THIS SERIES: WHEN IT'S GOOD TO CHANGE YOUR MIND
You anoint my head with oil
Oil is a pictorial representation of the Holy Spirit in Scripture. It was used in the OT for the anointing of priests and kings, signifying dedication and empowerment for service; but it also had many uses in everyday life, and it’s these that are the focus of David’s statement. (The word ‘anointed’ in this Psalm is not the one used for consecration.)
As a shepherd, David would have made sure his sheep and other livestock were well-oiled especially about the head, with a mixture of oil and spices, to prevent fly-born disease, and parasite infestation, the consequences of which could sometimes be deadly. Humans need a similar protection, the Evil One wants to infect our thinking with doubt, fear, grumbling, self-pity, and a host of other negative thoughts, all of which destroy faith. The remedy is to be coated with Holy-Spirit protection and to align our thinking (and speaking) with Him.
Oil was also used as a means of soothing the skin exposed to the fierce heat and sand irritations encountered in everyday life. Perhaps these are not practical issues for many of us, but our days are often filled with other irritants; things that go wrong, comments that hurt, old insecurities that rise up, misunderstandings and quarrels, and other workaday frustrations. We need to be smeared with the Holy Spirit so that these barbs slide off us, rather than penetrating our souls and making festering sores. And we also need to allow Him to comfort and refresh us, to soothe away the bumps and bruises which come from just being alive.
GUEST OF HONOUR
A third way oil was used throughout the ancient world, (not just in Israel), was on the heads of guests as a mark of honour; a blessing or benediction on those invited to a feast. The word for ‘anoint’ in this psalm means to ‘make or pronounce fat’. Taking its imagery from a stockman’s success which was seen in the raising of fat animals, ‘fatness’ is used figuratively in the Bible of ‘richness of life’, particularly that which comes from the Lord’s blessing.
So when David talked about being anointed at the Lord’s feast, he was not only talking about Holy-Spirit protection and comfort, he was saying, ‘You have invited me to a feast where I am guest of honour; and You have pronounced or released ‘fatness’ over me!’
Remember this feast is prepared in the face of the enemy? (See last post). Isaiah says the adversary's yoke will be destroyed by the anointing [Isaiah 10:27 KJV]. And the word used for 'anointing' is this one here 'made fat'! Receiving the 'fatness' the Lord wants to release over us has far-reaching consequences...
OIL OF JOY
Several times the Bible refers to the ‘oil of joy’ or ‘oil of gladness’[Psalm 45:7, Isaiah 61:3, Hebrews 1:9]. Joy is one of the fruits of the Spirit, and a particular characteristic of the kingdom of God [Romans 14:17]. As we allow the Lord to smear us with the oil of His Spirit we can expect not only His healing balm and blessing released in our lives, but His joy to flow over us as we take in the feast set before us at the King's table.
THIS WEEK’S GRACE RHYTHM
Take some time out to declare these amazing truths over yourself:
Can you think of any others?
NEXT WEEK: 8. MORE THAN ENOUGH
My cup overflows
Learning to see that God is more than enough for us in every situation...
PASS IT ON
[Photo credits: Roberta Sorge (jug of oil); Mohamed Nohassi (sunset); Mimi Thian (sharing group) @ Unsplash, with thanks]
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