What You'll Discover in this Episode:

You Anoint My Head with Oil

The Lord is our Sheperd but he's also our Wonderful Counselor. This is what divides the world of counseling. In the Kingdom of mankind, man becomes an expert on men and learns about psyche, sociology, psychology and antrophology to try to figure out what makes men tick and come up with theory and most of the time, contradict one another.

As biblical counselors, we study the scriptures from God's perspective to get to know the human heart, understand sin, and understand how people live and react to God. In the Kingdom of God, He is the ultimate counselor. He uses as instruments of His counsel. 

In Psalm 23, we find that He is our sheperd (as in the last two studies). See Episode 83 and Episode 84. 

The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
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;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.

In verse 5-6, we depict an image of a sheperd anointing the injured or needy sheep, in such a way that it overflows with blessings. When we walk in the fullness of the Holy Spirit, that's the remedy for you as the instrument in the Redeemer's hand. 

The remedy is so simple - WALK IN THE SPIRIT and you will not fulfill the desires of the flesh. You won't be anxious, troubled, lose sleep.

We're all troubled and anxious. From time to time, we trek through this valleys of despondency and yet, we know the remedy. Our Sheperd is the remedy to anoint us with oil and we overflow rivers of living water within our hearts.

What is the importance of this verse as we seek and give counsel? Join us and let's dive deeper. Listen to this episode and join the conversation below!

  • Scroll down and leave your comment below!
  • Psalm 23:1-6
  • "You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
    You anoint my head with oil;
    My cup runs over.
     Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
    All the days of my life;
    And I will dwell in the house of the Lord


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  • Not only does the Great Shepherd bring comfort through His discipline and guidance, but He sets a table for me. The table is the place where we receive nourishment and strength to to His will. He anoints my head with oil to the point of overflowing. This is a picture of the filling of the Holy which will overflow even to our enemies. As we follow the leading of the Holy Spirit He gives us two more companions, goodness and mercy. These two will enable us to give good instruction to those who need it. We will remind others that we have an eternal dwelling with our Shephard That is also available to them. What the world offers is only temporal and without eternal benefits. What a beautiful picture of how our good shepherd watches over us, and the effects that overflow to others.

    • That right, i always repeat ” goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life” and i shall dwell in His house forever” It reminds me that God is always with me and nothing can separate His love from me. And yes we can encourage others of How Gods mercy and goodness worked in our personal life.

      • That’s child-like faith we can all have Luis! The kind the Lord wants to find in His children. What a lighthearted but profound encouragement it is to declare over and over to yourself, ‘Surely Goodness and Mercy will follow me all the days of my life!’ It will be good to teach young kids we disciple, to playfully recite this verse, and the rest of it, ‘and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever’….

        • Thank you Angelical, My Pastor who planted most of Calvary Chapels here in Eastern Washington would have us repeat psalm 23 after every service. I have also read the book A Sheppard look at psalm 23 by Keller it’s really good

    • I like that picture that He gives us goodness and mercy as companions. “What the world offers is only temporal and without eternal benefits.” This is an amazing point because when people are weak and broken down it is often in this place that they are in such despair that they would turn to what the world might have to offer and yet had they just continued on God may have just gotten them right where they wanted to be. It may have been the difficult situation that would be used as a means to get that person where He needs them. It is a good way to look at times and seasons that may become disillusioning– to know that turning to the world might be short-circuiting not only our lives on earth but also having no eternal value. This shows how imperative it is to help restore people’s hope in the eternal reward of continuing on with Jesus or repentance or just being faithful or trusting God. Thanks for the great reminder!

    • Love that image from Spurgeon about the two companions being like two loyal dogs, close by us, escorting us. And amen Harry- reminding us that these companions also enable us to give good instruction to those who need it.

    • Such simple but meaningful illustrations. I can easily visualize “The table” as being a symbol for a gathering place, a place to receive nourishment and strength.

  • What a great example of the Holy spirit working on peoples life’s. When i must depend on the Holy Spirit to do his work on others being counsel, I will remember of my own experience. How life transforming it was when the spirit first fail upon me. Then how the bible spoke to me with Gods own words. They continue to work on me by renewing my mind and trusting his promises. How can I keep this life changing experience to my self its full of hope for everyone. Mercy, and a new life for the new believer and knowing God for the Christian. Then he brought up evangelism, I saw this as another privilege. By listening we can discern if the person has been save. Then we can ask the question “will you dwell in the house of the Lord forever?” if they have doubts we can insure their Salvation.

    • Good words Luis. The grace and mercy extended to us is such that when we receive it is practically impossible to keep to ourselves. We almost have to work overtime dwelling to disobedience to not share it with others.

    • I like that you brought up the point about the renewing of the mind “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2 It is only through the renewal of the mind that apparently we can walk in His good and acceptable will. This just shows how absolutely imperative we seek and give good counsel to help aid people to get to a renewed mind. It goes to show how important our mind is and how the only way for it to be renewed is for it to be anointed with oil. I just love how strengthening the Word is and proves the Sufficiency of Scripture for counseling needs.

    • Hi Luis, you are absolutely correct! Evangelizing is a privilege and as well as an honor. I enjoyed reading your testimony and about the transforming power of the Hold Spirit in your life. Thank you for sharing. Blessings!

    • A fresh anointing is what we seek daily, and when we see the transformation He does in us, we can’t help but praise and glorify Him because we know we are not worthy or deserving of it. I also reflected on my own experience with this podcast and it brought tears of gratitude to my eyes.

  • “We study the scriptures from God’s perspective to get to know the human heart and understand sin and how people live and react to God… so in the kingdom of God, God is really the Counselor.” I am thankful for this insight. I love that in Psalm 23 He is our Shepherd. Why should we fear no evil? He is with me. Anointing my head with oil– a picture of our Shepherd anointing a needy sheep. I enjoyed how you said the best thing to tell people who come in for counsel is to pray and read their Bible’s every day. I think that is an amazing point that you just never know when God is going to dramatically save lives because you brought up the example about the couple who seemed like there was absolutely no hope and yet the Holy Spirit was poured out on their situation and turned things around. Also the point that people need hope. I know that hope is the expectation of coming good and yet with some of the trials people go through for such long stretches of time, I know it can bring people to despair. I am so glad Jesus is not only our Counselor but also our Shepherd. When we walk in the fullness of the Holy Spirit; that’s the remedy. You won’t be anxious, troubled, losing sleep etc.. I like how the oil is a picture of being anointed with the Holy Spirit.

  • I have been loving the teachings each week on Psalm 23! First, hearing that my Shepherd’s Goodness and Mercy are following me is so encouraging. Of course I have heard this before but the way Pastor Jeff broke it down, was a fresh look at these words. It really drew a picture in my mind of God’s pursuit of me and each of his precious sheep. Second, I picture in my mind the sheep huddling close to the shepherd, looking for comfort and protection. That is where I want to be. Right by my Shepherd! Third, I have a couple of people in my life that have a difficult relationship. I really needed the reminder that the Holy Spirit needs to anoint people and situations and that seemingly hopeless cases are not hopeless because what these people need is for the Spirit of God to come into the relationship. That is going to be my fervent prayer for these people that I love, for the Holy Spirit to come and rescue them from the mess of sin and selfishness.

    • Audra wasn’t that an amazing testimony Pastor Jeff Saw the Holy Spirit transform two hopeless life’s. Something that would have taking a 100 counseling’s sessions. And I can see your vision God pursing us by calling us near to him. Second is us taking the Step of faith to respond to Him drawing us near to the shepherd

      • A very good reminder about the couple, Luis! Pastor Jeff was showing us the power that is in the Holy Spirit, from the moment He uses us to lead, as the Good Shepherd leads those in need, towards the only answer to life issues and the source of life Himself. As we study to become biblical counselors, it’s worth noting that, ‘it’s ‘not up to us’ but, the Holy Spirit at work, as in the couple in Pastor Jeff’s story. The Holy Spirit is fulfilling a dual purpose, as we set out to refresh others through Him, we get refresh ourselves.

    • Hi Audra, I agree with you 100%. I love hearing about the sheep huddling close to the Sheperd. It was very beautiful and it stirred in me to draw near to my shepherd. Thank you for sharing. Blessings!

    • I agree that this is one of the best podcast yet. I loved the encouragement and the insight in the hopeless cases! I too picture myself as a sheep looking desperately for my shepherd and feeling so safe being next to him. Great comment!

  • I have likened this class and Pastor’s teachings as the comfort and counsel Psalm 23 brings daily since we started school three weeks ago. I’m not finding the usual monotonous grind I did in secular schools. Each of Pastor’s podcast, each chapter of Bob Hoekstra, and especially each verses in the Bible assigned to study, elevates our personal knowledge of the only One who loves us like no other. In Psalm 23, we see and feel as David, the refreshing, restoring, overwhelming love of the the Good Shepherd and Wonderful Counselor. It is as David says, ‘ the Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want’. He is all we need.

    • Very true and a great reminder..that spending time in God’s word and getting to know him is always treasured time and never wasted. reminds me of my proverb this morning which talks about the riches of seeking wisdom, “listen, for i will speak of excellent things, And from the opening of my lips will come right things. proverbs 8:6

    • I have also been experiencing what you mention in your comment. It has been a bit of an adjustment for me because secular college can be very cold and disconnected in its academics. With Pastor Jeff and the biblical counseling studies we recieve the green pasture nourishment and daily anointing of the Holy Spirit that is so much greater. It is an awesome opportunity we have to study to be counseled and give counsel to others.

  • This podcast was a great reminder about the power of the Hold Spirit in ours lives. When we take the focus off ourselves and seek the Lord out in the word, consistent prayer life, worshipping on a regular basis, and serving the body of Christ we can’t help but experience the transformational power that happens in our lives.
    It was wonderful to hear about the importance of sharing the gospel to those who are seeking counseling. This is a very crucial in counseling in order to have healing, restoration, and to have lives change for the better (Isaiah 53:5, 1 Peter 2:24). The reminder that we are just his vessels and not the source of power takes the burden off us as biblical counselors. We need to be bold and loving in sharing the gospel to those who are lost. Thank you Pastor Jeff for this message. Blessings!

    • I don’t think I’ll ever get enough of being reminded that we’re “just His vessels and not the source of power”! It’s something I have to come back to again and again, and absolutely it eases the burden. Praise God that He is the source of all true counsel.

    • I agree Michelle, this podcast was a great reminder about the Holy Spirit at work in our lives. When we allow Him to work in our heart. It can be so easy to get side tracked if we take our eyes off the Good Shepherd and let our circumstances control us. Seeking the Lord, being in prayer, and serving the Lord are all things we need daily to keep from allowing the life let downs and circumstances have control over us. It is so comforting to know also that it isn’t up to us to fix anything or anyone because we don’t have that ability but the Good Shepherd does all we need to do is share the Good news with those who are lost, We plant the seed and God does the rest in His timing. impossible for us but not for Him.

  • As we navigate 2020 and this pandemic, dealing with worry, fear, and anxiety, our remedy is the great Shepherd. When we walk in the fullness of the Holy Spirit, then out of our hearts flow rivers of living water! This combats our flesh and instead fills us and refreshes us with life. This is so important for me as a counselor, and also for the one receiving counsel.
    I love what Jeff shared about the couple he counseled who seemed beyond repair and appeared such a hopeless case. Praise God it’s not up to you or me, it’s a work of the Spirit to bring healing and restoration. And yet, there was a responsibility on Jeff’s part to share truth with this couple, resulting in repentance and change. Just a reminder for me that I can’t transform lives, but I carry that responsibility and privilege to point people to the One who can.

    • Great words Rachel. I remember two couples who went through some serious problems. One couple got right with each other and with God. The other couple separated and divorced. Both received Godly counsel. The second couple just refused to put away the flesh and yield to the Holy Spirit. True change comes when we yield to to leading of the Holy Spirit.

    • Hi Rachel, that is very true, I loved that testimony of the couple too, there are too many marriages do not make it these days, but i am thankful that God is for marriage and wants to see them restored and succeed! as with individual lives too.

    • Rachel, I found your points to be spot-on! The Holy Spirit is the transformer, we are the sign-post pointing others to their need for Jesus. When I have encountered difficult cases, I too have wondered, how is this going to work out? I was wrong to see it from my limited human abilities instead of God’s unlimited resources and miraculous power to save. Is there anything too hard/difficult for our God? (Genesis 18:14, Jeremiah 32:17,27) As Pastor Jeff alluded to, it is foolish for sinful people to act as an expert on other sinful people. We need help from outside of our fallen condition; from the One uncorrupted by sin and mighty to save.

    • Thanks for sharing Rachel, I agree I can’t change or restore relationships but i find such great honor, and comfort, to be able to share with others the only one who can do all that. The great Shepherd allows us to share with others the only thing that can bring fulfillment and change lives and that is trusting and giving every thing to Him who has the ability by abiding in Him. Psalm 23 is definitely a great thing to use because it covers everything the Good Shepherd will do for us if we allow Him to by surrendering and trusting in Him.

  • I absolutely loved the the picture of Psalm 23 being our walk in life. As I reflect in my own walk of life so far I see it clearly. Lying down in green pastures, beside still waters He has refreshed my soul. He has been with me through the valley of the shadow of death, and with Him my fears have disappeared. As He anoints my head with oil daily, I am so grateful for His mercy and grace over my life. It gives me so much comfort to know one day I will be and dwell in the presences of my Father forever. It brings me so much joy to share this with those in need this picture, this scenery and this comfort. I can’t think of a better way to counsel.

    • Ericka, Psalm 23 definitely paints a beautiful picture of our relationship to the LORD. Everything we could ever need is supplied by our shepherd. He goes before us and knows exactly where the green pastures and still waters are found. All the sheep really need to do is remain close to him and know his voice as John 10:27 states, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” Like sheep, we can have confidence in a world of wolves because He is with us and for us. This is great counsel indeed.

    • Hi Ericka, thank you for sharing your heart and being vulernable. I praise god that you have experienced the Lord’s love and refreshing power in your life. Blessings!

  • This psalm ends perfectly, even after he guides, leads, and is around us as our shephard, God also protects us around our enemies. setting tables before us. Our enemies in life can be many, and there are many powers and principalities and people out there can be out to harm us, but God is always working.. He anoints our head with his spirit, and fills our minds with the truth… in addition we don’t deserve mercy and goodness but he sends it our way as his children anyway.. God is good.

    • Hi Leslie! I was looking at those words when Pastor Jeff was speaking. “He prepares a table for me in the presence of my enemies.” I really thought about what a beautiful picture that is. God demonstrates his love for us publicly, beautifully, flourishingly.
      Thank you for mentioning this section. It really struck me also.

    • Leslie, you are so right in that there can be so many different people and circumstances that come against us. Life is so much easier knowing that our Shepard is working on our behalf. To protect us from our enemies and to provide for us.

    • Hi Leslie, I also focused on the part of scripture about the setting of the table in the presence of my enemies. The first thing I thought of was peace. God is the God of peace and wants us to have peace but not just stop there!  To me this shows me that yes, He came for me, to protect me, to look out for me, to provide for me yet at the same time, He is also offering Himself to bring peace to someone against Him.

  • I am loving this journey through Psalm 23. I can sometimes read past this great passage because of its familiarity. The Lord as a shepherd immediately places me in the position of a lowly, dependant, and aimless sheep. The world loves to use the term “sheep” as an insult, but it should comfort us instead. It means that the LORD is our source of sustenance, comfort, and guidance. As long as we stay close to the shepherd we will be safe, fed, and loved.

    This week, Pastor Jeff reminded us of the anointing that the shepherd would apply to the sheep. I once heard from my local pastor that this would help ward off bugs and keep sheep from injuring themselves when they came into conflict with one another. I love how the oil; the Holy Spirit of God, keeps us free from the pests of this life and in the right relationship with each other. We definitely need to walk in the Spirit, or we will fulfill the lusts of our flesh.

    • David, yes so often the ways of the world will demand of us to be prideful and “self-sufficient” but in the reality of being a Christ follower, we are to do the exact opposite. We are likened unto sheep, needing to be dependent on our Shephard.

    • That’s an awesome message that your pastor drew from the passage. I notice in my own life that the Holy Spirit helps me ward off all the pests of my flesh and this world. And you are spot on in your comment about us being sheep. The Lord speaks the truth in love, and the truth is that we are sheep. He needs us to see ourselves as we truly are before He can come alongside to shepherd us.

  • I hadn’t connected the dots of this passage until Pastor Jeff mentioned the parallel of the oil as the Holy Spirit. What an awesome message and illustration! It is also convicting for me because David didn’t have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit like we do as church-age believers. We can really walk in the *fullness* of the Spirit. The flesh and the valleys can be so dark sometimes, but the victory given to us through the renewing of the Spirit is promised. This is a powerful psalm to use in our counseling. I pray God uses us to boldly share this awesome psalm to everyone we counsel.

  • That was a good reminder to be bold in the truth, to tell people the direction of Sin and Death and to open that door that Jesus is available for their salvation. I think it is easy to focus on the goodness of Christ, and to forget to mention the truth of Sin and Death, but people are capable of understanding, and I think I led on to believe that they aren’t. Just like small children, I know they can understand more than I can be led to believe because they aren’t as developed as a teen. And to be anointed. I never really understood the whole “anointing” thing, I have much to learn about it for certain, but to hear that it is for healing is different. I enjoyed hearing the explanation of it in this podcast. To know that I, in my own relationship with Christ, have been healed. And to think, He Spiritually anointed my head with oil? He has blessed me far beyond what my cup can bear, and I am forever thankful and full of His joy.

    • HI Kayla,
      I agree with you that the truth of sin and death is not spoken or taught enough in our church culture. This is a very sad and heartbreaking for our world. This is a truth that has be shared because that is one of the working of the Holy Spirt. Without it we would not be able to know forgiveness of sins and receive healing. Thank you for sharing. Blessings!

  • It is so comforting to know there is a wonderful Shepherd who is always there to comfort us, no matter what. All we need to do is surrender everything to Him and allow ourselves to be Spirit led instead of circumstance fed,
    I know for me especially lately when I let my circumstances try and dictate how I feel it’s so easy to forget about the comfort of the Wonderful Shepherd who just wants me to believe and trust in Him. and He will fill me with His peace, and His comfort. instead of dwelling on self and my circumstances which brings worry, fear, anxiety, doubt.
    I have really been struggling this last week allowing my grief and this pandemic and everything else to guide me and I have procrastinated all week, today I sat down and remembered the only thing I need to focus on is the Good Shepherd and His truths, and I can say the warm I got from redirecting my focus and focusing on psalm 23 really filled my heart with so much comfort knowing the Good Shepherd is here to comfort and guide me and His grace and mercy will get me through until the day I go home to Him and I will be with Him forever.
    I can’t even put into words how much this psalm spoke to my heart to fill me with God’s peace and comfort to actually get up and be productive instead of just dwelling in my circumstances. I can honesty say it’s not easy to let the Spirit lead you but it definitely is worth the peace and comfort you will feel, as you trust in Him instead of the chaos you feel by allowing your situations and circumstances to control you.

  • I find it so interesting that Psalms 23:5 says: “You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies…

    As a former soldier, the idea of having a feast in the presence of my enemies is not something that I would feel very comfortable with. I would be concerned with letting my guard down and being vulnerable. Before sitting at the table of a feast I would want to wash up, change out of my battle clothes, clean and store away my weapon. All things that under my own protection and strength I would never do in the presence of my enemies. Perhaps that’s part of the message that David was sharing.

    Walking with the Great Shepard means you can let your guard down, washup, and be vulnerable even in the presence of your enemies.

  • You Anoint My Head with Oil:

    Psalm 23:5-6

    In taking more time to ponder on these scriptures, I made time to picture what this might look like. Preparing a table before me in the presence of my enemies? That sounds to me like I have just been in a place or situation where I am needing to defend, fight, or protect myself against an enemy. But then God puts a table before me, which seems to me that I can see if ahead of or in front of where I am at! He knows where I am at, He is with me while I am going through everything and wants me to know that He is my Comfort & Provider and will take care of me and I have the choice to go to Him. This is the wonderful hope that God gives.

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