David, as a shepherd is using this elaborate description of how he relates with his flock to describe his relationship with God. So why does a shepherd anoint the heads of his sheep?
Sheep as does other livestock get afflicted with flies, ticks, lice and other insects. These little insects would especially attack the most vulnerable part of the sheep: the head, burrowing into their ears and noses. This would result in range of symptoms from mild irritation to death. To prevent this, the shepherd would anoint the head of the sheep with a concoction of olive oil (sometimes with herbs mixed in there for perfume), especially rubbing the oil around its nose, eyes, and ears. The oil was a protection and a repellent against evil.
Many times in our lives we are “bugged” by many challenges but often it is the “little things” that cause many a Christian to lose heart, to get discouraged, or to get upset and offended. We are left disheartened and it steals our joy. I started this blog series with my first post on gracious conversations recounting a conversation I had with a friend that has probably had lasting irreparable damage. I think of conversations I have had with others where I have felt offended. I ruminate on the things in the conversation that did not sit right with me and dwell on them till they grow out of proportion in my head tearing down every hope of ever giving the other person the benefit of the doubt or having a discussion or even allowing for reparation. It’s like a little bug that crawls up the sheep’s ear into its brain and gnaws at the tissues till the sheep gets sick or dies. These little bugs ruin friendships, kills marriages, tears families apart, and split churches. So what is the cure?
We need the shepherd to anoint our heads with oil. When Jesus Christ our shepherd started his ministry on earth, He modeled this for all of us. He himself was anointed by God and he went about doing good to everyone; even the most undeserving of sinners.
…how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him. Acts 10:38 NIV
We need the Holy Spirit in our lives more than ever before. To overcome in the battle that rages in our minds… we need the anointing of the Holy Spirit and the power that comes from Him. Oil is a symbolism of God’s spirit. Whenever anyone was anointed in the bible, we know that the Spirit of God came upon them (case in point: David)
So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came powerfully upon David. Samuel then went to Ramah. 1 Samuel 16:13 NIV
So when we ask God to anoint our heads with oil, we are asking God to repel any evil from us. We are asking God protect us from seen and unseen forces; but more especially to protect our minds and guard our eye gate, our ear gate, our nose gate, and our mouth gate against all forms of attack from “little bugs” or even the big ones. We are asking for the enablement of the Holy Spirit for this purpose and His power to rest upon us so that we can overcome these little foxes that ruin the vine. We are asking God to help us be open to all people, to not hold grudges, or keep malice. We are asking for the ability to love freely without holding back, or being trapped in unforgiveness. And among other things, we are asking God to break every bondage that we have been subjected to by our minds by bringing all thoughts under the authority of Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 10:5) because the anointing breaks yokes (Isaiah 10:27 KJV)!
When our minds are free from the grudges, the unforgiveness, the malice then the second part of this verse becomes a reality: my cup runs over. Love will pour out of us like a river; Joy will pour our of us like a river; Peace will pour out of us like a river. For where ever the Spirit is…. there is a river….
“…Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them”. By this He meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. John 7: 38-39 NIV
Stay tuned for ‘…my cup runs over’ and be intentional in living out your faith.