A Lesson From Sheep Dipping
"...thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over." Psalm 23:5b
Our family has made several road trips these past weeks. We'll be making another one this week, too. On these trips, we get to observe lots of sheep in the fields and on hillsides.
On our latest trip, all the sheep we saw on our cross-country drive were freshly shorn. It's the time of year when they are herded into pens and their wool is clipped off. After this happens, the shepherds have to "dip the sheep." For this purpose, some use large barrels and some use wooden structures, depending on how many sheep they have and how big they are.
It's kind of sad to watch because the sheep don't understand the process or the purpose. They usually fight the shepherd - kicking and wiggling - so the shepherd has to wrestle them tight and shove their head into the solution.
It's important that the entire body of the sheep be submerged in the solution, which is a mixture of some kind of oil and water, meant to protect the sheep. The oil has healing ingredients for any cuts or open wounds from the shearing. It also keeps them from being bitten by insects, and the odor deters predators.
This reminds me of how we often react when the Lord takes us through a process we don't understand so He can anoint our heads with oil. Sadly, we are often like sheep, fighting or resisting the process. We end up delaying (or possibly missing) many good things He has for us. Either way (easy submission or the struggle of wrestling with Him), nothing can thwart His plans for us. They are always for our good and our protection (Romans 8:28). I have learned one of the good things about getting older: you learn to fight Him less.
Help us not to resist when You want to "anoint our heads with oil" because it is then that our cups are made full.
by Coleen Jejeran, Missionary to Romania