Olive Shoots From Healthy Roots


Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord,
who walks in his ways!
You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands;
you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you.

Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
within your house;
your children will be like olive shoots
around your table. [Psalm 128:1-3]

In my previous posts, we defined “fear of the Lord”, looked at the blessing of labor, and discussed fruitfulness. In this final post on this passage, I want to discuss the blessing of children.

your children will be like olive shoots
around your table.

So when a man fears the Lord and lives his life according to God’s design, it results in a fruitful wife, and children who resemble olive shoots.

That choice of illustration might have meant something to the ancient Israelite, but most of us today don’t have any experience with olive trees. I know I don’t. When I did a bit of research on olive trees (isn’t the internet great?), I found that they propagate by sending up shoots from the existing root system. These shoots tend to grow up then, all around the original tree. The Psalmist is using this language to picture a man’s children springing up all around him in a healthy way.

And they are gathered around the table, healthy and growing, lively and loud. At least that what our dinner table looks like!

But notice that the shoots come not from visible fruit that falls, but from the unseen roots of the parent tree. Just as I noted previously that the wife bears the fruit of the Spirit when the husband is tending to his own holiness, so also the children spring up from the hidden life of the father. If the root is healthy, so will the shoots be.

So once more, it comes back to the man who fears the Lord and walks in his ways. If that is done, then the wife bears the fruit of the Spirit, and the children are healthy and a blessing. If the father does not fear the Lord, and does not walk according to God’s ways, then he should have no expectation that his children would be healthy spiritually, or a blessing to him.

Just the opposite, they are likely to be spiritually anemic if the root from which they spring (the inner spiritual life of the father) is rotten. And they will be anything but a blessing, to that man who pretends to an appearance of health, but under the soil his soul is rotting away.

Part I: Fear and Fruitfulness
Part II: Facon and Failed Eyesight
Part III: Look Well to the State of Your Vineyard