At certain times of the year, great clouds of flies, mosquitos and other insects would attack the shepherd’s flocks. In addition, the sheep could be afflicted by lice and ticks. These insects would especially attack the heads of the sheep, burrowing into their ears and noses. The results could range from irritation to disease to even death.To protect the sheep, the shepherd would make a mixture of olive oil and anoint the head of the sheep, rubbing the oil into its wool and especially around its nose, eyes, and ears.
Many a Christian has avoided ravenous wolves only to fall to the little things of life that irritate, frustrate, or cause infection. The little foxes spoil the vines, and it is often the “little things” that cause many Christians to lose heart, to get discouraged, or to get upset and offended at people. These little fleshly issues give birth to grudges, fights, and trouble within the church. Like sheep irritated & infected by tiny bugs,
these little things are why so many Christians are irritated, unhappy, joyless, frustrated, and upset.
“Pastor,” says an unhappy church member, “Six months ago you said this and I just didn’t appreciate it so I am leaving the church.” Six months ago? What happened? Some little bug worked its way into his mind, and burrowed down in there and got infected, and grew out of proportion, and then, when hope for discussion and reconciliation is apparently impossible, he decides to leave the church and burn a bridge.
These little bugs ruin relationships. They kill marriages. They split churches. They destroy friendships.
What is the preventative cure? We need the Shepherd to anoint our heads with oil. The anointing oil is a picture of the Holy Spirit:
- Acts 10:38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.
We are to be filled with the Spirit. We are to walk in the Spirit. We are to be led by the Spirit. This is how we overcome the lust of the flesh:
- Galatians 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
We need the fullness and the anointing of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The anointing of the Spirit is how the Shepherd protects me from those little things that would make me ineffective. This is also how God empowers me to be a fruitful, effective witness and worker for Jesus Christ.
The oil was also known in the Bible as the “oil of gladness” (Psalm 45:7). A Spirit-filled life is a joyful life. There is gladness and joy in the life of a Christian anointed with the oil of the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God does not produce gloominess, moodiness, depression, and grumpiness. He produces joy and gladness.
This oil was also perfumed. I imagine that sheep didn’t always smell like daisies on their own. An anointing of oil certainly might have made an improvement! Christians certainly don’t “smell” right when they are filled by the flesh, either. But there is a definitely pleasing aura about the Christian who is filled with the Spirit.
Are you filled with the Spirit? Have you ever surrendered to His will? Have you asked God to anoint you head with oil?
Excerpted from THOU ART WITH ME: A Study of the 23rd Psalm. For more information on this book & to receive a free PDF of the book in its entirety, click on the title.