Oil of Joy!
"You love righteousness, uprightness, and right standing with God and hate wickedness; therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness above Your fellows. Your garments are all fragrant with myrrh, aloes, and cassia; stringed instruments make You glad" -Psalm 45:7 - 8.
The English Standard Version says the following:
"You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions; your robes are all fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia. From ivory palaces stringed instruments make you glad."
As my knowledge of Biblical oils grew, I began to fathom the true meaning of joy. I discovered a marked difference between joy and gladness. Joy is permanent; gladness is short-term. I can have joy despite unfavourable circumstances, but gladness depends upon temporal, everyday conditions.
In verse 7 of Psalm 45, David proclaims Jesus as the One Whom God, His Father, anointed with the oil of joy. Verse 8 records the actual ingredients: myrrh, aloe, and cassia. It shows how costly true joy is; that true joy is part of Jesus? anointing; that true joy cost Him everything! On close examination, we see that each of the oil?s components symbolizes specific facets of joy.
Myrrh: Once again applying it to Jesus, it becomes evident that one ingredient of joy meant that He had to die (myrrh as a balming ointment).
Do you remember when you felt emotionally dead, lost, and insignificant in the greater scheme of things? That is the myrrh in the oil of joy, in which Jesus went before you, telling you two things:
- I understand what it means to die to your own self.
- Now you possess one of the fundamentals of joy!
Aloe: This plant, Lignaloe, grows in
What an amazing portrayal of Jesus, Whose public ministry started at age thirty; Whose body became extremely scarred.
Have you been praying for some time - perhaps even for thirty years? Have you been waiting for the answer to your prayers? Do you feel that God has forgotten you? Do you know the pain of words whipping across you? Has life beaten you up? That is the aloe in the oil of joy, in which Jesus went before you, telling you two things:
- I understand the seasons of waiting, the thirty-year delays. I know how painful your wounds are. You are not alone.
- Now you possess one of the fundamentals of joy!
Cassia: The tree that produces this oil only grows at extreme altitudes. Its drooping lilac blossoms portray someone submitting to the opinion, wishes, and judgment of another ? as we see in the perfect submissiveness of Jesus. (Read Philippians 2:6-8).
Have you been falsely accused? Have you been forced to submit in silence to gross injustice? That is the cassia in the oil of joy, in which Jesus went before you, telling you two things:
- I know how it feels to submit meekly. I know about every humiliation you endure.
- Now you possess one of the fundamentals of joy!
Do you see yourself in these three elements? Then God has been anointing you with His oil of joy, covering you with Jesus!
Numbers 8:10 states, ?Then [Ezra] told them, Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet drink, and send portions to him for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. And be not grieved and depressed, for the joy of the Lord is your strength and stronghold.?
My own version of the latter part is, ?Do not grieve, for the joy the Lord gives you, makes you strong?.
A woman once confided to me that she had felt uncertain of this verse for a very long time, as she hardly ever experienced any joy. How could it make her strong, she argued, and besides, why did the Lord not grant her the joy she so earnestly desired?
Finally, she took her questions to the leader of her Bible study group. Their discussion went straight to the heart of her struggle. She had been labouring under the false impression that it was supposed to be her own joy, albeit coming from the Lord, which had to strengthen her. She was wrong: this was NOT about her joy ? which she had little of in any case.
It is the joy of the Lord, i.e. HIS joy, not hers or mine or yours. HIS! After all, according to Psalm 45:7, Jesus is the only One anointed with the oil of joy above us, His companions.
An American worship leader, Ray Hughes, put it beautifully. He posed the question, ?What gives God joy?? The answer is, ?Your praises, your total worship.?
Your praises, your total worship becomes His joy ? and becomes your strength!
The most significant question arising from this is whether you and I may lay claim to Jesus? anointing with joy. I found the answer to that in ?The Alabaster Box?, the story of my dear friend Annette Ettinger.
?Annette Ettinger?s ...life was filled with emptiness, despair and broken marriages. Abuse, coupled with a broken heart, eventually took her to the streets and a life of prostitution. But one day Jesus met her face to face, writing her name on the ground with His finger! He spoke deliverance, cleansing and freedom to Annette, saying, ?Go and sin no more.? Annette?s life was forever changed. The Scripture is confirmed that one who is forgiven much, also loves much!
While in a period of deep prayer and intimacy with the Lord, she began smelling the sweetest myrrh she had ever smelled. During this time of intimacy, the Lord spoke to her heart a passage from Song of Solomon 1:13 which says, ?My beloved is to me a sachet of myrrh resting between my breasts.? Overwhelmed with a sense of His manifest presence, she knew the Lord was revealing He had a fragrance of His own! From that point forward, the Lord began to pour out revelation within her concerning the prophetic significance of these oils.?
One chapter of her book speaks of what the Lord revealed to her about the oil of joy.
"For years we have said, "I want to talk like Jesus, walk like Jesus and be like Jesus." Wouldn't you love to SMELL like Jesus? Doesn't your heart desire to carry the fragrance of heaven? ---I knew without a doubt, the Lord was revealing that He had a fragrance of His own! I was then directed by the Lord to Psalm 45, which says, ?Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated wickedness, therefore God, Thy God, hast anointed Thee with the oil of joy above Thy fellows. All Thy garments are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia.? He showed me scriptural proof that He indeed has a fragrance!"
We often say a scent reminds us of someone. People have even composed songs and poems about smells.
What do you want to smell like?
My Story of Joy
Because of my music ministry, I wanted to find songs that verbalized this joy. In my search, I came across numerous Scriptures connecting joy with dancing.
This is how The Message records Psalm 45:8.
"Your ozone-drenched garments are fragrant with mountain breeze. Chamber music (from the throne room) makes you want to dance.?
I recognized that one particular expression or style of praise springing from exuberant joy, is dancing. Clearly, David is the perfect role model!
?And David danced before the Lord with all his might, clad in a linen ephod [a priest?s upper garment]. So David and all the house of
This was a profound revelation at the exact moment when I needed it most. In Psalm 30:11 David says that the Lord changes our mourning into dancing.
?You have turned my mourning into dancing for me; You have put off my sackcloth and girded me with gladness?.
For more than a year, I ministered on the oil of joy, combining my teaching with song. It was so amazing to sing and dance with assorted audiences, despite all the difficulties many of them were experiencing. Then I, too, had to learn this lesson.
In December 2007, my father was hospitalized with critical heart, lung, and kidney failure. I already had January 2008 booked to record the CD of dance music for my Psalm 45 ?Oil of Joy? teachings.
The Holy Spirit led me to cancel the booking ? and the reason for it was clear.
?First finish the dance with your father. Then you may dance with Me.? I was deeply touched by the way He stepped aside to wait, always the perfect Gentleman.
For seven long weeks, we watched my father weakening. We were always on standby for that final phone call from my mother. Recording the CD completely slipped my mind.
Suddenly, one Monday morning, the Lord inspired me with a fresh concept. The CD was to be an instrument of praise, not a recording to highlight me as artist. It had to be music to which anyone could privately dance with God.
Inspired by this new vision I made last-minute arrangements for my recording. It would take at least a week to complete the paperwork.
The next day the Lord spoke again.
?I am preparing you to dance with ME!?
That was all ? but it was enough. I knew...
Five days later, I received the final paperwork and quotes. Everything was set; I only had to pay the studio.
Twelve hours later Daddy went home to go and dance with Jesus.
The next week we ran the whole gamut of arranging the funeral, of crying, remembering, of saying goodbye. That was when I fully grasped Psalm 30.
?I shall change your mourning into dancing??
?Of course,? I suddenly realized, ?the time for mourning IS the time for dancing?. I thought my time of mourning first had to pass; then I would be able or want to dance again - but no! I finally understood! This was the time for dancing!
I promptly contacted the studio to confirm my booking. While faxing the proof of payment, I clearly heard the Lord speak.
?Now you have paid the full price. Now you understand joy. It?s an anointing for the time of affliction. It?s an anointing which only flows from suffering. Right now, in this time of grief, I?m asking you, ?Will you dance with Me? Nowis the time!?
To know joy, is to know what it is not.
Joy is not fleeting. I do not generate joy. Joy belongs to God and HIS grace grants me it.
?The joy of the Lord is my strength? -Nehemiah 8:10.
Sheet music always bears a certain sign to indicate the tempo or time, pace and rhythm of a dance; even the type, whether it is a waltz, a tango, or a cha-cha.
The tempo of the dance of joy, however, depends on the time of your suffering. Pain often is the sign that it is time to dance ? the dance of joy!
Are you dancing yet?