why do shepherds anoint sheep with oil
In our summer Bible study this week, the theme was
Anointing. We looked at how David was chosen by God for a specific task Б king over His people. This was an anointing or CALL for service. Just like David was anointed for a higher purpose, we are anointed by GodБs Spirit to fulfill our call as Christ-followers on the earth. THIS is what the Christian life is all about! I love to get excited and dream big with God about who HeБs calling me to BE. I hope youб do too. However, I realize that the excitement is hard to hold onto in the ordinariness of our day-to-day living. There is much waiting and wondering that goes along with it. For all the ordinary days of your life, hereБs another picture of anointing. David knew this very well, and he wrote about it in Psalm 23 Б the ShepherdБs Psalm. In this psalm, God is the Shepherd and we are His sheep, so when verse 5 says Б Бhe anoints my head with oilБ Б David is reminding us of what a shepherd does for his sheep. This is different than the anointing that David received as king. This is daily; this is ordinary. There are 3 reasons for a sheep to receive daily anointing of oil. 1. Bugs. Sheep are particularly susceptible to flies landing on their noses. These flies travel up the sheep s nose and lay eggs which turn into wormsб that can burrow into the animalБs brain. Then the sheep will bang their heads, trying to get rid of the irritation. They can die from this. So, each day the shepherd pours oil on the sheepБs nose, and the flies slide out instead of flying in.
I donБt know about you, but I certainly have a lot of daily irritations buzzing around my head Б rude actions, bothersome comments, pesky mishaps. Some of those get in my head and cause negative thoughts Б angry, fearful, sinful thoughts. And if I allow them to burrow deeper into my mind, they become part of my life andб can destroy me. But I have a Good Shepherd, and He promises if I come to Him every day, He will anoint my head with oil. I can come back to him many times a day Б and I do! In prayer, I bring the Shepherd all the little irritations and bothersome thoughts that cause me discomfort before they can gain a foothold in my mind. 2. Butts. As in butting heads. Sheep will butt heads with one another to gain position and assert authority. Male sheep especially like to butt heads, but in people, we all do that, donБt we? A shepherd knows his sheep will clash sometimes and he canБt prevent it, so he puts oil or grease on their heads. When they clash, their heads glance off without doing much harm to one another. Our Good Shepherd knows we canБt always avoid disagreements. but praying with and for one another is one way we can keep from harming each other when we butt heads. 3. Cuts. Sheep live outdoors Б with barbed fences, thistles, rocks, sticks, predators. ItБs not a kind, gentle setting. Even the greenest pastures have hazards. So, shepherds check their sheep each day, sometimes morning and evening, to look for wounds that need attention. Adding oil to the wound brings healing. We live in a dangerous world too.
And we get wounded Б sometimes daily. One of the worst sayings from childhood is Бsticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me. Б Well, thatБs just not true; words CAN and DO hurt us. They cause wounds that can go much deeper than sticks and stones. Wounds that only the Good Shepherd can heal. Each of us is wounded by all kinds of things. And Jesus is attentive to all our wounds Б physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. Daily, honest communication with Jesus is the best way to find healing. If we want to live in the power of the anointing of the Holy Spirit, we must recognize the tender, daily provision our Good Shepherd offers us as His sheep. It reminds me that I need Him every hour of every day. At certain times of the year, great clouds of flies, mosquitos and other insects would attack the shepherdБs flocks. In addition, the sheep could be afflicted by lice and ticks. These insects would especially attack the heads of the sheep, burrowing into their ears and noses. The results could range from irritation to disease to even death. To protect the sheep, the shepherd would make a mixture of olive oil and anoint the head of the sheep, rubbing the oil into its wool and especially around its nose, eyes, and ears. The fact that the shepherd anoints the head of the sheep to ward off mosquitoes and other bugs so they couldnБt get in to the ears and cause infection on the brain has a spiritual connection with us today! There are flies and other bugs that feed on the brains of the sheep, and when they enter into the sheep s brain through its ears, they start to eat up its brain causing б severe headache pains leading the sheep to starts running around looking for hard rocks, so that it may hit its head on the rocks to stop the pain.
As the sheep is violently hitting its head upon the rocks, the skull that protects the brain of the sheep breaks. Nowadays there are many БMosquitoesБ that want to get in to our mind (Brains) with distractions, entertainment,media etcБ It will cause us to be diverted, without focus and end up doing the things of the Flesh. The devil and itБs demons want us to be БinfectedБ with the things of this world! Б That will bring surely separation from God, б lack of consecration and consequently sin. Consequently one will have the headache of reaping the consequences of sin and at the end hitting his head against the rock, б and break that protection, our communion with God. Also the Oil would prevent irritation as the nostrils, eyes and mouth are a very sensitive area. When we are anointed with the Oil of the Holy Spirit we are able to let go of little things that come to irritate us and takes out of the Spirit. The anointing of the Holy Spirit б inspire and guide our thoughts to God, so we can do His will. We will maintain the БFliesБ and Bugs away and be healthy in our spiritual life, remain in faith and above all in Spirit. That is why one needs this anointing above all things. The baptism with the Holy Spirit it is a must for all of us!.
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