This strikes me as a strange thing to say. I’ve been tied up for several days away from here and unable to do much with the blog. But I have been able to do some meditating and praying. If you share my conclusions, it will probably cause you to look at your self in a new light. -dk
As I indicated earlier, the analogy changes a phrase or two back. Instead of a “Shepherd” tending his flock, it appears now the scene has shifted. I believe that’s pretty clear, even if you’re reading casually. For example the idea of a shepherd “anointing the sheep’s head with oil” strikes me as strange. Or spreading a table cloth, having the sheep sit there in a dining room with silverware, china, crystal, candle lights and a five course meal strikes me as strange. I’m not sure who’d be in a more awkward position. . . The sheep attempting to adjust to dining elegantly. . . or the Shepherd, appalled, trying to teach the sheep table manners or cleaning up the mess afterwards!
David has been using one analogy, and now he’s obviously using another.
I must confess, though, since I promised to be honest: I did find the thought of a sheep being “anointed” to be amusing. I remembered a cartoonist (My son helped me relocate Gary Larson) who drew pictures of sheep acting like people. I “googled” his goofy sight, just for fun, giggled a lot and found the ideas were hilarious. (“A little nonsense now and then is relished by the best of men,” or so I’ve been told.)
For our purposes studying the Psalm, though, it sounds more like a nobleman is having guests at a dinner. An important and welcome guest is being honored, recognized. The “anointing my head with oil” is the clue. In our culture, when we welcome guests, we may shake their hands or kiss them lightly on the cheek. Other cultures have other customs. If someone “annointed” me, I’d figure something unusual was about to happen.
The “anointing…with oil” goes beyond a mere “hello.”
THOU ANOINTEST MY HEAD WITH OIL….What does that mean? There are lots of things we do which have ceremonial significance. I’ve never been “knighted,” but I’ve seen and heard of such. The knight kneels, and the official in charge (a King, or some important figure) takes a sword and touches the crown of the candidate’s head, and he is “knighted.” Someone of importance recognizes that the person being “knighted” is a person of worth and potential.
There came a time later when a Prophet “anointed” David to be king. In doing so, the prophet was saying: “You have been chosen. You’re someone very special, and God has picked you to lead His people.” In my mind, there also seems to be a kinship with our word “ointment.” I don’t speak dogmatically here,but I do wonder if the words don’t have a common origin. It has a soothing, healing effect. It would certainly seem in some instances that an “annointed,” “ordained” leader could and should have a healing and unifying effect upon the people whom he or she leads. I certainly cannot conceive of a truly “chosen” or “annointed” leader causing destructive division and wrecking the peace of His people.
The gifts the Magi brought were gold, frankincense and myrrh. Sweet smelling spices, oils…myrrh, specifically, was used to prepare dead body for burial. Once again, I’m not sure where this might take us, but fragrant oils were used in various ways and always with some symbolic significance.
Think about the time when there was such a display of extravagant affection by Mary Magdalene. She’d been so forgiven that she felt driven to express her gratitude. She displayed her love lavishly. She “annointed” Jesus with expensive fragrances. Judas got all “cranked up” about it, (As well he should have, because it was discovered later he was dipping into the collective treasury.) He scolded Mary and scoffed: “What is the reason for such waste? Think of all the starving children in China. Or Africa.”
Jesus saw the act of adoration as a good thing. As I recall, he viewed such action as an “anointing” for His burial.
It (“anointing”) usually has ceremonial significance and that idea (or something similar) appears frequently throughout Scripture. When God selected a new king for the nation of Israel, one of His spokesmen (a Prophet) would go find the candidate. Then he’d state his purpose, and pour some oil on the newly-designated king. It simultaneously symbolized the recognition by some important person of the work and worth of someone else who now has a new, important endorsement and assignment.
For some reason, the shift in the shepherd analogy turned my attention to the chapter in Luke where Jesus spoke of the three lost “items:” A coin, a sheep, and a “prodigal son.” When the boy took his inheritance prematurely and left home, he broke his father’s heart. After almost destroying himself, “P.S” (the Prodigal son) finally came to his senses and came home. The father said: “This is reason to celebrate. I’ve been fattening up a nice calf for a special occasion. This IS the “Special Occasion.” And he lovingly embraced the prodigal, had a “welcome home Son” feast in his honor. Gave him back his status as “son.” The son was Guest of honor, and evidently was given his “keys” to the homeplace (“I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.).
One time Jesus told some of His friends and close followers: “You have not chosen me. But I have chosen you. And ordained you.” That was in order that you might fulfill His mission. You MUST fulfill His mission. For that you’ve been chosen. Ordained. Annointed. Selected. Appointed. He doesn’t have anyone else to do the work for which YOU have been brought to this hour and to this place.
How could anyone so “special” ever doubt their self-worth?
If you are loved, valued by Him, chosen, ordained and sent forth to serve, rest assured that you have inestimable worth
If you haven’t thought about it before, this could be a good time to consider it. If you feel like the “prodigal,” this might be a good time for you to hear the “Welcome Back Home, Child.” Or, perhaps the Shepherd (now in the role as Lord) has decided that you should occupy a position of service. And, in His Name, by His authority, you are hereby welcomed home again, ‘ANNOINTED” and now commissioned to live and serve with honor.
~A servant, your friend and fellow student, donkimrey~
A parting word. I realize we’ve been considering Psalm 23 for quite some time. It seems to me to be warranted and worthwhile. Far too often, I believe, we skim lightly and superficially over the “surface” of Scripture, barely at times causing even a ripple. When I see something like “Discovery Channel” and hear stories of people who devote their entire lives to research. . . medicine, archaeology, deep sea diving to locate lost, sunken treasure loaded ships. . . it makes me feel my efforts are hardly even a worthy beginning. Incidentally, with regard to the above analogy (and the unusual “twist” it takes once the “table is spread,”) I’m sure I’m searching. Not “reaching.” I’m trying to listen and think. Hope you’ll adopt the same approach. Thank you for your time and interest. I also appreciate any comments you have from your own preparation. dk