Daily Devotional ThoughtsPsalm 23:5b-6With thoughts borrowed from Phillip Keller’s A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23.Monday - You anoint my head with oil.You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. (Psalm 23:5b).Many examples of anointing with oil abound in Bible times, but this Psalm concentrates on the parallels between sheep and their shepherd and between human beings and their Shepherd. With that in mind, let’s learn from Phillip Keller’s perspective.Perhaps the greatest source of irritation for sheep in the beautiful days of summer is the vexation of various parasitical insects who seek to draw nourishment from the sheep or lay eggs in their mucous membranes or elsewhere. Warble flies, bot flies, heel flies, nasal flies, deer flies, black flies, mosquitoes, these are just some of the parasites that drive sheep wild. Some of these pests lay eggs that hatch into worm-like larvae that burrow into the flesh causing tremendous irritation and inflammation.Severe infestation can cause blindness or cause the sheep to become so frantic it will can injure it self or even die as a result of it’s frantic, headlong rushes to escape the aggravation. The shepherd’s remedy was to rub the sheep’s nose and head all over with oil saturated with ingredients which kept the insects and parasites away.Once the sheep’s head was “anointed” with oil the irritation and devastation were kept at bay and the sheep could rest. To be effective, the oil had to be applied on a consistent basis To find parallels in our human experience are easy aren’t they?Constantly we are beset by irritations that can cause ultimate death. Whether it is overt temptation to do wrong, or just little things with tragic eternal consequences we need the precious Oil of God to shield us from the evil buzzing all around us. Oil, as you know, often represents God, the Holy Spirit bringing healing and protection and conviction of sin and comfort and restoration. Thank God for the anointing oil of His spirit.Tuesday - My cup runs over.You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. (Psalm 23:5b).Once we allow God to anoint us with the oil of His Spirit we should be satisfied with His care. Truly our cup runs over with goodness, our lives overflow with the benefits of being under The Good Shepherd’s care.Our God is all powerful, He never sleeps, He is always available and He always has our best interest in mind. When we allow Him to deal with the frustrations, temptations and tragedies of our lives we can live with quiet, restful contentment. We can “be content with such things as [we] have. For He Himself has said, "I WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU NOR FORSAKE YOU" (Hebrews 13:5).Because our lives overflow with God’s care and goodness we should be joyous, grateful and serene. The cup of God’s goodness runs over!Wednesday - Your goodness and mercy follow me (Part 1).Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever (Psalm 23:6). Throughout the study of this Psalm continuous emphasis has been put upon the care exercised by the attentive sheepman. . . . Now all of this is summed up here by the Psalmist in one brave but simple statement: “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life”!The sheep with such a shepherd knows of a surety that his is a privileged position. No matter what comes, at least and always he can be perfectly sure that goodness and mercy will be in the picture . . . . Goodness and mercy will be the treatment he receives from his master’s expert, loving hands. . . .It is very simple to speak this way when things are going well . . . . but what about when one’s body breaks down? What do I say when I stand by helpless, . . . and watch a life partner die by degrees under appalling pain? What is my reaction when my job folds up and there is no money to meet bills? . . . .These are the sort of times that test a person’s confidence in the care of Christ. . . . When my little world is falling apart and the dream castles of my ambitions and hopes crumble into ruins can I honestly declare, . . . “Surely--goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life”? . . . .As I see all of this in retrospect I realize that for the one who is truly in Christ’s care, no difficulty can arise, no dilemma emerge, no seeming disaster descend on the life without eventual good coming out of the chaos. . . . His goodness and mercy and compassion t o me are new every day. And my assurance is lodged in these aspects of His character. . . . My serenity has as its basis an implicit, unshakable reliance on His ability to do the right thing, the best thing in any given situation. “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. . . . .” (Phillip Keller, A Shepherd Looks At Psalm 23, pp. 110-112).Thursday - Your goodness and mercy follow me (Part 2).Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever (Psalm 23:6).“Just as God’s goodness and mercy flow to me all the days of my life, so goodness and mercy should follow me, should be left behind me, as a legacy to others, wherever I may go” (Ibid, pp. 112,113).As we have learned in our study of Psalm 23, mismanaged sheep ruin and ravage their pasturage almost beyond reclamation. However, when properly managed, they can turn desolate and pathetic land into beautiful parkland. This occurs because their manure is highly beneficial and enriches the ground tremendously. Since they eat a wide variety of herbage well-managed flocks leave flourishing fields and rich abundance behind.The question we must now answer is, What do we leave behind after we are gone? Phillip Keller asks: “Do I leave a trail of sadness or of gladness behind? . . . . Do I deposit a blessing behind me or am I a bane to others?” (Ibid, p. 114).My goal is to live so full of God’s goodness and mercy that not only will those who come behind find me faithful, but they will find great blessings, overflowing in the paths I walk. “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life. . . .”Friday/Weekend - I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever (Psalm 23:6).Today we complete our brief devotional study of Psalm 23. We have just barely scratched the surface of this great poem. As you know, many of the thoughts I’ve shared have come from Phillip Keller’s “A Shepherd Looks At Psalm 23.” I highly recommend your purchasing this book and doing your own, in-depth study of the Shepherd Psalm.This great poem ends with the bold statement: “I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever!” Keller writes: “Here is a sheep so utterly satisfied with its lot in life, so fully contented with the care it receives, so much ‘at home’ with the shepherd that there is not a shred of desire for a change” (Ibid, 118).So, my friend how is it with you? Are you dwelling in the house of the LORD? Are you serenely contented with God’s care and provision for you? Are you boasting of God’s goodness to others? Friend, if you are going through the good times right now in your life, this is the time to let your roots go down deep into His goodness. Now is the time to develop your walk with the Shepherd. If, on the other hand, you are going through the difficult times, now is the time to stay with the Master! Dwell in His house forever! The Good Shepherd knows what He is doing. He knows what is best for you. Stay with Him and you will never regret it.