Monday, January 9, 2006

An Unexpected Anointing for Wisdom

Let the righteous strike me;
It shall be a kindness.
And let him rebuke me;
It shall be as excellent oil;
Let my head not refuse it.
(Psalm 141:1-5)
A hit on the head is not much fun; receiving a rebuke is not much better. But do not discount the wisdom and anointing you might receive by such means. King David, a man after God’s own heart, understood the value of a well-placed rebuke.

“Let the righteous strike me, it shall be a kindness.” A righteous man is one who is right and just in his dealings. He seeks the kingdom of God and God’s way of doing and being right, and everything else is added to him (Matthew 6:33). He is a wise man, for he stands in awe of God, and that is the beginning of wisdom.

“Let the righteous strike me,” says David. “Let him smite me, hammer me, strike me down.” Why? Because “it shall be a kindness.” The Hebrew word for “kindness” is hesed, the same word used for the covenant mercy, love and faithfulness of God. It is a manifestation of divine love — tough love, real love, faithful love. “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful” (Proverbs 27:6).

“And let him rebuke me, it shall be as excellent oil.” The semantic range of the Hebrew word for “rebuke” includes to reprove, judge, convict, correct, dispute, argue, decide, reason. “’Come now, and let us reason together,’ says the LORD” (Isaiah 1:18).

It is wonderful to have people who will cheer us on with sweet tones and pleasant sayings. But what we really need are friends who will love us enough to speak a difficult word, a needed correction, an honest criticism.

“It shall be as excellent oil; let not my head refuse it.” Such a rebuke is actually oil upon the head—that is, it is an anointing. Isaiah described the power of the anointing as that which removes burdens and shatters yokes (Isaiah 10:27, particularly in the KJV).

David’s response to rebuke: “Let not my head refuse it.” When someone rebukes or corrects or criticizes or judges you, there is a decision you must make: to receive or refuse it. If you refuse it, you may well be hit with it again at a later date (and let us hope that is so—often known as a “second chance”). But if you receive it, it will be a kindness that will do you good, an anointing that will set you free. Yes, there may be some things in it that are not for you, but there may be much that is.

Even a fool may unwittingly do you a favor by rebuking you. Though he does not have your best interest at heart, and his words may sting mercilessly, there might still be a kernel of truth in them that will improve your life, or even set you free.

Wisdom and anointing may come from unsuspected places. Do not refuse the rebuke of any man who walks in awe of Yahweh. It may be just the thing to launch you deeper into your destiny.

(See also Repentance is a Wonderful Thing)