Psalm 23 informs us that Jesus is our shepherd -- a reference to John chapter 10 when it says He is the good shepherd and we are His sheep. This Psalm affirms the loving actions of Christ, our Shepherd.
At my previous church, the pastor would literally pour anointing oil on our foreheads during altar call. I would leave the altar not knowing what to do! Is it disrespectful to rub it off? …Because I’m pretty sure it’s about to run all the way down to my cheekbones. Although, it can be a comical thing to imagine (for me - I’ll admit), I wish I had the reverence for this spiritual practice back then like I do now.
A basic definition of anoint is to smear or rub. Real sheep herders or shepherds actually do this with their flocks. They smear this remedy of oil over the sheep’s heads in order to keep bugs from crawling into their ears which would severely harm the animal. Without this oil, the sheep would be defenseless to pests and insects. So, the oil would act like a repellent. Jesus knows we need a heavenly repellent in our lives to keep away the demonic pests from around us! Shepherds protect their sheep from the big bad wolves that we can clearly see, down to the tiniest pests that our eyes and spiritual sensitivity may miss.
And with this, I heard the Lord say, “I have sent you a Good Shepherd. He is always right there by your side, tending to your needs, and in Him you lack nothing. He protects you from the biggest of threats to the smallest of infections. Some of you can get too focused on the BIG problems that the small flies of your lives can often go unnoticed. Pesky things like your anger, negative self-talk, or response to hurt. These things can plant seeds in your ear like shame, doubt, worry, and fear -- causing spiritual complications. But I am here to protect you from all of it! You are safe and secure. I anoint your head with my holy oil because, beloved, I care for My sheep. Now, you may be a little greasy and shiny afterwards, but you are divinely marked with My hedge of protection. I will be your defense and I will fight for you. You need only to be still and rest with Me.” (Psalm 23, Exodus 14:14)
Picture Jesus right now squatting away the enemy’s plans like flies! Picture Jesus pouring oil over you in an act of protection. Perhaps, you know exactly what lies and attacks you’ve tried to protect yourself against. Open your hands, surrender your control, and give yourself permission to be cared for by the Good Shepherd.
1 A Psalm of David. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. 3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name's sake. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.