“Now I know that the Lord saves His anointed; He will answer him from His holy heaven with the saving strength of His right hand. Some boast in chariots and some in horses, but we will boast in the name of the Lord, our God. They have bowed down and fallen, but we have risen and stood upright. Save, O Lord; may the King answer us in the day we call.” (Psalm 20:6–9, NASB95)
“Anointed” means to be specially set apart for service as in the case of the priests and kings of Israel. The root of the word means to smear, anoint, spread a liquid, consecrate. David was anointed as king by Samuel at the instruction of God, just as Samuel had anointed Saul before him. When Samuel was a young boy, his mother who had promised to lend her son to God for service (1 Samuel 1:24-28), brought young Samuel to Eli the priest after he had been weaned. Scripture records for us her prayer when as yet Israel did not yet have its first king.
“And Hannah prayed and said, “My heart exults in the Lord; my horn is exalted in the Lord. My mouth derides my enemies, because I rejoice in your salvation. “There is none holy like the Lord: for there is none besides you; there is no rock like our God. Talk no more so very proudly, let not arrogance come from your mouth; for the Lord is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed. The bows of the mighty are broken, but the feeble bind on strength. Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread, but those who were hungry have ceased to hunger. The barren has borne seven, but she who has many children is forlorn. The Lord kills and brings to life; he brings down to Sheol and raises up. The Lord makes poor and makes rich; he brings low and he exalts. He raises up the poor from the dust; he lifts the needy from the ash heap to make them sit with princes and inherit a seat of honor. For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and on them he has set the world. “He will guard the feet of his faithful ones, but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness, for not by might shall a man prevail. The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces; against them he will thunder in heaven. The Lord will judge the ends of the earth; he will give strength to his king and exalt the horn of his anointed.”” (1 Samuel 2:1–10, ESV)
She closes her prayer with, “He [God] will give strength to his king and exalt the horn of his anointed.” And this was the praise of David in Psalm 20 when He again had seen God’s deliverance. God had proven Himself to David, and David knew for sure the power of God to deliver. It was in this that the people of Israel were to rejoice. It was not their own might, but the power of God. It was not in their own ability to withstand, but God who made them to stand, and God had made them so that they could stand straight.
Jesus Himself, we read was anointed. We read that He was anointed by God with the Holy Spirit and power at the time of His baptism, and we read that He was anointed with expensive oil by one of His followers for death. In Matthew 3:13-17 we have the record of His baptism, and in Acts 10:37-41 we have commentary on this event.
“You yourselves know the thing which took place throughout all Judea, starting from Galilee, after the baptism which John proclaimed. You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. We are witnesses of all the things He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They also put Him to death by hanging Him on a cross. God raised Him up on the third day and granted that He become visible, not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen beforehand by God, that is, to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead.” (Acts 10:37–41, NASB95)
In these verses we read that Jesus had been empowered by the Spirit to fulfill as God-man the purpose for which He was sent by the Father, and we know that He did this fully. As Jesus neared the end of His ministry, two days before the Passover and His arrest, we find Mary (the sister of Martha and Lazarus) moved to bless Him with the best she had, to which the others were caught off guard. We read, “While He was in Bethany at the home of Simon the leper, and reclining at the table, there came a woman with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume of pure nard; and she broke the vial and poured it over His head.” … “Let her alone; why do you bother her? She has done a good deed to Me. For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you wish you can do good to them; but you do not always have Me. She has done what she could; she has anointed My body beforehand for the burial. Truly I say to you, wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her.” (Mark 14:3, 6–9, NASB95)
While David had been set apart and anointed to lead God’s people in life, Jesus here was anointed to die. From ages past God had ordained that He would send a Savior for His people and in so doing He would bless all the nations. Jesus, the Son of God, is the One set apart to do this work on our behalf. And as we read the Bible we see that He fulfilled perfectly the mission which only He was qualified to do and for which He was sent.
King David had seen God deliver His people from aggressors. We have seen the King of kings deliver us from all of our sins and deliver us to eternal life.
In 2 Corinthians the apostle Paul, sure of His calling from God, wrote, “Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God, who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.” (2 Corinthians 1:21–22, NASB95) The first several times I read this I thought of the special call that Paul and those with him had in bringing the gospel message. And as I continued to reread it I read, “…He who establishes us with you in Christ….” His comment includes “us,” all of us, as those who have been set apart and sealed and given His Spirit as a pledge of His faithfulness and a hope of things yet to come.
In 1 John 2, in view of the end times, we read, “The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever. Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour.” … “But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know.” … “As for you, let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. This is the promise which He Himself made to us: eternal life.” … “As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.” (1 John 2:17-18, 20, 24-25, 27, NASB95)
John is writing to tell believers in these last days that things are going to get worse, but not to become dismayed by the struggles and the spread of evil. Rather he points to the special anointing that we all have as those saved by Christ and sealed by the Holy Spirit. He points to the sure knowledge that we have about salvation and the truths of God’s Word. He points to the Spirit who resides in us to make these truths alive in us. This anointing is not a smearing of oil on the head, but one that results from the shedding of blood. This anointing is a living one, and one in which we are to daily abide. If you have trusted Jesus Christ for your salvation you have a living hope, an anointing by God which is absolutely true.
It is not that no one can teach us more of God’s truth, but that God’s truth is complete and man has nothing to add. His Spirit testifies to this and in that we can daily hope. Our God is faithful to finish that which He started. He is our Deliverer and living in us is the certainty of that hope in His Spirit.
In that we can stand with David and loudly proclaim,
“Now I know that the Lord saves His anointed; He will answer him from His holy heaven with the saving strength of His right hand. Some boast in chariots and some in horses, but we will boast in the name of the Lord, our God. They have bowed down and fallen, but we have risen and stood upright. Save, O Lord; may the King answer us in the day we call.”