Sunday, August 12, 2012

Psalm 23: My Good Shepherd anoints my head with oil

1. Lesson (based on Psalm 23:5b)
  • HOOK:
    • How do you welcome important guests to your house? We shake their hands, greet them, introduce ourselves. (Ask the children to demonstrate with a partner the way they would welcome their guests.)  
    • Do you know how people in different cultures greet each other? (Act it out and get kids to imitate) 
      • Japanese:  greet each other with a bow from the waist with palms on thighs and heels together. A bow ranges from a nod to a 90-degree bend at the waist. The longer and lower you bow, the more respect shown.
      • India: touch the feet of the elderly, e.g. grandparents
      • Brazil: kiss two times on each cheek
      • Cambodia: put two hands together in front of you. The higher the hands, the more respect shown. 
      • During Jesus’ time, it was customary for the Jews to show honor and respect to their guests by anointing their head with oil, kissing them and washing their feet. When Jesus came to Simon the Pharisee’s house, he did not get any of this special treatment (Luke 7:46). But a “sinful” woman came to anoint Jesus’ feet with the most expensive perfume she had and washed his feet with her tears and hair.
  • In Psalm 23, David says, “You anoint my head with oil.
    • Why would a shepherd anoint a sheep’s head with oil?
      • Bugs: Sheep hate bugs, such as flies and lice. They like to travel up the sheep’s nose and lay eggs in their nostrils. The eggs will hatch into worms that can travel up to the sheep’s brain. This will cause great distress to the sheep, and they will keep banging their heads to try to get rid of the irritation. The constant banging can cause death. The shepherd pours oil on the sheep’s head and nose so that the flies would slide out instead of flying in. 
      • Fights: Sheep usually will butt heads with one another to show dominance. Sometimes this causes injuries to the flock. To minimize harm, the shepherd will put oil and grease their heads so that if they clash, their heads will glide off each other without doing much harm. 
      • Cuts: Sometimes if the sheep do get injured, whether by fights or anything else In the great outdoors, the shepherd will add oil to the wounds to help it heal faster. 
      • A good shepherd anoints His sheep because they are important to him. He honours them individually and marks them as His own.

  •  What does this mean to me? 
    • We are anointed
      • The Good Shepherd anointed us, put His seal of ownership on us, and gave us His Spirit (2 Corinthians 1:21-22).
      • Jesus anoints us with His Holy Spirit. His Spirit is in you. His Spirit who lives in us teaches us about all things (1 John 2:20,27). 
        • The Holy Spirit is a sign, a badge, that shows the world that God honours us as His special people, set apart for Him. 
        • Because the Holy Spirit is in me, I have His:
          • Peace
          • Favour and
          • Healing in my life
      • Because of this anointing, we do not have to fear any evil. People may try to bug us, pick a fight or hurt us, but they can’t touch us because we are His special, honoured children. We can stand tall as His beloved child.
    • My Good Shepherd gives me peace 
      • Every day, we may encounter rude people, bothersome comments, pesky accidents. They cannot harm us with their words or deeds. Because of the Holy Spirit in us, they do not get into our heads and cause negative thoughts (anger, fear, bitterness etc). 
      • We have Jesus’ peace. We can tell Jesus, “Please take care of all these.” We can focus on Him and give Him our problems.
    •  My Good Shepherd gives me favour with others 
      • When we know Jesus, His life and love flows in us. His favour is upon us! So much so that even our enemies will make peace with us. 
      • Even when we meet people we cannot stand, much less love, we can let Him love them through us. Just tell Him, “Lord, I can’t stand this person. Please love him/her for me.”
      • Psalm 133:1-2 How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head …
    •  My Good Shepherd heals me 
      • When Jesus was on the cross, He hung there and took all our sins and all our sicknesses. By His stripes we are healed — physically, emotionally spiritually.
      • Sometimes our friends may say things to hurt us. Our parents may scold us. Our teachers may speak to us harshly. We may fall sick. But in all these things, we can look to the cross, where Jesus took it all.
      • Our Good Shepherd, Jesus, is attentive to all our wounds. Nothing is too small or insignificant to Him. He cleans the wound, pours healing oil on it and heals it.
      • If you are ever in pain, just tell Him, “Lord Jesus, I thank you that you took away my pains and hurts and sicknesses on the cross.”
    • Our Good Shepherd anoints us with His Holy Spirit because we are important to Him.  
    • His Holy Spirit gives us peace, favour and healing. 
  • Conclusion: 
    • So far, in our journey through Psalm 23, we’ve learnt that we have a Good Shepherd who:
      • provides everything we need
      • invites us to rest in Him
      • gives us new life
      • guides us along the right paths  
      • is with us through the darkest valleys
      • protects and keeps us safe with His rod and staff
      • prepares a table for us in the midst of our enemies
      • and anoints our heads with oil.

2. Suggested Activities
  • Memory Verse with actions:  Psalm 23:1-5 (Spend time going through the earlier verses with the children)
    The L
    ORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,

    He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.

    Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
    your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

    You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies,

    You anoint my head with oil
  •  Pray for each child and anoint their head with anointing oil.

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