I have to admit; I always wondered what this part of Psalm 23 meant. Until a few years ago, I thought “He anoints my head with oil” was a figurative language for God keeping the Psalmist healthy. Here’s some of what I found written by Dr James Rasbeary:
At certain times of the year, great clouds of flies, mosquitos and other insects would attack the shepherd’s flocks. These horrid little insects like to torment sheep by laying eggs in their nostrils, which turn into worms and drive the sheep to beat their head against a rock, sometimes to death. Their ears and eyes are also susceptible to tormenting insects. So the shepherd anoints their whole head with oil. Then there is peace. That oil forms a barrier of protection against the evil that tries to destroy the sheep.
Many a Christian has avoided ravenous wolves only to fall to the little things of life that irritate, frustrate, or cause infection. The little foxes spoil the vines, and it is often the “little things” that cause many Christians to lose heart, to get discouraged, or to get upset and offended at people. These little fleshly issues give birth to grudges, fights, and trouble within the church. Like sheep who are irritated & infected by tiny bugs, these little things are why so many Christians are irritated, unhappy, joyless, frustrated, and upset.
Do you have times where worrisome thoughts invade your mind over and over? Do you beat your head against a wall trying to stop them? Have you ever asked God to anoint your head with oil? He has an endless supply! His oil protects and makes it possible to keep your heart, mind, and eyes focused on Him today and always! There is peace in the valley! God is good, and He is faithful!!
So the next time you read Psalm 23:5, I hope that you will remember this image and know that our Lord anoints us with His oil and He is our healer.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over