Approaching the Throne of God: Psalm 23-You Anoint My Head with Oil
I once read a book by a man named W. Phillip Keller called “A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23.” In the book, Keller uses his experience as a Shepherd in Africa to go in depth as to the meaning of the verses in Psalm 23 (It’s and excellent book, I highly recommend it). One of the verses I never quite understood until I read it (and I’m sure the verse may or may not be lost on you) was “You anoint my head with oil.” I always took it to mean anointing as in blessing, or setting apart, as they did in the Bible. While, yes, it does mean that, this verse also means so much more. According to Keller, flies are a big problem for many sheep (they’re smelly, so it probably attracts them). What is more, often, sheep would get open sores in their noses and on their heads, and flies would land on them and try to lay eggs within these cavities. At best, this would be annoying to the sheep, at worst, it could be deadly, as the larvae of the flies could eat the sheep from the inside out. A good shepherd checks each of his sheep often, and would take this ointment (or oil), and pour it over the head of the sheep to clean open sores, but also to keep the flies away and get rid of any infestations.
Our Good Shepherd does dedicate us to his Father and make us Holy, yes. But He does so much more than that. He gave us His Holy Spirit to remove the infestations within us, and to clean the wounds and sores, as well as to keep the enemy from buzzing around us to infest us with worldly and fleshly thought. He knows each of us by name, speaks it often before His Father, and sends His Spirit to comfort, guide, and heal us. He anoints our head with oil to calm us, to heal us, and to bless us in Him, so that, no matter what agitations we face in this life, we’ll be prepared, holy, and set aside for the next. Are you in pain? Are you suffering? Has the Enemy implanted his lies and afflictions in to your mind? Come to the Shepherd. Let Him anoint your head, and in Him find rest from your afflictions.
Jeremiah 17:14-18 Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise. Behold, they say to me, “Where is the word of the Lord? Let it come!” I have not run away from being your shepherd, nor have I desired the day of sickness. You know what came out of my lips; it was before your face. Be not a terror to me; you are my refuge in the day of disaster. Let those be put to shame who persecute me, but let me not be put to shame; let them be dismayed, but let me not be dismayed; bring upon them the day of disaster; destroy them with double destruction! 1 Peter 2:18-24 Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust. For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.