Psalm 23:1,5b-6 – The Lord is my shepherd; I lack nothing. You spread a table for me in full view of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my drink is abundant. Only goodness and steadfast love shall pursue me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for many long years. (NJPS — New Jewish Publication Society translation)
The book, A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23, indicates that one way a shepherd tends sheep is to place pesticide on the animals to prevent parasites and insects. Sheep may worry to death or experience disease from such sources. W. Phillip Keller, the author, said that the line, "You anoint my head with oil", pictured for him the Lord's way of pest control for us.
Our pets that go outside and live inside are prone to fleas in the summer. Thankfully, we found a veterinary pesticide. It is applied once per month on the skin between the animals' shoulder blades. The chemical stops fleas from living in any phase of their life cycle. A few drops of a clear liquid prevent much scratching, skin irritation, and disease.
All this set me thinking about the "fleas" that disturb me, like worry and fear. I was reminded of the pesticide provided for us in the New Testament (italics mine):
1 Thessalonians 5:18 – In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (NKJV)
Philippians 4:6a – Be anxious for nothing. (NKJV)
1 Peter 5:7 – Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. (NKJV)
To habitually use God's "in everything give thanks" pesticide requires me to remember and apply the instructions from Scripture many times per day. The oil from His Word is powerful and effective to stop worry, fear, envy, and other joy-in-life-stealing notions. When I am alert to give thanks in everything, the result is often laughter. Giving thanks casts the care on God and brings freedom from worry.
How about you? Any pesky, irritating disturbances today? May I recommend God's "everything pesticide"?
Prayer: Father, in the name of Christ Jesus, our Lord, we ask to live fully using all the freedom He provided for us with His death and resurrection. May we clearly demonstrate for others the benefits of being sheep in Your pasture. We want Your kingdom to come and Your will to be done. Amen.