Those Darn Nose Flies - The Real Meaning Behind Psalm 23



Is there something in your life that is so frustrating that it keeps you awake at night? Are you really struggling and nothing will bring you peace? Sheep had something that caused them such fear that they even went crazy when these things were buzzing around. Just recently I have just heard a shepherds account of what anointing with oil really means in Psalm 23. It was to deal with these darn flies that used to cause misery for sheep. In Verse 5 we read the following:-




For me, I was not sure that oil on my head was something that thrilled me, but if it was part of the package then I suppose I would accept it! When a shepherd explained the meaning of the oil then it gave me a totally new understanding of what the oil means for the sheep. I found the information at http://www.antipas.org/commentaries/articles/shepherd_psa23/shepherd_09.html.


The Good Shepherd


23 David’s poetic praise to God

1 The Lord is my best friend and my shepherd. I always have more than enough. 2 He offers a resting place for me in his luxurious love. His tracks take me to an oasis of peace, the quiet brook of bliss. 3 That’s where he restores and revives my life. He opens before me pathways to God’s pleasure and leads me along in his footsteps of righteousness so that I can bring honour to his name. 4 Lord, even when your path takes me through the valley of deepest darkness, fear will never conquer me, for you already have! You remain close to me and lead me through it all the way. Your authority is my strength and my peace. The comfort of your love takes away my fear. I’ll never be lonely, for you are near. 5 You become my delicious feast even when my enemies dare to fight. You anoint me with the fragrance of your Holy Spirit;

(Other versions say He anoints my head with oil) you give me all I can drink of you until my heart overflows. 6 So why would I fear the future? For your goodness and love pursue me all the days of my life. Then afterwards, when my life is through, I’ll return to your glorious presence to be forever with you!


Just picture the shepherd taking the sheep out to a lush green paddock where everything was beautiful and green. Feed was in abundance, the temperature was nice and warm and life was perfect. Well, it was until a type of fly called a nose or nasal fly appeared and wanted to land on the moist nose of the sheep. Actually, the trouble was not that it landed on the nose of the sheep, it was that the fly would lay eggs on the nose of the sheep and these eggs would hatch into small, slender, work-like larvae. These small worms would make their way up the nasal passages and bury deep into the flesh causing inflammation and incredible irritation.

I hope you cannot even imagine how horrible this would be.




For relief from this agonizing annoyance, sheep will deliberately beat their heads against trees, rocks, posts, or brush. They will rub them in the soil and thrash around against woody growth. In extreme cases of intense infestation, a sheep may even kill itself. Often advanced stages of infection from these flies will lead to blindness.


Because of all this, when the nose flies hover around the flock, some of the sheep became frantic with fear and panic in their attempt to escape their tormentors. They will stamp their feet erratically and race from place to place in the pasture trying desperately to elude the flies. Some may run so much they will drop from sheer exhaustion. Others may toss their heads up and down for hours.


All this excitement and distraction has a devastating effect on the entire flock. Only the strictest attention to the behaviour of the sheep by the shepherd can forestall the difficulties of "fly time." At the very first sign of flies among the flock, he will apply an antidote to their heads. Some preferred to use a homemade remedy composed of linseed oil, sulphur and tar which was smeared over the sheep's nose and head as a protection against nose flies.

What an incredible transformation this would make. Once the oil had been applied to the sheep's head, there was an immediate change in behaviour. The sheep would start to feed quietly again, then soon lie down in peaceful contentment.


But summertime for the sheep is more than just fly-time. It is also "scab-time." Scab is an irritating and highly contagious disease common among sheep the world over. Caused by a minute, microscopic parasite that proliferates in warm weather, "scab" spreads throughout a flock by direct contact between infected and non-infected animals. Sheep love to rub heads in an affectionate and friendly manner. Scab is often found most commonly around the head. When two sheep rub together, the infection spreads readily from one to the other.




Today, it is time to come to God and have Him pour His oil over you. What could this oil mean? Here are some ideas:-


1. His oil anoints me for ministry.

His oil prepares me for the "good works" He has made you for. In Luke 4:18 we read what Jesus proclaimed about himself. Let that be a prayer for yourself today!:-


18–19 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, and he has anointed me to be hope for the poor, freedom for the brokenhearted, and new eyes for the blind, and to preach to prisoners, ‘You are set free!’ I have come to share the message of Jubilee, for the time of God’s great acceptance has begun.” Luke 4:18 TPT


2. His oil anoints us so we become holy.


In Exodus 40:9 we read:-


9 “And you shall take the anointing oil, and anoint the tabernacle and all that is in it, and you shall hallow it and all its utensils, and it shall be holy. Exodus 40:9


3. His oil brings healing to our body, both physical, spiritual and emotional. It is also used to cast out demons.


In James 4:14 we read:-


14 Are there any sick among you? Then ask the elders of the church to come and pray over the sick and anoint them with oil in the name of our Lord. James 4:14 TPT


In Mark, we read:-


13 They cast out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.

Mark 6:13



4. The oil anointing brings gladness beyond anything the people around us experience.


In Hebrews we read:


For you have cherished righteousness

and detested lawlessness.

For this reason, God, your God, has anointed you

and poured out the oil of bliss on you

more than on any of your friends.” Hebrews 1:9


5. His oil brings knowledge


When we have been anointed by God He brings us supernatural knowledge.


In 1 John we read:-


20 But the Holy One has anointed you and you all know the truth. 1 John 2:20



To come into the place of rest and blessing Psalm 23 talks about, it is essential to come to God and allow Him, through the Holy Spirit, to anoint your head with oil. To fill you with His Spirit so you can have:-

  • Anointing for ministry.

  • Anointing to become holy people of God

  • Anointing for healing and release from demonic attack

  • Anointing to bring a supernatural gladness to our lives.

  • Anointing to have knowledge from God


Come to God and allow Him to anoint you with His oil through His Holy Spirit. Let it soak over you and bring you every promise of Psalm 23. Only through coming into His presence and allowing Him to pour His oil over you will you experience all He has for you. Do not let those darn nose flies drive you crazy! His oil will bring you rest!



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He has rescued us completely from the tyrannical rule of darkness and has translated us into the kingdom realm of his beloved Son. Colossians 1:13. (TPT)

©2018 by Timothy Peden.