I would like to take us through Psalm 23, where there are some truths that I learnt by spending time studying and seeking the Lord. I encourage you to read Psalm 23 and ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you.
We, as the sheep, lack nothing. We are dependent on the Shepherd for provision, guidance and protection. Jesus is a good shepherd and we are His sheep, not frightened animals but obedient followers, who are wise, and trust Jesus enough to follow Him. He will lead us in the right way and along the right paths. We recognise Jesus as The Good Shepherd.
Let’s move on to the next verse, ‘He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams’ (verse 2). In the Hebrew language still waters is mee menuchoth. It means restful waters or refreshment. Our Shepherd wants to lead us to a restful place, where we can focus on Him without any distractions, and where we can completely trust in Him.
Verse 3 says that He renews our strength and guides us along the right paths, but we have to allow Him to guide us. If we do, then we will be safe and contented. We all have a choice to allow Him to lead us on the right path, which will bring honour to His name.
Verse 4 says, ‘Even though I walk through the valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me, your rod and staff comfort me!’ Our darkest valleys could be pain, loss, illness, and suffering, and, unfortunately, we will all go through this at some point in our lives. However, we will not go through it alone. Jesus is right there next to us, comforting us and giving us strength.
Verses 5 and 6 really spoke to me. Please bear with me as I share some of what I learned by doing some deeper study. ‘You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honour me by anointing my head with oil’. I looked up why the shepherd used oil on the sheep back in ancient Israel. Here is what I discovered. The three main reasons are as follows:
1) to repel insects. Insects can cause great irritation to sheep, as flies can lay their eggs in the sheeps’ noses, which causes them to beat their heads on anything they can find to get relief. So, the fragrance of the oil helps to keep the flies at bay.
2) The shepherd pours oil over the heads of the rams during mating season, as they will fight over the same female sheep. And when rams fight they can cause injuries to each other. So, the oil would help prevent injury by acting as a lubricant, causing the rams to just glance off each other rather then crash into each other.
3) Sheep can still get hurt and end up with cuts, so a shepherd would pour oil on the wounds to help prevent infection.
So as I wrap up, here is how I relate to The Shepherd anointing me with His oil. I can have bugs that irritate me in my life. I can butt heads with others, which can then cause wounds and disappointments. A lot of things can cause me hurt, but, in letting God lead me and anoint me, I can trust Him and give Him all my hurts. I can stand still and rest, lower my head, and let my Shepherd do His work in my life.
Please feel free to use this devotional to send on to your friends or share with your church fellowship. Provided full acknowledgement is made to Seeds of the Kingdom as the source, you are also welcome to use it in a non-commercial way and reproduce it in magazines or other Christian websites. The copyright for any commercial use of the material remains with Ellel Ministries International.