“You anoint my head with oil.” Psalm 23:5
This is some incredible imagery used by David to show how God takes care of us. David’s first career was that of a shepherd and when he wrote those words he had the practices and methods of a shepherd in mind.
“Anointing my head with oil” is a fascinating metaphor of God’s care for us.
Two ingredients that every shepherd had were some tar and some oil. When the sheep came into the fold in the evening the shepherd would check of the sheep’s noses to make sure flied had not planted their eggs there. If they had fly eggs in their nose the shepherd then would get out his tar and oil and put some in and around the nose of the sheep. The two substances would eradicate the eggs.
Now why would a shepherd need to be so concerned about flies hatching in the nose of sheep? If the shepherd did not get to the sheep then nothing would cause greater aggravation, distraction, and irritation than these flies hatching and flying out of their nose. Of course, they couldn’t get them out with their legs and they weren’t smart enough to ask the sheep next to them to get it out. So they took drastic measures.
Sheep have been known to ram their noses or heads straight into a tree trying to get rid of the flies. If there is a brick wall they will ram their heads against the wall. They do this instead of eating or drinking. Their distraction veers them away from what is important. Of course this does not get rid of the flies. It leaves the sheep woozy with a concussion! Now you know where the phrase “Hitting my head against the wall” comes from.
Today we have so many distractions, “flies,” that can cause us to hit our heads against the wall in frustration, but we have a Great Shepherd that with quietness and calmness anoints our head with oil. He brings us relief from the distractions of this world.