You love justice and hate evil. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you, pouring out the oil of joy on you more that on anyone else. Psalm 45:7 NLT
If you grew up in Sunday School, then you probably have, “Give me oil in my lamp, keep it burning, burning, burning…” playing in your head right now. You’re welcome.
Oil is a very essential part of our lives – for cooking, cleaning (did you know that soap uses oil as part of its cleaning capabilities?), mechanical things, personal care products, and more. I love my oils – coconut, olive, avocado, sesame, etc. I could be considered an oil snob, but let’s not go there.
But the Bible has unique oil – the oil of joy. This is what caught my attention today.
I've got the joy, joy, joy down in my heart.
I don’t know about you, but I could use some joy these days. So much of our lives involves chaos, bad news, trauma, affliction, suffering, relational issues, financial struggles; I need joy.
Rejoice in the Lord always and again: I say rejoice! Philippians 4:4 NIV
Paul tells us to rejoice. In all circumstances. It is up to us to flip our minds onto the things of Christ rather than dwell on the things of the world. Keep our focus on God and His activity rather than on man’s activity.
This oil of joy that I am longing for is actually from God Himself. We see this type of oil in Psalm 23.
You anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows. Psalm 23:5 NIV
I would agree that God’s oil of joy does, indeed, cause our cup to overflow. His oils spills out to all around – it cannot be contained. Nor, do I think He wants it to be contained. He wants our joy to be infectious. Contagious. Not like some virus (hello, the past 2.5 years), nor an unwanted germ. He wants His oil to be present, seen, smelled, used and given.
He pours it on us…let’s read Psalm 45:7 again – You love justice and hate evil. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you, pouring out the oil of joy on you more than anyone else.
The condition of this liberal pouring out oil is for the believer (notice that God is referred to as your, meaning He is your Lord and Saviour, implying you have a heart walk with Him); because the believer loves justice.
The actual reading of this phrase in Hebrew reads: thou lovest righteousness and hatest wickedness. Righteousness can be translated as the right, just, rightness, what is right, just and moral. Wickedness can be translated a wrong, violence, guilt, iniquity.
God is pleased when we despise the evil in the world – we’re not just talking ‘social justice’ here. It’s the wrong things that draw glory from Him. It can be as evil as murder or equally considered evil, but for some reason in our minds not quite as bad – gossip, let’s say. All things that are of the flesh, of this world, not of God are wicked.
And God is pleased when we love the right, good things – Jesus, others, the Word, obedience, praise and worship, right living as defined in Scripture.
When we do these things God pours out the oil of joy.
But. What about the daily grind stuff? You know, the things that distract us from engaging in regular life. I don’t openly engage in wickedness (no secret telling for me thank you very much!), or do I? If my eyes are not on Jesus and if I doubt, complain, disobey, then I fall in that camp. I am loving sin more than Jesus. Uh-oh. I need to reevaluate my life and my walk with the Lord. No wonder joy is not oozing from my pores.
However, if I ...
Seek the kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. Matthew 6:33 NLT
God’s oil will be dripping off me. It will be spilling every where leaving a trail behind me. Others will see that trail and will know I am a follower of Jesus because instead of counting my sorrows, I am counting my joys. Instead of worrying, I am praying (Philippians 4:6-7). Instead of doubt, I have faith (Hebrews 11:1,6). Instead of focus on self, I am yoked to my Saviour and I am learning from Him (Matthew 11:28-30). Instead of focusing on my affliction, I am focusing on the goodness of God.
Honestly, this is much easier said than done. I fail miserably most of the time, but it does not mean that I don’t have it as my goal. I do catch myself mid-stride in my bison wallow.
Having been to Yellowstone twice, I have seen those bison wallows. They are throughout the park and they are a place where, you guessed it, bison roll on their backs, scratch all those itches, spend time rubbing around.
Do I have a wallow? I want to say no, but then I’d be lying. Yes, I do have a wallow. More than one, likely. Mine consists right now of the added bonus of knee victim fall out. Because of the long-term recovery of the feet, my knees are starting to take a hit. Yikes. I do not want knee troubles. At all. When I get done with the feet, I do NOT want to begin with knees. I want to hike, backpack, walk and walk and walk. Eh-hem. My wallow.
My wallow may be like yours or you could have a completely different place you like to go to worry, complain, seek after the things of the world – let’s face it, anything that is not of God, pointed to God, promoting His glory, is of this world – when we wallow in that, we seek not God but ourselves and our comfort.
I have said it before and I believe it merits repeating: God is not interested in our comfort. He is interested in our sanctification.
He will do what it takes to get our attention on righteousness and not on the world.
Will we allow Him to do that?
Father God, please forgive me for seeking after the things of the world, some even disguised as benign things, and my focus on those things has robbed me of where I should really put my eyes - on You. I repent and ask that You would help me to seek You, Your righteousness and Your kingdom. I do accept the oil of joy You have just waiting to pour onto me. I'll take that smearing of oil because it's from Your hand and it gives me joy unquenchable. In the Name of Your Son Jesus, AMEN.