My Cup Overflows
By Dot Bowen
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. Psalm 23:5-6 (NIV)
If I ever have the honor of coming to your house, please do not pour oil on my head. Go ahead and laugh, but in Biblical times, it was an insult to guests if you didn’t welcome them by pouring oil on their heads. At the beginning of Psalm 23, David describes God (Yahweh) as his providing and protecting shepherd and closes the psalm by describing him as a host preparing for guests.
There are times in my own life when I need to understand God has promised to provide and protect me at all times. It doesn’t matter who or what surrounds me, God is the One who will protect me. When I think of God’s protection, I must admit my mind begins to think of the many Christians who have given their lives for the sake of Christ. Where was God’s protection for them? Does God promise physical protection, or is He talking about protection that provides peace in the midst of all circumstances?
Many of the people in the Bible who put their faith in God were martyred. This makes me think there is more to God’s protection than a physical escape. I do believe there are many times when God protects us from physical dangers. I personally see more people fighting internal wars rather than physical wars. For most of David’s life, he ran and hid from many who wanted to kill him. He understood the importance of having a peace within. It’s a miracle to have peace within when everything around you is in turmoil. David worshipped God in all his circumstances—the good, the bad, and the ugly. It didn’t matter if David was enjoying God in green pastures or sitting in the midst of his enemies, he trusted God as his most treasured possession.
In Psalm 23 David called upon the name of God for all things and finishes his song by praising God for being his provider, protection, and provision. David knew God as Jehovah-Rohi, his Shepherd who would lead him. David knew God as Jehovah-Jireh, the One to provide all his needs. David knew God as Jehovah-Shalom, his peace. David also knew God as Jehovah-Rapha, the One who would restore his soul in the midst of anguish. David knew Jehovah-Tsidkenu, the One who made him righteous before a holy God David knew God as Jehovah-Mekaddishkem, the One who set him apart as king and shepherd. David became king because it was God’s will rather than David’s abilities. Maybe, this is what David meant when he faced Goliath and said, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts!” (1 Samuel 17:45, ESV)
David needed God as his shepherd and he needed to see the God of Hosts! As we finish meditating on Psalm 23, ask yourself, “ How do I know God? Do you know the same God David knew and longed to be with? David’s life was not just about being a shepherd or a king, but a child of God. Oh, how our lives would be so different if we sought after God more than trying to figure out who we are! When David wrote about God filling his cup to overflowing with goodness and mercy, he was coming from experiencing God in every area of his life. When we begin to understand who God is and how much He desires to have a growing, personal, and intimate relationship with us, we will become exactly what God created us to be. The words “You anoint my head with oil,” refers to God accepting and welcoming you. God desires to provide goodness and mercy all the days of our lives. As we catch a glimpse of who God really is rather than who we think He is, we will find ourselves singing with David, “And I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever”! Waahoo! God is my Shepherd, and He is all I need. He provides all I need; therefore, I shall not want.
Further Reading Psalm 23, 1 Samuel 17:41-51: Luke 7:46