart, Be for a pleasing thing before Thee, O Jehovah, my rock, and my redeemer! (YLT)

What do the sayings of your mouth and the meditation of your heart reveal about who you think you are? Are they in agreement with the words of the Lord God and the meditation of his heart?

As you spend time resting in the word of God daily, forgetting everything you know except Jesus the Messiah, are you aware of a growing desire for your every word and thought to please the Lord? Are you becoming conscious of the Lord’s response to your every word and thought?

Read the words of Scripture slowly and reflectively. Let them settle deep in your soul and take root as you wait in anticipation for the Spirit of God to bring them to life in you.

I am like a green olive tree.

Ps 52:8-9 – But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God. I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever. I will thank you forever, because you have done it. I will wait for your name, for it is good, in the presence of the godly. (ESV)

Forever and ever.
I am like a green olive tree in the house of God.

Have you ever thought of yourself as being like a tree?

Let’s take a look at the anatomy of a natural tree to explore what David might have meant when he described himself as being like a green olive tree in the house of God.

As you read the descriptions of the layers of a tree, note patterns of life and death, the purpose and contribution of dead, transformed parts to the whole as all parts continue to harmoniously work together in their respective roles.

A tree has leaves or needles that carry out photosynthesis, making food for the tree and releasing oxygen into the air.

Branches and twigs grow out of the tree trunk and serve as support structures for leaves, flowers, and fruit. They also transport materials between the trunk and the leaves.

The trunk of a tree is made up of five different layers.

The outer bark (A) is the tree’s protection from the outside world. Continually renewed from within, it helps keep out moisture in the rain, and prevents the tree from losing moisture when the air is dry. It insulates against cold and heat and wards off insect enemies.

The inner bark, or “phloem,” (B) is a pipeline through which food is passed to the rest of the tree. It lives for only a short time, then dies and turns to cork to become part of the protective outer bark.

The cambium cell layer (C) is the growing part of the trunk. It annually produces new bark and new wood in response to hormones that pass down through the phloem with food from the leaves. These hormones, called “auxins,” stimulate growth in cells. Auxins are produced by leaf buds at the ends of branches as soon as they start growing in spring.

Sapwood (D) is the tree’s pipeline for water moving up to the leaves. Sapwood is new wood. As newer rings of sapwood are laid down, inner cells lose their vitality and turn to heartwood.

Heartwood (E) is the central, supporting pillar of the tree. Although dead, it will not decay or lose strength while the outer layers are intact. A composite of hollow, needlelike cellulose fibers bound together by a chemical glue called lignin, it is in many ways as strong as steel. A piece 12″ long and 1″ by 2″ in cross section set vertically can support a weight of twenty tons!1

As you consider the parts of a tree and their various functions, can you see similarities between the tree and your physical body, externally and internally? How about your spiritual being?

The outer bark of a tree is rather like the skin of a human being. Our skin protects us from microbes and the elements, helps regulate body temperature, and permits the sensations of touch, heat, and cold.2

The outer bark is the tree’s protection from the outside world. It is continually renewed from within.

Like a tree, do we know to look within for renewal, to meet our needs for nourishment, growth, and fruitfulness? Or do we look out into the world to get what we think we need?

The Lord looks on the heart.

1 Sam 16:7 – But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” (ESV)

The Lord sees not as man sees.

From within.

Mark 7:20-23 – For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.” (ESV)

The Lord sees not as man sees.
The Lord looks on the heart.
From within, out of the heart, come evil thoughts and ways, and they defile a person.

Defile: to make or consider profane; call common i.e. literally shared by all, pollute, unclean, unholy; denoting union; with or together, i.e. by association, companionship, process, resemblance, possession, instrumentality.3

Maybe we ought to follow the Lord’s lead and pay heed to what is within. What or who are we in union with, by association, companionship, possession, instrumentality?

The Lord sees not as man sees.
The Lord looks on the heart.

Give as alms those things that are within.

Luke 11:39-41 – And the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. You fools! Did not he who made the outside make the inside also? But give as alms those things that are within, and behold, everything is clean for you. (ESV)

The Lord sees not as man sees.
The Lord looks on the heart.
You cleanse the outside.
Inside you are full of greed and wickedness.
Give as alms those things that are within.

Within: Be, there is, lawful; in, fixed position in place, time, or state, instrumentality (medially or constructively), i.e. a relation of rest.4

Do we know what is within us? Are we too preoccupied with the outside, the appearance?

God works within us.

Eph 3:20-21 – God can do anything, you know — far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us. Glory to God in the church! Glory to God in the Messiah, in Jesus! Glory down all the generations! Glory through all millennia! Oh, yes! (MSG)

God can do anything, you know.
Unlike human beings.
The Lord sees not as man sees.
The Lord looks on the heart.
God doesn’t do anything by pushing us around.
God does everything by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.
Are you aware?
Are you aware of something dying in you while at the same time something new is coming alive?

Where God is making new life.

2 Cor 4:16 – So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. (MSG)

The Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.

God works within us.
Not a day goes by without his unfolding grace.
Are you aware?

What words or thoughts have caught your attention in these texts? Why?

Give as alms those things that are within.
Give as active compassion those things that are within.
Within. Be.
In a relation of rest. Medially or constructively, in a fixed position in place, time, or state.
And behold, see
Everything is clean, clear, pure for you.

Alms: compassionateness as exercised towards the poor; compassion, human or divine, especially active.5

The Lord sees not as man sees.
The Lord looks on the heart.
God works within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.

Pure or defiled?

Titus 1:15-16 – To all who are themselves pure, everything is pure. But to those who are defiled and without trust, nothing is pure — even their minds and consciences have been defiled. They claim to know God, but with their actions they deny him. They are detestable and disobedient; they have proved themselves unfit to do anything good. (CJB)

Pure: as being cleansed.6
Pure. Trusting. Knowing. Actively compassionate.

Defiled. Without trust.
Their claims of knowledge and their actions are at odds.
Not in a relation of rest. Resisting medial and constructive divine compassion.

Trust in the steadfast love of God.

Ps 52:8-9 – But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God. I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever. I will thank you forever, because you have done it. I will wait for your name, for it is good, in the presence of the godly. (ESV)

I am like a green olive tree
In the house of God
Where God works, his Spirit deeply and gently within me.
I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever.
I will thank you, Lord God, forever, because you have done it.
I will wait for your name, for it is good.

Defiled: to sully or taint; contaminate morally.7

Without trust.
They claim to know God, but with their actions they deny him.

Do we know what/who is within us?

1 Cor 6:19-20 – Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. (ESV)

The Lord sees not as man sees.
The Lord looks on the heart.
God works within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.
Give as active compassion those things that are within. Glorify God in your body.

Read the texts again. Chew upon the words. Turn them over and over in your mind. Ask the Lord God what he wants you to receive from them and how he wants you to respond to them.

God’s mercy carries the day.
Why do you brag of evil, “Big Man”?
God’s mercy carries the day.
You scheme catastrophe;
your tongue cuts razor-sharp, artisan in lies.
You love evil more than good, you call black white.
You love malicious gossip, you foul-mouth.
God will tear you limb from limb,
sweep you up and throw you out,
Pull you up by the roots from the land of life.
Good people will watch and worship.
They’ll laugh in relief:
“Big Man bet on the wrong horse,
trusted in big money, made his living from catastrophe.”

And I’m an olive tree,
growing green in God’s house.
I trusted in the generous mercy of God then and now.
I thank you always that you went into action.
And I’ll stay right here,
your good name my hope,
in company with your faithful friends. (Ps 52:1-9 MSG)

Pause. Breathe. Reflect.

Be still before the Lord as he looks on your heart.
Let go your focus on your outward appearance.
Perhaps the Lord will share with you what he sees and what he intends to do about it.

The Lord sees not as man sees.
The Lord looks on the heart.
God works within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.

Note the contrast between the two persons described Psalm 52. The defiled and the pure. One is without trust. The other trusts in the steadfast love of God forever and ever. With his/her actions, one denies God. The other is aware and thankful for God’s actions and responds by staying present to God’s mercy, placing his hope in God’s good name.

Do you identify with one of them or maybe with both at the same time?

God’s mercy carries the day. Have you experienced God’s mercy? Do you continue steadfastly to place your hope in God’s good name, trusting that God is active, his Spirit deeply and gently working within you?

The tree is by nature what God created it to be. By nature, it brings forth what God designed it to bring forth. By nature, the tree graciously accepts and responds to whatever conditions and situations come its way. Day in. Day out. Year in. Year out. Do we do likewise, trusting in the generous mercy of God, staying put as he works his purpose in and for us, come what may?

The Lord sees not as man sees.
The Lord looks on the heart.
God works within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.

Let us follow the Lord’s lead and pay heed to what is within!

Read the texts again. Chew upon these words. Turn them over and over in your mind and allow their significance to be absorbed by mind, body, soul and spirit.

But it is the spirit in man, the breath of the Almighty, that makes him understand. (Job 32:8 ESV)

Become aware of your breath. The breath of the Almighty in you.

Breath by breath. Become conscious of the presence of the Almighty in you. Seek his strength. Seek his presence. Surrender to the influence of the breath of the Almighty that you may serve him.

Inhale.
Exhale.

You must rely on the breath of the Almighty, the Spirit of God who lives inside you, to make you understand Gods words, to discern the thoughts and intentions of your heart, to seek the interests of Jesus Christ and not your own.

With your inhalation draw the words of the Lord God deep within you.

With your exhalation empty yourself of all your own ideas, plans, thoughts, imaginations and words to make room for the words of God to take possession. Open yourself completely to what the Lord God wants to reveal to you about yourself and about him. Become reverently responsive to what he says.

Eph 3:20-21 – God can do anything, you know — far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us. Glory to God in the church! Glory to God in the Messiah, in Jesus! Glory down all the generations! Glory through all millennia! Oh, yes! (MSG)

Inhale: (draw the words of the Lord God deep within you)

God can do anything, you know

Exhale. (empty yourself of self to allow the words of God to take possession)

By working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.

Wait, watch, listen, be still, be willing for the Lord God to transform you from within, revealing who you really are. Strive and reach for the goal, alive to the energy that he powerfully works in you as you rest, completely dependent upon him to reach the goal, united with the Messiah.

As you receive the Word of God into that deepest place of your being, the Lord God is rescuing you, he is loosening your bonds to your old nature, he is delivering you from your illusions and foolish boasting. Through Jesus, our Messiah, God is gradually transforming you from within, revealing who you really are, becoming one spirit with him.

2 Peter 3:18 – But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. (ESV)

*****

Resources/For deeper study:

1https://www.arborday.org/trees/treeGuide/anatomy.cfm

2https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/picture-of-the-skin#1

3Defile: NT:2840 <START GREEK>koino/w <END GREEK> koinoo (koy-no’-o); from NT:2839; to make (or consider) profane (ceremonially): KJV – call common, defile, pollute, unclean.

NT:2839 <START GREEK>koino/$ <END GREEK> koinos (koy-nos’); probably from NT:4862; common, i.e. (literally) shared by all or several, or (cer.) profane: KJV – common, defiled, unclean, unholy.

NT:4862 <START GREEK>su/n <END GREEK> sun (soon); a primary preposition denoting union; with or together (but much closer than NT:3326 or NT:3844), i.e. by association, companionship, process, resemblance, possession, instrumentality, addition, etc.: KJV – beside, with. In composition it has similar applications, including completeness.

NT:3326 <START GREEK>meta/<END GREEK> meta (met-ah’); a primary preposition (often used adverbially); properly, denoting accompaniment; “amid” (local or causal); modified variously according to the case (genitive case association, or accusative case succession) with which it is joined; occupying an intermediate position between NT:575 or NT:1537 and NT:1519 or NT:4314; less intimate than NT:1722 and less close than NT:4862): KJV – after (-ward),  that he again, against, among,  and,  follow, hence, hereafter, in, of, (up-) on,  our,  and setting, since, (un-) to,  together, when, with (+-out). Often used in composition, in substantially the same relations of participation or proximity, and transfer or sequence.

NT:3844 <START GREEK>para/ <END GREEK> para (par-ah’); a primary preposition; properly, near; i.e. (with genitive case) from beside (literally or figuratively), (with dative case) at (or in) the vicinity of (objectively or subjectively), (with accusative case) to the proximity with (local [especially beyond or opposed to] or causal [on account of]: KJV – above, against, among, at, before, by, contrary to,  friend, from,  give [such things as they],  that [she] had,  his, in, more than, nigh unto, (out) of, past, save, side … by, in the sight of, than, [therefore-], with. In compounds it retains the same variety of application.

NT:575 <START GREEK>a)po/<END GREEK> apo (apo’); a primary particle; “off,” i.e. away (from something near), in various senses (of place, time, or relation; literal or figurative): KJV – (X here-) after, ago, at, because of, before, by (the space of), for (-th), from, in, (out) of, off, (up-) on (-ce), since, with. In composition (as a prefix) it usually denotes separation, departure, cessation, completion, reversal, etc.

NT:1537 <START GREEK>e)k <END GREEK> ek (ek) or ex (ex); a primary preposition denoting origin (the point whence action or motion proceeds), from, out (of place, time, or cause; literal or figurative; direct or remote): KJV – after, among,  are, at, betwixt (-yond), by (the means of), exceedingly, (+abundantly above), for (-th), from (among, forth, up),  grudgingly,  heartily,  heavenly,  hereby,  very highly, in, …ly, (because, by reason) of, off (from), on, out among (from, of), over, since,  thenceforth, through,  unto,  vehemently, with (-out). Often used in composition, with the same general import; often of completion.

NT:1519 <START GREEK>ei)$<END GREEK> eis (ice); a primary preposition; to or into (indicating the point reached or entered), of place, time, or (figuratively) purpose (result, etc.); also in adverbial phrases: KJV – [abundantly-], against, among, as, at, [back-] ward, before, by, concerning,  continual,  far more exceeding, for [intent, purposefore],,  forth, in (among, at, unto, -so much that, -to), to the intent that,  of one mind,  never, of, (up-) on,  perish,  set at one again, (so) that, therefore (-unto), throughout, til, to (be, the end, -ward), (here-) until (-to), … ward, [wherefore-], with. Often used in composition with the same general import, but only with verbs (etc.) expressing motion (literally or figuratively).

NT:4314 <START GREEK>pro/$<END GREEK> pros (pros); a strengthened form of NT:4253; a preposition of direction; forward to, i.e. toward (with the genitive case the side of, i.e. pertaining to; with the dative case by the side of, i.e. near to; usually with the accusative case the place, time, occasion, or respect, which is the destination of the relation, i.e. whither or for which it is predicated): KJV – about, according to against, among, at, because of, before, between, ([where-]) by, for,  at thy house, in, for intent, nigh unto, of, which pertain to, that, to (the end that),  together, to ([you]) -ward, unto, with (-in). In comparison it denotes essentially the same applications, namely, motion towards, accession to, or nearness at.

NT:1722 <START GREEK>e)n<END GREEK> en (en); a primary preposition denoting (fixed) position (in place, time or state), and (by implication) instrumentality (medially or constructively), i.e. a relation of rest (intermediate between NT:1519 and NT:1537); “in,” at, (up-) on, by, etc.: KJV – about, after, against,  almost,  altogether, among,  as, at, before, between, (here-) by (+all means), for (… sake of),  giveself wholly to, (here-) in (-to, -wardly),  mightily, (because) of, (up-) on, [openly-],  outwardly, one,  quickly,  shortly, [speedily-],  that,  there (-in, -on), through (-out), (un-) to (-ward), under, when, where (-with), while, with (-in). Often used in compounds, with substantially the same import; rarely with verbs of motion, and then not to indicate direction, except (elliptically) by a separate (and different) preposition. (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

4Within: NT:1751 <START GREEK>e&neimi <END GREEK> eneimi (en’-i-mee); from NT:1772 and NT:1510; to be within (neuter participle plural): KJV – such things as … have. See also NT:1762.

NT:1762 <START GREEK>e&ni<END GREEK> eni (en’-ee); contraction for the third person singular present indicative of NT:1751; impersonally, there is in or among: KJV – be, (there) is.

NT:1772 <START GREEK>e&nnomo$<END GREEK> ennomos (en’-nom-os); from NT:1722 and NT:3551; (subjectively) legal, or (objectively) subject to: KJV – lawful, under law.

NT:1722 <START GREEK>e)n<END GREEK> en (en); a primary preposition denoting (fixed) position (in place, time or state), and (by implication) instrumentality (medially or constructively), i.e. a relation of rest (intermediate between NT:1519 and NT:1537); “in,” at, (up-) on, by, etc.:

NT:1519 <START GREEK>ei)$<END GREEK> eis (ice); a primary preposition; to or into (indicating the point reached or entered), of place, time, or (figuratively) purpose (result, etc.); also in adverbial phrases:

NT:1537 <START GREEK>e)k<END GREEK> ek (ek) or ex (ex); a primary preposition denoting origin (the point whence action or motion proceeds), from, out (of place, time, or cause; literal or figurative; direct or remote):

NT:3551 <START GREEK>no/mo$<END GREEK> nomos (nom’-os); from a primary nemo (to parcel out, especially food or grazing to animals); law (through the idea of prescriptive usage), genitive case (regulation), specifically (of Moses [including the volume]; also of the Gospel), or figuratively (a principle): (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

5Alms: NT:1654 <START GREEK>e)lehmosu/nh<END GREEK> eleemosune (el-eh-ay-mos-oo’-nay); from NT:1656; compassionateness, i.e. (as exercised towards the poor) beneficence, or (concretely) a benefaction: KJV – alms (-deeds).

NT:1656 <START GREEK>e&leo$<END GREEK> eleos (el’-eh-os); of uncertain affinity; compassion (human or divine, especially active): KJV – (+tender) mercy. (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

6Pure: A. Adjectives.

  1. hagnos (<START GREEK>a(gno/$<END GREEK>, NT:53), “pure from defilement, not contaminated” (from the same root as hagios, “holy”), is rendered “pure” in Phil 4:8; 1 Tim 5:22; James 3:17; 1 John 3:3; see CHASTE.
  2. katharos (<START GREEK>kaqaro/$<END GREEK>, NT:2513), “pure,” as being cleansed, e. g., Matt 5:8; 1 Tim 1:5; 3:9; 2 Tim 1:3; 2:22; Titus 1:15; Heb 10:22; James 1:27; 1 Peter 1:22; Rev 15:6; 21:18; 22:1 (in some mss.). See CHASTE, Note, CLEAN, A. Note: In 1 Peter 1:22 the KJV, “with a pure heart,” follows those mss. which have this adjective (RV, “from the heart”).
  3. eilikrines (<START GREEK>ei)likrinh/$<END GREEK>, NT:1506) signifies “unalloyed, pure”; (a) it was used of unmixed substances; (b) in the NT it is used of moral and ethical “purity,” Phil 1:10, “sincere”; so the RV in 2 Peter 3:1 (KJV, “pure”). Some regard the etymological meaning as “tested by the sunlight” (Cremer). See CHASTE, Note, SINCERE.

Note: Wine mixed with water may be hagnos, “not being contaminated”; it is not katharos, when there is the admixture of any element even though the latter is “pure” in itself. (from Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, Copyright © 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers.)

7Defiled: NT:3392 <START GREEK>miai/nw <END GREEK> miaino (me-ah’-ee-no); perhaps a primary verb; to sully or taint, i.e. contaminate (cer. or morally): KJV – defile. (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006, 2010 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close