Monday, August 07, 2006

Psalm 23:5

I was thinking this week how i'd never heard anyone preach on a Psalm ever...that was exactly what Craig did on sunday morning...which was nice.
Psalm 23:5 talks about anointing someones head with oil, and their cup overflowing. The whole Pslam obviously draws parallels between and shepard and his sheep, and the Lord, and well, us. So why does a shepard anoint his sheeps' heads with oil?

To Repel Insects.
Insects are a huge problem in the middle east. They carry disease, they irritate, they get in the way and are generally a nuisance. When a shepard puts oil on the face of a sheep, these insects are repelled. No more threat of disease and death, no more irritation and no more danger. The sheep are happy. Surely here there is a huge analogy with sin. Sin will lead to death. Sin gets in the way of our relationship with our Shepard. Sin irritates and will stop us following His commands. On a much larger scale these flies are sin. So what does our Shepard do? He finds a way to repel this sin, to defeat it. By the faith He gives us, we can overcome sin, so we are no longer subject to it, so we do not need to worry about it's consequences. When Jesus died on the cross, He conquered sin and its wages, death. The Lord promises that He will give eternal life to those who believe, that He will do only good things to them. He puts in us a love, a faith, and most importantly the Holy Spirit to battle sin, as the oil battles the insects. This is obviously an imperfect analogy (there are no good analogies for the saving work of Jesus Christ) but it's a powerful illustration, especially when coupled with the other two.

To Prevent Conflict.
Sheep, so i'm told, love to fight. They butt eachother with their foreheads to settle a dispute. The oil makes their foreheads too slippery to make this sort of fight possible. Faith in Jesus will stop conflict. What can two people fight over in light of God's grace to them? The faith that we are gifted unites us. The cross humbles us, and should shut up all our whining and moaning about other people...a symptom of envy and malice which themselves are symptomatic of a lack of faith. But Jesus graciously and powerfully stops this. He died for us, that we might be won for the Father, that we might be united in praise of God...that we might be saved. Grace, love and faith. Three wonderful things that should prevent any conflict between the sheep of the Shepard who laid down His life.

To Heal Wounds.
The oil the shepard uses, can heals wounds. Now, i have seen enough and heard enough to believe that God can and does heal physical wounds today, but obviously also He can heal our emotional wounds. Jesus, who knows what rejection and emotional pain is like more than any person who ever lived, knows our pain, loves us enough to weep with us, to release us from pain, and to die for us. In Gethsemene what terrified Jesus the most wasn't the physical pain that He was about to suffer, but the emotional pain bought on by separation from the Father. Jesus knows what it's like to suffer. To be hurt both physically and emotionally. He has conquered death, He can conquer any kind of pain in our lives for our benefit, His glory.

We worship and awesome God. A God who chose to die for us, who chose to make a way for us, who chooses to lavish grace and mercy on us. All of this without compromising His perfect holy justice...What an awesome God.

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