"Thou anointest my head with oil;" Psalm 23:5b
Summertime for sheep means flies and pestilence. These nasty flies will cause havoc with the sheep as they try to lay their eggs in the moistness of the sheep’s nose. The sheep will become erratic by stamping their feet and running around trying to get away from the flies. If left untreated, a sheep could become blind or even try to kill itself. A good shepherd keeps a close watch on their sheep and when they see their sheep acting this way will mix up an ointment which may consist of linseed oil, sulfur and tar and apply it to their head and nose. Once the shepherd does this, the sheep immediately become calm, and content which allows them to rest.
This reminds me of our walk in Christ. We are plagued with different irritations in our lives as we live in a fallen world. When we start focusing on the irritation instead of focusing on Christ, we allow it to affect our walk with Him. Maybe someone has hurt us either by an action they have done toward us or they have said an unkind word. Are we willing to forgive right away or do we hold unto it and allow bitterness to set in. When we allow bitterness to creep in instead of forgiveness, it will eventually affect our walk with Him. Ephesians 4:32 says, “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.”, so if He can forgive us then shouldn’t we forgive others?
There are times when these irritations plague us throughout the day and even into the night and we are not able to rest. By giving each of these worries, frustrations, and trials over to the Great Shepherd, He comes and covers us with His ointment of the Holy Spirit and we are able to rest and have contentment knowing that He is in control and watching over us.
Another thing that the sheep deal with in the summertime heading into the autumn season is the battle between the rams for possession of the ewes. These rams will strut proudly around the pasture and furiously fight any other ram for the affection of the ewes. They will butt each other’s heads so hard that it can actually hurt, maim or even cause death. Knowing this, the shepherd will catch his rams and then smear grease on their heads. By doing this when the rams would try to butt heads, they would slide off of each other’s heads instead.
There are times in our Christian walk, where we can be “knocking each other around”. Maybe we don’t see eye to eye with someone and try to push our ideas on to the other person, like trying to be the head ram. This has caused many hurts in the church to the point that some will not even step foot in a church.
To prevent that from happening, our Great Shepherd comes and applies His precious ointment of His gracious Spirit in our lives. When we allow the Holy Spirit to invade our lives, take control of it, the attributes of love, peace, joy, patience and being generous is seen in our lives. When this happens, a contentment that comes from Him settles in our lives. We should be known as the most restful, contented people when we are the sheep of the Great Shepherd.
In the painting, you see Jesus pouring the ointment onto the sheep’s head and on the jar is the cross representing Christ dying for us and a dove representing the Holy Spirit indwelling within us. The jar is painted red to represent Christ’s blood that was shed for us. By accepting God’s gift of salvation, we have experienced the Anointing of the Shepherd.
In this special blog series, I painted Psalm 23 verse by verse, personalizing the verses from a sheep's devotion to their Great Shepherd. Each picture is painted on a roof slate with acrylic paint. There are a total of 12 blogs when completed.