By Brooke Keith
“And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, “This shall be a holy anointing oil unto me throughout your generations.”
Anointing oil as an act of prayer and faith is a practice that is deeply rooted in the legacy of Israel and its people. Moses anointed the tabernacle, consecrating it and all inside to God. Samuel anointed David in his journey to becoming King. Jesus Himself and His closest twelve reached forth their hands to heal the sick and preformed great miracles.
But despite the deep and holy history of anointing oil, the question is posed time and time again- is this ancient form of blessing just that… ancient?
Our modern world moves forward. Tradition is lost. We find new ways to do old things. Technology from just months ago already deemed outdated and tossed away for new editions. This is the plight of the human spirit. As a world, as a people, we are all determined to move forward, go higher, dream bigger, to rewrite the old and create in its ashes a new thing.
In addition to our quest to upgrade the old is the quest to make sense of it all. Job was a prime example of a man determined to make sense of his life and everything in it. Job was a faithful man who trusted God in all things. But after the loss of his wife, children and livestock… after he had been stricken with an illness and painful sores broke out all over his body he found himself asking God what we all do from time to time. “Why? God, help me make this all make sense.”
But God comes back and answers Job in a way that he probably never expected. A modern re-telling might look a bit like this. “Job, do you know how I formed the world? What it took to get those trees to grow down and up all at once? What the heartbeat of the ocean sounds like? Were you there when I hung the stars in the sky one by one? I’d love to tell you why… But I don’t think you could ever understand. You’re just gonna have to trust me, Job.”
Though Job’s question was complex, it is much like the question that leaves many wondering if anointing oil has lost its place in our world today. Did using oil to anoint someone even make sense? Weren’t words enough? What could oil possibly do to change things? Perhaps that was just it. Oil didn’t change things. Not the oil itself. Instead, it was the complete and utter relying on God that did. The act of pouring oil on someone’s head seemed so out there that you’d have to be greatly obedient to God to even try it. The secret was in the obedience. The secret was in the action of saying “I trust you so much I’ll do this thing that seems so strange. I’ll trust you, Lord.”
Even in a world that is constantly moving forward, the history of the Bible beckons us to return to Israel, not by physical journey but by the breaking open of the oil and the pouring out of our hearts. To do so in obedience, to do so even though we can’t make sense of why except that we have some-kind-of-faith in the God of Moses, in the power of Jesus, that we can’t help but trust in His promise.
But Webster’s Dictionary defines ancient as this… “Having existed for a very long time.” And that’s exactly what our God has done, alive since before the dayspring of time, the same yesterday, today and forever. Not “I was” or “I will be” but I AM, God never changes and it’s only in this constant state of ancient beauty, in trusting God with the things that don’t make sense, imploring Him to come to us and bless all that we need, it is these things that move us forward. It is the unchanging character of God that changes us.Share this page with your friends
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