Anointed with Oil

FFF 14:10 (Dec 1968)

Anointed with Oil

Carl Armerding

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Psalm 23:5

In the second verse of this well-known Psalm, we see the Lord’s provision for our hunger and our thirst. In the verse now before us we see His provision for our communion with Him. No doubt all that goes before this is in preparation for this. There He leads, He feeds, He restores, and He comforts. But in preparing a table before us He provides for something over and above all of these things. In its simplest form this was a prepared area or skin laid out on the ground. And He who prepares it is also the Host. You and I are His guests. But in keeping with the rest of the Psalm what we have here is individual communuon with our Host. It is this individual fellowship with the Lord which should precede our gathering as an assembly to remember Him in His death for us. That is why, I believe, that the table is mentioned after “the valley of the shadow of death.” In the Lord’s Supper we look back to Calvary and forward to His coming again (1 Cor. 11:26).

In thus remembering the Lord we are doing something for Him. But at the same time He also does something for us. “Thou anointest my head with oil,” is the way it is expressed here. The Scriptures tell us that David was anointed three times; first by Samuel (1 Sam 16:13), then by the men of Judah (2 Sam. 2:4), and finally by the elders of Israel (Ibid 5:3). But here he tells us about another anointing by the Lord Himself. And it is this divine anointing which supersedes all the others.

The Lord had found David and had anointed him with His holy oil (Psa. 89:20). thus setting him apart for Himself. This is something which He does for every one whom He finds. Salvation and sanctification go together. “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His” (Rom. 8:9). It is by His Spirit that He separates us unto Himself.

This separation, however, is not a dead, formal separation. The “holy oil” with which we have been anointed is also “the oil of gladness” (Psa. 45:7). Primarily, of course, this applies to the Messiah. But the very mention of “fellows” encourages us to believe that they share in this joyful anointing, not to the same degree, to be sure, for He is ever “above His fellows.” In this, as in all else, He must have the preeminence. But by His grace we may sing,

“There is a place where mercy sheds
The oil of gladness on our heads.”

We gather from our text that that place is at His table.

It is altogether fitting that it should be the head which is anointed. Thus the “precious ointment” may run down till even the garments, which speak of habits, are affected by it (see Psalm 133). And since we belong to that holy priesthood whose function it is to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ (1 Pet. 2:5), we need not hesitate to make the application. Both Aaron and his sons were anointed with “holy anointing oil” (Exodus 30:30).

Let us see to it that we are “anointed with fresh oil” (Psalm 92:10). Scripture speaks of the renewal of the Holy Spirit, which He poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Saviour (Titus 3:5, 6). But yesterday’s “supply of the Spirit” (Phil. 1:19) will not do for today. By coming to the table which He has prepared for us, we shall find that fresh anointing that maketh the face to shine (Psa. 104:15).

“Now He which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts” (2 Cor. 1:21, 22). “For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ” (2 Cor. 2:15). May the Lord enable us to bear this fragrance wherever we go for the glory of Him whose “name is as ointment poured forth.”