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Thou Anointest My Head with Oil, My Cup Overflows

Psalm 23:5


An ancient custom of hospitality and respect shown to esteemed dinner guests was for the host to anoint his invitee’s head with oil.  The oil was mixed with fragrant perfumes to refresh and soothe weary travelers.  David said to the Lord “You anoint my head with oil” because he regarded himself as the Lord’s special guest.

Summertime is fly time.  Attack by a blowfly for example is a real concern for a shepherd.  It is a cause of weakness and even death in affected animals.  The fly lays its eggs on the sheep, and within 24 hours, the larvae penetrate the skin and multiply.  Soon after the sheep is poisoned.  Another would be the nose fly or nasal fly.  The eggs laid by them would work their way into the nasal passages and the sheep’s head.  The intense irritation caused by this causes the sheep to beat their heads against trees, rocks, posts, or brush.  The shepherd, seeing the sheep distressed, applies an ointment on the animal’s head and along its back.  Once the ointment is applied there is an immediate change in the behavior of the sheep.

In our lives, there must be a continuous anointing of God’s gracious Spirit to counteract the ever-present aggravations and frustrations thrown our way.  There must be a desire for us to have the daily anointing of God’s gracious Spirit upon our minds.  The Holy Spirit alone can give us the attitudes of Christ.  He makes it possible for us to react to aggravations and annoyances with quietness and calmness.  As the children of God, we (His sheep) are in the Divine Shepherd’s care.  We can be the most contented people on earth.

David would have seen how larvae or maggots were like his own sin – leading to death.  It was by Jesus’ suffering and death, and His resurrection from the dead that we can have unshaken peace in our lives.  There is another aspect to the meaning of a cup overflowing. Jesus Christ referred to His suffering in the Garden of Gethsemane and at Calvary as His cup.  Had it not overflowed with His life poured out for all men, we would have perished.  To fill your cup and mine means to replenish those stores of mental, emotional, and physical energy.  Our faith in Jesus sings of an overflowing cup.  The Bible emphasizes the excessive love, blessing, and power that God desires to pour out “overflowing” to those who love Him.

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