Psalm 23, continued
“You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.”
Psalm 23:5b, NKJV
The table has been prepared atop the summer mountain range. The shepherd’s precious sheep have arrived, eager to dine on the lush green pastures. But, there is a problem. Along with the lush green pastures of summertime come those ever pesky flies that will wreak havoc on the sheep as they graze. The attacks of bot flies, gnats, mosquitoes, black flies, and nasal flies, just to name a few, can disrupt any dining experience and leave a sheep totally miserable.
Nasal flies are one of the most annoying flies for a sheep. These flies will buzz around a sheep’s head, trying their best to lay their eggs in the sheep’s nose. If they are successful, the eggs will hatch, forming worm-like larvae. The larvae will work their way up the nasal passage, bury themselves into the sheep’s flesh and begin irritating the sheep, which in the end will lead to severe inflammation.
To gain relief from this agonizing pain sheep will beat their heads against trees, rocks, posts, or brush. They will rub their heads on the ground vigorously and thrash themselves against fallen branches or stumps. In the most extreme cases, sheep have been known to kill themselves during the pursuit of finding relief from the immense pain.
To protect a sheep from just horrific pain, the shepherd will apply to the sheep’s head an ointment that will divert the pesky flies. Gently and with much care, the shepherd will rub this ointment over the sheep’s nose and head. Once the ointment is applied the sheep are able to continue enjoying the lush green pastures that are before them. This is not a onetime application though. A good shepherd will be ever watchful of his sheep and when the flies come a botherin’, he goes to anointin’.
Think about your life and those things that seem to irritate you the most. I don’t know about you, but there are annoyances in my life that often times get under my skin wreaking havoc on my spirit. Trying to get rid of them myself, I run around acting like the fool; throwing temper tantrums, racking my brain trying to figure out how I can rid myself of the problem. I cannot rid myself of the annoyances on my own; you cannot rid yourself of your own annoyances. It is only the continuous presence and filling of the Holy Spirit in our lives that frees us of those aggravating frustrations.
Just as with the sheep, there must be a continual anointing of God’s gracious Spirit upon my life and yours in order to counteract those irritations that can so easily plague us. In Luke 11:13, Jesus urges us to ask the Father to give us the Holy Spirit. It is the daily anointing of the Holy Spirit upon my mind that will produce in my life those traits such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control.
Friends, our anointing comes by spending time with the Good Shepherd. During this time He fills our minds and hearts with good things until our cups spill over. Without this anointing the challenges of the day will get the best of us; we will rack our brains trying to solve problems, we will make decisions without the guidance of His counsel, and we will walk in our own strength. But, if we set aside time EVERY DAY to spend with Him, He will anoint us with blessings from above, filling us with His strength and power so that we are ready to face the day.
“Open wide your mouth, and I will fill it.”
Psalm 81:10b, NKJV