Summary: A message that talks about how blessed we are to be God’s children

We Are So Blessed

Psalm 23:5

One of God’s faithful missionaries, Allen Gardiner, experienced many physical difficulties and hardships throughout his service to the Savior. Despite his troubles, he said, “While God gives me strength, failure will not daunt me.”

In 1851, at the age of 57, he died of disease and starvation while serving on Picton Island at the southern tip of South America. When his body was found, his diary lay nearby. It bore the record of hunger, thirst, wounds, and loneliness. The last entry in his little book showed the struggle of his shaking hand as he tried to write legibly. It read, “I am overwhelmed with a sense of the goodness of God.”

The oil and cup are illustrations of God’s goodness. Although the oil and cup are part of the shepherd’s culture, it also fits that we have moved from a strictly shepherd story to the story of a banquet. Both ways of looking at these verses tell us of God’s goodness to His children.

The anointing with oil: Please understand. This reference to oil is not the anointing oil that was used to dedicate a priest for service or anoint a king. Exodus 30 specifically prohibits that oil from being used for common purposes. The oil of Psalm 23:5 IS a common oil. The anointing in Psalm 23:5 is not a special blessing or consecration. It is an everyday oil.

1. A healing ointment and an insect repellant. There were flies—Warble flies, deer flies that bite and nasal flies that tried to lay their eggs in the moist mucous membranes of the sheep’s nose. When these eggs hatched into larvae, those worms would head toward the brain and cause irritations. Sheep would rub their heads of trees and rocks trying to get this brain irritation to stop hurting. The ointment was not only a soothing balm to heal the biting flies, it was an insect repellant that would keep the irritating flies away. It was a linseed oil and tar mixture applied to the face and especially the nose. It kept the irritating flies and gnats away.

Satan wants to irritate and control your mind. Sometimes our problems aren’t huge mountains to climb or dark valleys to walk through…sometimes they are just irritations. They may not be the lion-sized attacks that require the shepherd to step in and use his rod and staff. Most of the time they are the day-to-day swarm of irritation and frustration and heart aches.

Song of Solomon 2:15 mentions the “Little foxes that spoil the vineyards.” We might better understand, “the little worms that spoil the apple crop” or the “gnats that buzz around your head and make you miserable.” They aren’t big. They aren’t dangerous. They are a nuisance. They are the little irritations of life—the little worries or the little annoyances that upset our happiness. When we face those day to day irritations, God steps in with the ointment of His goodness and love and reminds us how much He cares.

I Peter 5:7 “Casting all your care on Him, for He cares for you.”

2. A pleasant fragrance – this looks at the picture of the banquet of vs.5. In that culture, people didn’t bathe or shower as much as we do. They didn’t smell as good as we do. The anointing with oil is a reference to fragrant oil poured on the head of a guest at the banquet – to make them smell better and to make them feel special. Remember how the woman came and poured the perfume on Christ’s head? That was an act of love.

Psalm 92:10 says, “You have exalted my horn like that of a wild ox, you have anointed my head

with fresh oil.”

Sometimes we just need to get cleaned up because of the stench of living in a dirty world. (I John 1:9) God wants us to be a sweet fragrance, so He washes us and puts some really sweet smelling perfume on us to show us how special we are…to make us feel better about ourselves…to make us acceptable and not offensive.

Both of these types of anointing oil are designed to give us an attitude of joy and contentment. God does this. God tends to His sheep. God tends to His banquet guests and does whatever He has to do to make them feel like they are loved.

The cup that runs over:

It was the responsibility of the host at the banquet to make sure that his guests’ cups were always full. In that culture, as long as the cup was full, the guest was welcome to stay. It was a sign of good hospitality.

What a great picture of God’s grace. This overflowing cup is God’s goodness that He is pouring out all over us…not just filling our cup, but spilling it all over since He has so much goodness to give. When our cup overflows, it shows us how much God wants us to stay with Him and enjoy being with Him.

Ephesians 3:20 “He does exceeding abundantly BEYOND all we ask or think…”

ILL: I want you to put down whatever you have in your hands right now. If the person next to you has been sleeping, wake them up so they can participate, too. OK. You’ve got ten fingers to work with. I want you to think of eleven things that God has blessed you with. When you have counted off ten things, stand up (or raise your hand if you aren’t able to stand). If for some reason, you only have nine fingers, you are even more blessed than everyone else, because you will get finished with this task sooner. I want you to think of eleven to show you that God has blessed you in more ways than your hands can hold. Your cup really does run over.

NOW, do it again – and count off eleven ways God has blessed you THIS WEEK.

Interestingly, this picture grows right out of the historical situation in which David wrote. When David was driven out of Jerusalem and into the desert by his son’s rebellion he found himself hungry and weary, his army in disarray. Second Samuel 17 tells us that three men who were not even Israelites, Shobi, Machir, and Barzillai,

brought beds, basins [so they could wash and refresh themselves], and earthen vessels, wheat, barley, meal, parched grain, beans and lentils, honey and curds and sheep and cheese from the herd, for David and the people with him to eat; for they said, "The people are hungry and thirsty in the wilderness." {2 Sam 17:28-29}

Think of this picture: The enemies must look silently as God lavishes His guests with goodness. He anoints them with sweet fragrances and constantly fills their cups to overflowing. The enemies don’t get any of the backrubs or the fragrances or the pillows to prop their feet on. The enemies don’t get the special attention from God – the have to just watch and get jealous as God lavishes His goodness on us. Even when David is running away from Saul or Absalom…and even though David might seem like he is hiding out in a cave and begging provisions from people, he can still turn to God and get his soul restored…and He can still know God’s blessing.

As you lie down in the LUSH pastures…thank God for His blessing.

As you drink from safe waters, thank God that He cares.

As you walk through the valley and sit in the presence of your enemies, thank God for His presence.

What does God want to fill your cup with?

a. Romans 15:13 May the God of all hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. God wants to fill you with joy and peace so that you will overflow with hope. He wants to give you joy abundantly. He wants to give you a peace that passes all understanding. He wants to fill you with the power of the Holy Spirit so that you will not be discouraged and you will not be doubt filled and so that you will not be defeated. He wants you to have hope.

Hebrews 6:17-20 we have a hope that is anchored to the rock.

b. John 16:24 He wants to bless us so that our joy may overflow.

John 15:11 this joy can fill us until we can’t hold any more

c. II Corinthians 1:5 “For if the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also the comfort of Christ abounds to us.” Christ wants to give you an overflowing ability to handle tough times. He wants to comfort and help you. He wants to encourage you. He knows you are going through sufferings. And He wants to make His grace—the ability to handle difficulty-- overflow in your life.

II Corinthians 9:8 “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always, having sufficiency in everything, you may have abundance for every good deed.” He wants us to feel full enough that it naturally overflows into good deeds toward other people.

d. add to this an inheritance that cannot be lost or tarnished and a salvation that can never be lost.

I Peter 1:3-5 and John 10:28

e. a peace that cannot be disturbed. John 14:27

He wants us to understand that when we accept God’s gift of salvation and enter into this shepherd/sheep relationship with Him – our lives are full. We are so blessed.

APPL: If you have a cracked cup, let God fix it. If you have an empty cup, turn it over so He can fill it. If you have a dirty cup, allow Him to cleanse it—so that He can fill it up with himself.

A farmer repeatedly invited his neighbor to come over to his orchard and pick some apples and make fresh, sweet apple cider. The neighbor kept turning down the offer. Finally, the farmer asked why the neighbor didn’t want to come to his orchard. He said, “I think you are prejudiced against my apples.” The neighbor answered by saying, “Well, to tell the truth, I have tasted a few of them and they are very sour.” The farmer asked, “Which apples have you eaten?” The neighbor answered, “Those apples alongside the fence by the road.” The farmer said, “Ah, yes—those are sour. I planted them to fool the boys who live around here. But if you will come into the middle of my orchard, you will find a different taste.”

In much the same way, people who only nibble on the outside of Christianity only get a taste of conviction of sin, purity, and denial of self. All they see are fuddy-duddies and goody-two-shoes who don’t have any fun. Those apples were planted to keep out the hypocrites and curiosity seekers. Christ is interested in people making a commitment—a whole hearted, jump-in-with- both-feet commitment to follow Him. But once you come to Christ, the fruit is sweet. The nearer to God; the sweeter the joy.

The trouble in our lives is there to drive us deeper with Christ—into the heart and into the arms of Christ. It is there in Christ’s arms that we experience true joy, hope and grace. Nibbling around the edges will never give the overflowing satisfaction that commitment brings. You’ll never find the soothing ointment or the sweet fragrance until you allow the shepherd to smear that smelly stuff all over you.