The Anointing And The Overflow
“Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.”
In the divine economy there is no stagnation, no stinginess, no rationing, and no lack. Every emergency is foreseen and amply provided for. If we experience anything to the contrary it is not our Shepherd’s fault.
The oriental makes much of the anointing oil. This is true of the herdsman as well as the householder. It is the soothing balm for most ills. The thorn-torn head of the weary sheep is freely anointed with the healing unguent as it passes the shepherd at the door of the fold. How refreshing and rejuvenating was the anointing by the hand of the loving shepherd.
Oil is a type of the blessed Holy Spirit. For the service of the tabernacle God provided the priests with a formula for anointing oil which, under penalty of death, was not to be compounded or used except for sacred service. “Upon man’s flesh shall it not be poured.” It was not in any sense to be simulated.
God has provided that every child of His may have free access to the blessed Holy Spirit’s anointing. This is not for the world. Concerning the Holy Spirit, Jesus said, “Whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” Paul speaks of the “renewing of the Holy Ghost; which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour. Titus 3:5, 6. Like all other promises of this psalm, this anointing is for God’s sheep alone. It is not confined, however, to God’s great men, or to pastors, or evangelists, or apostles and prophets. It is the privilege of every saint, and none can be at his best for God without this. No preacher, teacher, or singer can please God and bring blessing to His people and to the world without this.
Someone asked an old, and unlettered colored preacher to explain the meaning of the Spirit’s unction. He replied, “I’se can’t tell you what it is, but I showly knows what it ain’t.” The congregation also knows what this anointing is not. The most illiterate man, under the anointing of the Holy Spirit, can preach a better Gospel than can the most brilliant scholar without the anointing. Sad was the day for the church of the Lord Jesus Christ when scholasticism and natural eloquence was substituted for the anointing of the Holy Spirit. Men may know how to make speeches without the anointing of the Spirit, but they do not know how to preach without it.
Jesus said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the Gospel Lk. 4:18. John, in writing to the children of God, said, “But the anointing which you have received of Him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in Him.” I John 2:27.
This anointing produces a freshness and vitality of spirit which nothing else can do. It prevents fretting, fuming, and friction. It produces beauty and refinement of character, and creates fragrance and fruitfulness in the life of the believer. What miserable substitutes are learning and formal ceremonies for the power and anointing of the Holy Spirit.
The promise of the Holy Spirit is for every believer. (Acts 2:38). This glorious gift is assured to all who ask in sincerity and act in obedience. (Lk. 11:13; Acts 5:32). Without this anointing no person is a Christian in a biblical sense. The meaning of Christ is “the anointed One.” The meaning of Christians is “the anointed ones.” Even the only begotten Son of God must have the anointing of the Spirit. How much more we, the lesser sons, stand in need of this promised gift of the “holy oil!”
Divine Shepherd, hear our prayer today for this promised anointing, as we bow our heads and bare our hearts in Thy hallowed presence. Fill us now, dear Lord, and make our barren lives fragrantly fresh and flourishingly fruitful, that Thy Name may be glorified.
“My cup runneth over.” A personal experience of fullness, but how infinitely small in comparison to that fullness which is promised by our Saviour-Shepherd to the believers of the Holy Ghost dispensation. “He that believeth on Me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive … )” John 7:38,39. Here we have rivers of living water contrasted with David’s cup. The overflowing cup of cold water given to the weary sheep at the close of the day is sufficient as a metaphor, but “that Great Shepherd of the sheep” has bigger and better things for us if we w211 only trust Him.
How sad and shameful is the fact that we who profess to be the sheep of God go leanly through life — undernourished, unanointed, and unwatered — while the Saviour-Shepherd has prepared for us a feast of fat things, if we will only come, eat and drink.
How sad that professed Christians must turn to the world to find a cheap sort of entertainment and unsatisfying pleasure. Little wonder that the people of the world are not interested in our religious profession. Spiritual stagnation is uninviting, and is a disgrace to the name of Christianity.
“Come unto Me and drink,” says our Shepherd. And again, “But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” The paltry pleasures of the world have nothing to offer which is in any way comparable to the clear, clean, soul-satisfying pleasures which our Lord gives. Some foolish folk would say, “This may be true, but we will sip at the cisterns of sin’s pleasures now, then turn later to the Fountain of Life.” Stupid folly! Such are eternal losers even if they should later break with the world’s ways and come to Christ. They can never be what they might have been. They can never plumb the depths of love and grace which they might have known. They sustain losses which shall never be regained. Eternal treasures have passed them up and shall never be captured. Come sinner, and come now. Weep your way to faith in our Saviour-Shepherd, and drink from His well of living water. Come, thou timid sheep; come near to your Shepherd and let Him refresh your soul with rivers of living water and make you as a well-watered garden — yea, as “a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season. “I am come, said the Good Shepherd, “that they (His sheep), might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” Anything short of this abundant life, abounding in fruitfulness, does dishonor to our Shepherd-King.
“Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be My disciples.” John 15:8.
“The righteous shall flourish like the Palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.” They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing.” Ps. 92:1 2, 14.