Surge of Joy
Pastor Terry Inman
In 1966 Mustangs, Beatles, Beach Boys and Bat Man helped ease the pain of an unpopular war in Viet Nam, race riots across the nation, and violent campus demonstrations. 66 was also the debut of Star Trek on color TV the first disposable diapers and mini-skirts! It was my first year in College.
It didn’t take me long to meet Mary Blakeley and fall in love. It did take me a while to figure out what I was doing at a Bible College. Some people called it Bethany Bridal College!
One-night major questions kept me awake. Who am I? Why am I here? What am I supposed to do with my life and will Mary be my wife?
I got out of bed, jumped in my 66 Volkswagen and headed for a back road in the Santa Cruz Redwoods. In the middle of the night, I pulled into a dead-end road, parked the car and opened the sunroof.
I literally cried out to God for some answers. I desperately needed some direction. While I was praying I opened my bible. The full moon, shining through the open roof, lit up a passage of scripture.
“You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.” (Psalms 45.7 NIV)
Earlier that fall I had enrolled in Bethany only a month before school. That summer I attended a youth camp service on the same campus. The message really penetrated my heart and changed the direction of my life.
Dr. Rick Howard spoke on Romans 8.1 “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.”
I spent several hours on the floor that night overwhelmed by the Father’s love for me. I few days later I decided to change my plans for a business major at San Jose State University and subsequently enrolled at Bethany.
Now on campus I was wondering why? What was ahead of me? What did God want me to do? Where was life taking me.
At first glance I didn’t fully understand the tear soaked verse that had fallen open on my lap. But I knew it had my name on it. It would become a calling and a life theme.
After a little research I discovered it was originally written for King David’s coronation. It even included a reference to his marriage and his family.
David was a shepherd. He was a man with a heart for God. He was righteous and he was into justice. He certainly wasn’t perfect, as we know. At one point he even forfeited His throne and was later restored.
God did however choose to bring his own Son into the world as a successor to David’s royal throne. This verse is repeated in the New Testament in the book of Hebrews, this time in reference to Jesus.
About the Son he says, “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever, and righteousness will be the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.”
Heb. 1.8-9 NIV
Kings in those days were called shepherds. If they were good ones they were righteous, and governed justly. They did the right thing and took good care of the people. There were good ones and there were bad ones.
Both Ezekiel and Jeremiah rebuked the unrighteous shepherds who used and abused the people they governed “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Woe to the shepherds of Israel who only take care of themselves! Should not shepherdstake care of the flock?” (Ezek. 34.2 NIV)
Jesus came as a righteous shepherd. “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.”
(Is. 40.11 NIV)
It was not completely clear to me at the time but in the middle of the night on that mountain in Santa Cruz the Father was calling me to be a shepherd. He was even hinting at a companion shepherdess. You can read the rest of the Psa 45 where it talks about his bride and his sons.
I’m not David. I’m certainly not Jesus and we need to be very careful pulling scriptures out of a hat to make them say what we want.
I’ve never aspired to a throne of any kind but I can certainly identify with the theme of this passage and especially what I have learned about it.
Actually we are all called to share in the shepherding heart of Jesus!
So let’s take a closer look at this description of ministry.
You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.
Psa 45.7 NIV
Love for God is a love for all that is righteous, ethical and equitable. It’s a love of justice. It is also a disdain for all that is wrong. Wickedness is iniquity, perversity or moral evil. It is not good deeds but misdeeds.
God elevates the person that loves right and hates wrong. David was chosen above his brothers to serve as King because of what God saw in His heart. He wasn’t perfect but he was repentant. God anointed Him!
My Father was a Pentecostal, Missionary, Evangelist and Pastor. To be “anointed” as I understood it, meant you preached powerful messages under the influence of the Holy Spirit. But is there is much more to it.
The origin of anointing was from a practice of shepherds. Lice and other insects would often get into the wool of sheep, and when they got near the sheep's head, they could burrow into the sheep's ears and kill them.
So, ancient shepherds poured oil on the sheep's head. It made the wool slippery, making it hard for insects to get near the sheep's ears because the insects would slide off. Unfortunately for some, anointing looks slick.
So anointing became symbolic of blessing, protection, empowerment and healing. In Psa 23 says, “You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.”
The New Testament Greek word for “anoint” means “to smear or rub with oil” To consecrate or devote one for office or religious service.
In the Biblical era, people were anointed with oil to signify God’s blessing or calling. They were anointed for special purposes—to be a king, to be a prophet, a priest or even a builder. In Exodus 29 Aaron and his son were anointed to serve as priests. In Exodus 40:9 several items in the Temple used for worship were even anointed with fragrant oil.
The apostles anointed people with oil as a complement to healing prayer.
James 5.14 says,
“Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord.”
The oil itself does not have inherent power--only God can anoint a person for specific purposes. If we use oil, it is only a symbol of what God is doing. Oil is also a biblical metaphor for the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
Another meaning for the word anointed is "chosen one." Jesus the Christ, “the anointed one”, is the Messiah.
“God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him.” (Acts 10.38 NIV)
Jesus revealed himself as the “anointed one” in his hometown synagogue. He stood up and read his job description from the Prophet Isaiah 61.
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,because he has anointed meto preach good news to the poor.He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisonersand recovery of sight for the blind,to release the oppressed,to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”Luke 4.18-19 NIV
After Jesus left the earth, He gave us the gift of the Holy Spirit. Now all of us are anointed, and chosen for a specific purpose in furthering God's Kingdom. “You have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth.” (1 John 2:20 NIV).
Now the part of this life verse that the Lord used to get my attention is the final expression “the oil joy”. “God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.”The oil that was used for anointing purposes was often fragrant and used on festive occasions.
In fact the bible says, “Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for it is now that God favors what you do. Always be clothed in white, and always anoint your head with oil. Eccl. 9.7 NIV
Sounds like a party too me. The only other place we see this expression “Oil of Joy” is in the follow-up verses of what Jesus quoted in Isa 61-The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, Because the LORD has anointed Me...
To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD,
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,
To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.” (Isa 61.1-3 NIV)
Healing from brokenness--freedom from bondage and the favor (acceptance) of the Lord…This is what real joy is all about?
I have had the opportunity to bring this message of soul healing and spiritual freedom all over the world. The results have been dramatic especially among the poor and oppressed in third world nations. (here)
Jesus came to pour joy into peoples lives. Religion can be oppressive.
Happiness is external and temporal. Joy is internal and eternal. It ‘s not based on circumstances or even health or wealth.
David said, “You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound.” (Psa. 4.7 NIV)
Simply put Joy is being filled with the personal presence of God. Psa. 16.11 says, “You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joyin your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”
When David sinned against God committing adultery and murder--what he missed the most was the joy of God’s presence. In His classic prayer of repentance in Psa 51 twice he asks for God’s joy to return.
“Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.” (Psa. 51.8 NIV) “Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.”
Psa. 51.12 NIV
Joy is evidence that we are full of God presence through His Holy Spirit!