Summary: A message that talks about how blessed we are to be God’s children
We Are So Blessed
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.