But You have exalted my horn like that of a wild ox; with fine oil I have been anointed.
I. A VERY BLESSED THING SPOKEN OF. Under this emblem the Holy Spirit is set forth (Luke 4:18).
2. It enobled those on whom it was poured. Constituting them prophets, princes, priests.
3. It invigorated and empowered for high service. This is especially true of the Holy Spirit (Luke 24:49).
6. Illuminating. (1 John 2:27.)
7. Sweetly fragrant. (John 12:3.) In all these and yet other respects did the holy oil tell of the blessed Spirit of God.
II. A VERY JOYFUL CONFIDENCE EXPRESSED. "I shall be anointed," etc. He does not say, "I hope;" but he is sure of what he affirms. Now, the grounds of this confidence are:
1. That it rested on God. He could not have spoken thus had it been resting only on man.
2. We are united with Christ, the Anointed One. "Of his fulness we all receive."
3. The Holy Spirit dwells within us.
4. The promises of God. So full, numerous, clear, strong.
5. The experience of God's people in all ages. Daily strength has been given for daily need. Therefore we may well believe the text.
III. AN INVALUABLE HELP TO OUR SPIRITUAL LIFE PROMISED.
1. It banishes fear.
(1) The fear of poverty. Israel, though they had only the day's supply of manna, did not fear for the morrow. Nor need we, for we know that, though the sun will set, there shall be light tomorrow.
(2) The fear of temptation. We pray, "Lead us not into temptation;" but in spite of that, we may be so led; but we need not fear - we shall be anointed with fresh oil.
(3) Of backsliding - that we shall fall away.
(4) Of great trials; if they come, it will be well with us.
(5) Of bereavements. We say, "What shall we do then?" But when one prop is taken, another is given.
2. It inspires glad hope. Of usefulness in Christ's service continued. Of full attainment in grace. Of strength sufficient for all need.
IV. A PAINFUL CONTRAST SUGGESTED. The godless have no such hope. All that sustains them is fast running out, and there is no further supply. What shall they do in the end thereof? They will have had their good things, and there are no more. - S.C.
But my horn shalt Thou exalt like the horn of an unicorn: I shall be anointed with fresh oil
(M. O. Evans.)
I shall be anointed with fresh oilActs 17:2), is ever craving for some new thing. And they will take immense trouble to gratify this craving. It is a proof in itself, were there none other, that the world has nothing really satisfying to offer. Its happiness is always "in the next room." Real freshness, newness of heart and life, the secret of perpetual youth is to be found alone in Him in whom "all things are become new." Now, of this freshness the psalmist speaks in our text. Let us inquire —
I. HIS MEANING. What is this oil? It is undoubtedly the type of the Holy Spirit. Now, this oil was —
2. Ennobling. Prophets, priests and kings were consecrated by it to their great offices. And those whom the Holy Spirit anoints are, now, made kings and priests unto God.
3. Invigorating, enabling. The Greek runners and wrestlers were anointed with oil, as it was supposed to give them strength and help in their contests. Undoubtedly it is so in the Christian race; this oil gives power for all we have to do or bear. The Church's crying need is power from on high. All human strength will fail to win a single soul if the power of the Holy Ghost is wanting. For instance of counterfeited power (Acts 19:13-17). Lay to heart Christ's words (Luke 24:49).
4. Uniting (Psalm 133:1, 2). Strife, anger, wrath — all depart under the influence of this anointing.
5. Gladdening. A joyous face is often a sermon in itself. Gladness of heart which shines out of us, whether we will or no, is no mean testimony to the presence of the Christ within. God wants us to be glad (Hebrews 1:9). If we are not, press the inquiry (Job 15:11).
6. Illumining and guiding (1 John 2:27). And —
7. Perfuming, fragrant. See the fragrance of Mary's alabaster box of ointment. And we are to be a sweet savour of Christ.
II. THE CONDITION OF THIS ANOINTING.
1. Union with the anointed one — Christ.
2. Abiding in Christ. If we walk after the flesh, this anointing cannot rest on us. "Upon man's flesh it shall not be poured." Are we in communion with Him now?
(E. W. Moore, M.A.)
I. IT WAS A CONFIDENCE FULL OF MEANING. For it meant —
1. That his strength would be renewed. It was a common belief amongst Orientals that anointing with oil added to a man's vigour. So David felt and knew that whenever it was required God would renew his strength.
2. That he should be afresh assured of the Divine favour. To anoint a man with oil was a token of his welcome to your house. His feet were washed that he might be refreshed, and then the guest worthy of especial honour was anointed with perfumed nard. David had the favour of God as a shepherd boy, he found it anew as a warrior, and he had yet other tokens when he became King of Israel. Every favour received is a pledge of more to follow. Dawn is the earnest of noon.
3. That he should be confirmed in his estate. It is noteworthy that David was anointed three times. First of all by Samuel, in prospect of his ultimately becoming king; a second time by the men of Judah, when he reigned over a part of the nation; and a third time at Hebron, when the whole Israelitish nation came together, and he was solemnly elected to be their king, Perhaps he recollected this, and looking upon these various anointings as confirmations of his kingly state, he felt that God would yet further confirm him therein. There were many rebellions against him, but they were all futile. Now, we are kings and priests unto God, and Satan, if he could, would soon bring our kingdom and priesthood to an end; but it is written, "Thou maintainest my lot."
4. That he should be qualified for his office by the bestowal of fresh grace. This was the meaning of the anointing whether of king or priest. This is a very sweet confidence for us. If you are a minister of the Gospel, you will have a thousand reasons for feeling yourself to be incompetent, and you might well throw down the staff of your pastorate, and leave work, if you were not sure that your sufficiency is of God.
5. That he should have more cause of delight. Anointing was intended to give pleasure. There are some now-a-days who would like to strike out everything from mortal life which gives pleasure. We have societies now which are anti to every mortal thing that is pleasant and agreeable, and if there remains one solitary enjoyment in this vale of tears which has not some society opposed to it, I have no doubt that some genius will commence a crusade against it to-morrow. The theory is that all wholesome things are nasty, and that all gratifications are deadly. Now, I do not believe in this theory for ordinary life, much less for spiritual life. Men used of old to anoint the heads of their guests to give them pleasure, and they were never blamed for it; and the Lord intends that His people should have the richest pleasure in their souls. He is the happy God, and would have those around Him happy. He never intended this world to be a great workhouse, a great drill shed, or a convict settlement, so arranged that labour should banish joy. He has made this world to be a happy lodging for His dear children till He shall call them home. I believe the Lord intended His people to be the happiest people under the sun. When I see certain of them repining, complaining, fretting, worrying, and calling that state of mind "experience," I pray, "The Lord save me from that experience." Our Lord Jesus was sorrowful not as our example but as our substitute; He was put to grief that we might be joyous; He bore our load that we might have no load to carry. We which have believed do enter into rest, and in that rest we discover new joys each day. The banks of the river, the streams whereof make glad the city of God, are not dark with weeping willows, or dreary with a jungle of thorns and thistles, but they are lovely with the rose of Sharon and the lilies of the valley, and among its shady groves the righteous lie down at peace. Yes, we did rejoice, we have rejoiced, and we mean to rejoice again.
II. THE CONFIDENCE OF OUR TEXT IS WELL GUARDED. When we rest in God we may boast as we will. I stood the other day by a spring, pleased to see it bubble up constantly with cool, refreshing water. One who came thither to fetch water for her house said to me, "It is always the same, sir, always the same; I never knew the sharpest frost to freeze it, or the most burning summer to dry it; the stream is equally full at all times of the year." This was very different from a fountain which I often pass, which more than half the year bears the notice, "This drinking fountain is closed during the winter"; and very different from those brooks in our own and other lands which live upon the rains, and therefore do not contain a drop of water in the time of drought. Why does the spring always remain the same? Because it has tapped the great fountains. There is a deep that croucheth beneath, there are vast secret reservoirs in the bowels of the earth, and if you can set them abroad, you are sure of a perpetual supply. Now, if you live upon God, you can say, "All my fresh springs are in Thee." And all this is so because of our union with Christ. Every Christian is a part of Christ. And because the Holy Spirit dwells in us. It was a good day for the poor widow of Zarephath in which Elijah came to live with her. If I had been in her case I should have felt that I was safe enough, for if God did not think of me He would think of Elijah. O, child of God, know ye not that ye are the temples of the Holy Ghost? Look, too, at the promises of God's Word. They are to me a gradual revelation. I cannot realize, grasp and understand them except by degrees. I have one for to-day, but I shall find another open for me to-morrow. The train which starts from London to go to the North continues to traverse the distance day by day — how is it supplied with water? Why, there are trenches between the rails in several different places, and from them the engine drinks as it rushes along; it is supplied as it runs. This is just what our Heavenly Father has done for you. You are on the road to heaven, but between here and there there are many stores of grace waiting for you. Our experience has proved that we shall be afresh anointed. We have been so many a time already. Changes are appointed for us as long as we are here. David said, "My mountain standeth firm; I shall never be moved," but in a very little time he sang another hymn. When I hear brethren so very confident I am reminded of a story I have heard of the olden times, when a young gentleman who had never travelled before went over Hounslow Heath, and was accosted by another gentleman who rode by his side and joined in an interesting conversation. Our friend said at last, "I have always been told by my father that this is a very dangerous heath, but the old gentleman, I think, was exceedingly nervous, for we have come all this way without being molested by highwaymen." "Yes," said the other, "but now is the time for you to stop and deliver;" and he clapped his pistol to his ear. It often happens when we say that we shall have no more temptations that our confidence is in itself a temptation. But when times of sore trial come the Lord has appeared for us.
III. THIS CONFIDENCE CALMS ALL OUR FEARS. Sometimes we are filled with fear on account of our soul poverty. Our text is the answer to it. I am poor, but I shall receive my daily pension. Imagine two Israelites talking together one day, and one of them says to the other, "Your cupboard seems to be very empty, I fear you are improvident." "But," says the other, "do you know, we gathered this morning an omer full of manna, and it exactly supplied my family. I have a wife and a troop of boys with mighty appetites, and very soon the omer which had been full was empty, but we look for more to-morrow." "Nothing in the house!" said the other, "do you not feel distressed? No, not at all." "Why not? Because I believe the manna will fall to-morrow morning, and that there will be just as much as I shall want, so that I have no need to lay by any in store." "Very imprudent," said the other. "I believe we ought to make hay while the sun shines. If you will come to my house, I will show you the good stock of manna which I have carefully laid by." "No," said the other, "I do not care to see it just now, but I will tell you what I will do; I will come down to-morrow at dinner-time and see it." So the man gathered in the morning his own manna fresh, and his family have been satisfied with it and delighted, and after they have eaten he says, "I will go down and see my rich friend's manna; he was much better off last night than I was." He goes to his friend's door, but his friend does not seem pleased to see him. "I have come to see your manna that you stored up so carefully." But the other blushes, and owns that he has none to show. " Why not?" his friend inquires. "Well, the fact is, I do not want you to come into my tent at all. I must come forth from it myself. There is a most detestable smell all through the tent. I had to take away the manna and bury it, for it bred worms, and stank." "Ah," said the other, "then, after all, I. did well to live upon daily manna, and to have no stock in hand; and you did foolishly to lay by a store." Beloved, it calms our fears about our poverty when we remember that the granary of heaven is not exhausted, and that as each morning breaks we shall find the dew of grace lying about our tent.
IV. AND THIS ASSURANCE TENDS TO RAISE OUR HOPES. AS to our holding on to the end, as to our useful service, as to full fellowship with Christ.
V. THIS MAKES US FEEL GREAT PITY FOR THOSE WHO CANNOT HOPE TO BE ANOINTED WITH FRESH OIL. Such are all those who are destitute of faith. The present may please you for the present, but there are evil times coming. It is a blessed thing to be so rich that there is no end to your wealth, and nobody can say that but a Christian. It is a blessed thing to have a stream at your foot, which will never fail; and nobody has such a river but a Christian. O the utter, utter poverty of the man who lives and dies without Christ. God grant it may not be so for us.
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
1. The conversion of man is effected through the influence of God's truth applied to the heart by the Holy Spirit. It is in the very essence of this process that the verities of Scripture impress themselves with such resistless energy over the whole man that he is compelled to yield to their influence. It is, however, the influence of Truth — reasonable, genial, and gratifying to its subject.
2. The subsequent growth in grace of the man who has become a believer is effected by the same Almighty and gracious influence. The Word of God is the nutriment of faith.
3. Nothing short of close personal dealing with the Spirit of God in prayer will maintain the proper influence of Divine truths over our understanding, our conscience, and our affections.
II. CHRISTIAN CONSECRATION IS THE ANOINTING OF THE SPIRIT. Great is the change made in the individual who is the subject of such consecration. The disciple who declares to the servant-maid, "I know not the man," is hard to identify with him who, on the temple steps, exclaims, "In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk." The result of such an anointing upon our Churches would be incalculable good; the growth of holy enjoyment, and the increase of holy usefulness, would elicit from all quarters of the land the joyful shouts proclaiming a present God, and wonders wrought by His power.
III. CHRISTIAN GLADNESS IS THE ANOINTING OF THE SPIRIT (Psalm 45:7; Hebrews 1:9). Gladness is the inheritance of the saints, and, in regard to it, we often need to be "anointed with fresh oil." Exhortations to joy are frequent in both the Old and New Testament. Joy is one of the foundations of the kingdom of grace in the heart, which is righteousness, joy, and peace. This holy gladness rests on the twofold basis of a firm, constant belief in the all-pervading providence of God, and a confident assurance of participation in His forgiving mercy, manifested in the Lord Jesus Christ.
IV. CHRISTIAN GRACES ARE THE ANOINTING OF THE SPIRIT (Galatians 5:22, 23). There is a legend which represents St. Francis as having looked so long and so eagerly on the body of the suffering Saviour, that the prints of the nails were reproduced in his hands, and the mark of the spear in his side. There is another legend, which affirms that Veronica possessed a napkin with which the Lord Jesus wiped His brow on the way to Calvary; which cloth was said to bear upon it a perfect representation of the Saviour's countenance. These fables have lying behind them an important fact — the assimilating power of communion with Christ (2 Corinthians 3:18).
(W. G. Lewis.)I. ITS EXCELLENCY.
1. In our devotions.
2. In our feelings. Whether it be exultation or depression, let it be true, not superficial or simulated.
3. In utterance Nature, pure and unsophisticated, is the best instrument for grace.
4. In labour. We ought to serve the Lord to-day with just as much novelty in it as there was ten years ago. I may even venture to say thirty years ago. Talk of Jesus as if you were telling news. Is it not always glad tidings, fresh from heaven?
II. THE FEAR OF ITS DEPARTURE.
1. Christian people can lose the freshness of their own selves by imitating one another. By adopting as our model some one form of the Christian life, other than that which is embodied in the person of our Lord, we shall soon manufacture a set of paste gems, but the diamond flash and glory will be unknown.
2. Another way of spoiling your freshness is by repression. The feebler sort of Christians dare not say, feel, or do, until they have asked their leader's leave.
3. If we want to keep up our freshness, however, the main thing is never to fall into neglect about our souls. Do you know what state the man is generally in when you are charmed by his freshness? Is he not in fine health?
III. HOPE OF ITS RENEWAL. Let us not think that we must grow stale and heavenly things grow old with us.
1. For, first, our God in whom we trust renews the face of the year. He is beginning His work again in the fair processes of nature. The dreary winter has passed away. The time of the singing of birds is coming on, and the sweet flowers are peeping out from their graves, enjoying a resurrection of glory and beauty. Now, this is the God whom we serve; and if we have been passing through our winter-time, let us look out for our spring, if any of you have been growing cold of late — if any of you have grown stale and mechanical, and have fallen into ruts, come, took up: look up, and pray the great Renewer to visit you.
2. Moreover, there is an excellent reason why you may expect to have all your freshness coming back again: it is because Christ dwells in you. Do you not know it? Christ is formed in you the hope of glory; and, if so, your glory will be fresh about you, for He never grows stale. It is God that said of Him, "Thou hast the dew of Thy youth."
3. Then there is the other grand doctrine of the indwelling of the Holy Ghost. If your bodies are the temples of the Holy Ghost, shall He not be always to you a fountain of new life — a spring of fresh delights? Why, it must be so.
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
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