The Shepherd’s 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 – 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 God’s 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 He’s calling me to BE . . . I hope you 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, here’s another picture of anointing. David knew this very well, and he wrote about it in Psalm 23 – the Shepherd’s Psalm.

In this psalm, God is the Shepherd and we are His sheep, so when verse 5 says – “he anoints my head with oil” – 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 worms that can burrow into the animal’s 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 sheep’s nose, and the flies slide out instead of flying in.

I don’t know about you, but I certainly have a lot of daily irritations buzzing around my head – rude actions, bothersome comments, pesky mishaps. Some of those get in my head and cause negative thoughts – angry, fearful, sinful thoughts. And if I allow them to burrow deeper into my mind, they become part of my life and 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 – 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, don’t we?

A shepherd knows his sheep will clash sometimes and he can’t 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 can’t 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 – with barbed fences, thistles, rocks, sticks, predators. It’s 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 – sometimes daily. One of the worst sayings from childhood is “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” Well, that’s 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 – 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.

29 Replies to “The Shepherd’s Oil”

  1. Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou!!!….I was listening to a recent sermon of John Haggee’s, during which he mentioned a trip he had taken to Israel, during which he spoke to an actual real shepherd, who told John about how shepherds place anointing oil in the nostrils of sheep to prevent fly eggs from being deposited there……which left me hungry to learn more!…..It was so neat to have been able to google-in “sheep/oil placed on their nostrils to prevent flies”, which led me to you & all of this wonderful enlightening imformation, & how it applies to us spiritually speaking…..WHAT A BLESSING! Thanks so much!!!


    1. I recently went to Israel & visited the Shepherd’s Field. I have been looking at & cllecying things about shepherds & hiw they relate to our Good Shepherd. This was so interesting. Thank you!

  2. I’m teaching an Essential Oils of the Bible class in Ashland on 10/13/16 and I’m referencing this blog post! Such wonderful insight! Thank you for your influence sister 🙂 I was even happier when I realized you were a local gal! 😀

  3. Sister Shereen Lynn, what a blessing for this explanation. God has used your knowledge as a farmer to help me understand better the origin of anointing on sheep and how it applies to us. I was doing a study on the anointing with Prophet Shepherd Bushiri of ECG Pretoria, South Africa, and he mentioned the origin of anointing on sheep. It was surprising to me. Never heard it before. My search to know more brought me to your blog. Also the comment from Carol Eppehimer, above, on Pastor John Haggee in Israel was a blessing. Thank you all.

    1. This is what i need after so many years of wondering why i am so sensitive , i need to get closer to God for getting His annointing everyday , that ‘s why i am so weak and frustrated in this life, i only depend on my own strength

  4. Thank you very much. I was looking for a comment about the shepherd anointing and found your side. The Lord really minister to me about all those little bugs trying to destroy us. But every time we come to the shepherd He anoint our heads with oil.

  5. Love this! It seems like all those lies from the devil have me banging my head just like those sheep but God uses your explanation of the Shepherd and the oil to remind me that I need to be still so He can apply the oil.

    Thank you!

  6. Hello! I have seen this explanation making its rounds on Facebook and I would encourage you to look a little more closely at Psalm 23. The first part of the Psalm talks about our Good Shepherd and us his sheep, but then the imagery changes. The second part of Psalm 23 is the picture of a luxurious banquet. The table is ready. The food is overflowing and the guests are anointed with oil (a custom in those days in fancy parties). The picture isn’t of sheep sitting at a table with overflowing cups and getting anointed. In other words, the anointing doesn’t have to do with healing, but rather was a part of this picture of a luxurious banquet God has prepared for us (in heaven). Though the whole explanation of sheep being anointed that you talk about sounds good, it isn’t actually what the Psalm is talking about at all. I’m sorry! I appreciated you wanting to share such a nice sounding sentiment. Have a blessed day!

    1. Thank you for chiming in. If you read the entire post, you’ll recognize that this isn’t an explanation of Psalm 23, but a post about how anointing was used to display different things in scripture. Here, I’m using the analogy that David uses of the relationship with shepherd and his sheep. Again, it’s about the value of anointing, in the practical sense and how that relates to our relationship with our Good Shepherd today.

  7. This my second time reading this article I must admit I did not completely look at this fine work like I should until now.I blown away at the comparison of anointing of the sheep’s head as it relates to Christians anointing.Thank the Lord for your careful&caring explanations.

  8. It was a great commentary on the Psalm 23 verse 5. If possible may you please, do a full commentary on the Psalm 23 and let us know, because, when I am preaching in my local church, it can be useful for me.

  9. i love this image of the sheep how the Shepard protect it’s
    The same has Jesus Christ does the for us his children
    Thank you Jesus for your love.

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