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Psalm 23 (I Am Not Alone)

This week we will be singing a new song based on Psalm 23, written by a group called People and Songs. There is great joy in singing words based entirely on the Psalms.  Paul tells us to do this very thing in Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16. The Psalms connect our hearts to thoughts and expressions of praise which are given by God to His people through the psalmists.  However, one challenge in singing the Psalms is to understand how certain concepts relate specifically to us so when we sing them.  To help us prepare our hearts to sing this song, I want to address one section of the song and provide the biblical ground for us to sing the words rightly before God and others.  The two lines I am particularly interested in are found in verse 1 of the song.

Verse 1
The Lord is my Shepherd, He goes before me
Defender behind me, I won't fear
I'm filled with anointing, my cup's overflowing
No weapon can harm me, I won't fear

What should we mean when we sing “I’m filled with anointing” and “No weapon can harm me”? Let me take each phrase at a time and explain what we should mean when we sing these words. 

I'm filled with anointing, my cup's overflowing

This phrase comes from Psalm 23:5 which says, “you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” When David says these words, he is referring to the anointing he received from God to be king of Israel. This anointing symbolized God’s anointing to fit a prophet, priest, or king for the service to which he was called.  So, to be filled with anointing, like David, means we are fitted by God for the service to which he has called us. Is this a special anointing in a moment of service or a permanent one? Is this particular to certain people or universal to all Christians? To answer that question, I want to point to 2 New Testament texts,

“But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge….the anointing that you received from Him abides in you…” 1 John 2:20 & 27

“And it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has anointed us, and who has also put His seal on us and given us His Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.” 2 Corinthians 1:21-22

Notice that both of these passages speak of a past anointing that is permanent.  Both of these passages also point us to what that anointing is.  1 John 2:20 & 27 shows us that it is “by the Holy One” and “abides in” us. 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 shows us that it is the Holy Spirit given to us.  Paul compounds metaphors of anointing, sealing, and giving to show that he is speaking of the gift of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, when we sing, “I’m filled with anointing” we should think on the fact that we are filled with the Spirit of God.  We should be reminded that we are sealed with a guarantee and His Spirit lives within us (which the song will sing later).  Let’s quickly examine the second phrase.

No weapon can harm me

This phrase takes the concepts of Psalm 23:5-6 which speak of security and joins them together with Isaiah 54:17, which says, “no weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed.” Can we sing this with confidence? Especially when we have the testimony of martyrs who have gone before us. What should we mean when we sing this?  I think our answer comes from Romans 8:31-39.

Beginning in Romans 8:31, Paul asks “If God is for us, who can be against us?” and then asks, in Romans 8:35, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?” In other words, can any kind of weapon separate us from Christ’s love? To which Paul says, in Romans 8:37, “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.”

This tells me that we can confidently sing “No weapon can harm me” by knowing that nothing separates from the love of Christ. You see, we can and may receive tribulation, danger, and even the sword, but those things cannot ultimately harm us because we are swept up in Christ’s love and will be for all of eternity. 

So sing these words on Friday and sing them confidently, knowing that we are anointed with the Holy Spirit and no weapon will ultimately be able to harm us.  Here's the full song:

 

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