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Oil of Gladness

I’ll never forget hearing the story of when a pastor friend of mine was in Africa on a mission trip. He was with a team ministering and holding services in the villages. He shared a memory about a particular Sunday service when it was time for the offering. Rather than passing a bucket or plate and people casually or reluctantly giving, the local people used the center aisle and proceeded toward the offering plates, dancing in enthusiastic joy with their gifts. He explained that these people had nothing, hardly any earthly possessions, lived on dirt floors and experienced day-to-day dependency on the Lord; yet, they gave wholeheartedly and generously to the Lord in joy.

This is revelation. This is gladness instead of mourning.

It is actually quite common for the African culture to incorporate dance into many ceremonial events. Even so, it is quite profound. In American culture we are so easily dissatisfied and reluctant to give the Lord our all. If and when we do, we can tend to do it through sorrow and a sense of loss. We hold back. I’m always deeply impacted by people who can be living in the hardest of circumstances yet exude joy. They are living testimonies and full of Holy Spirit fire.

Here is the picture in Isaiah 61:3 (TPT):

“ strengthen those crushed by despair who mourn in Zion — to give them a beautiful bouquet (a crown) in the place of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of tears, and the mantle of joyous praise instead of the spirit of heaviness. Because of this, they will be known as Mighty Oaks of Righteousness, planted by YAHWEH as a living display of his glory.”

On display for God’s glory.

If there is anyone ever who was set apart and on display for God’s glory, it was Jesus. Jesus is described in the Bible as a man “full of many sorrows yet acquainted with grief.” Yet in Hebrews 12:2 it says that, “for the joy set before him, he endured the cross.”

It was the joy that sustained him. Remember how the verse goes, "the joy of the Lord is your strength" (Nehemiah 8:10).  I might propose that it was the gift of the oil of gladness that revealed the beauty of God's plan to Jesus. He found the strength to endure the darkest of paths through the deep and profound joy that was within Him, which could have only been given by God.

Ultimately, Jesus endured the cross, but then on the third day was raised up from the dead and seated at the right hand of God!! There is no greater news than this. He is the author and finisher of our faith and writes our story. What may feel like the end is not the end!

One of my favorite phrases is this: “If it’s not good, then God is not done with it yet!” He makes all things good in His time.

Loved ones, our good, good Father offers a magnificent substitution for our despair. When we look to Him, He promises to bring heaven to us. A crown, joyful oil, and a mantle of praise. He provides comfort, healing and peace that passes the understanding of the circumstances that afflict us.

The oil of gladness also brings revelation that allows us to see life through a heavenly lens and lifts us above what is happening. I believe there is a direct connection the the oil of gladness described in the above text and the infilling of the Holy Spirit. The Bible is clear that a fruit of the spirit is Joy!

Friends, may we ask daily for the gift of the Holy Spirit and the anointing of oil that He offers. May He guide us, comfort us and give us steadfast joy that confounds our human logic in how we respond to life’s hardships. We will be known among the people as mighty pillars of strength, oaks of righteousness on display for the glory of our good, good Father!

Your Friend,


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