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. Psalms 23:5-6 (NIV)
If I ever have the honor of coming to your house, please don’t pour oil on my head. You may laugh, but in biblical times it was an insult not to pour oil on your guests’ heads to welcome them. 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 life when I need to be reminded of God’s promise to provide and protect me. It doesn’t matter who or what surrounds me, God is the only One who can protect me. When I think of God’s protection, my thoughts can drift to the many Christians who’ve given their lives for the sake of Christ. Where was His protection for them? Does God promise physical protection or a protection which provides peace in the midst of all circumstances?
Many martyrs in the Bible gave their lives because of their faith in God which leads me to believe there’s more to God’s protection than a physical escape. I believe there are many times when God protects us from physical dangers, but I see more people fighting internal battles rather than physical wars. For most of David’s life, he ran and hid from those who wanted to kill him. He understood the importance of an internal peace. It is a miracle to have an internal peace when turmoil is all around. David worshipped God in all circumstances—the good, the bad, and the ugly. Whether David was resting in God in green pastures or sitting in the midst of his enemies, he trusted God and saw Him as his most treasured possession.
David knew God as Jehovah-Rohi, a Shepherd who would lead him.
David knew God as Jehovah-Jireh, the One who would provide for all his needs.
David knew God as Jehovah-Shalom, his peace.
David knew God as Jehovah-Rapha, the One who would restore his soul in the midst of anguish.
David knew God as Jehovah-Tsidkenu, the One who would make him righteous before a holy God.
David knew God as Jehovah-Mekaddishkem, the One who would set him apart as king and shepherd.
David wasn’t king because of his abilities; David was king because it was God’s will for him and the nation of Israel. It is obvious David recognized God’s provision and protection. 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)
Meditate on Psalm 23 and ask yourself, How do I know God? Do I know the same God David knew and longed to be with? David wasn’t just a shepherd and a king. David was a child of God. Oh, how different our lives would be if we sought after God more than trying to figure out who we are! David wrote about his cup overflowing with goodness and mercy based on his experience with God. When we understand who God is and how much He desires a growing, personal and intimate relationship with us, we’ll become exactly who God created us to be. Psalm 23:5 says, “You anoint my head with oil,” and refers to the way God accepts and welcomes us. God really does desire goodness and mercy for us all the days of our lives. As we catch a glimpse of who God really is rather than who we think He is, we’ll sing with David, “And I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever!” God is my Shepherd. He is all I need and provides all I need, and I shall not want.
- Read Psalm 23 and focus on Psalms 23:5-6.
- Take a moment and think about the last time you hosted guests in your home. As you prepared for their arrival, did you think about how you would greet them when they arrived?
- Reflect on how David describes God’s preparation for His guests. How might you prepare for your guests differently the next time you plan a gathering? What if you were preparing your home as a refuge for those fleeing from danger—physical, spiritual or emotional?
- Are you willing to view God as your Shepherd, protecting and leading you?
- Can you think of a group of people—outside your current circle of friends—who may need a place of refuge?
- Would you consider hosting them in your home?
- Do you currently feel God’s goodness and mercy overflowing in your daily life? Why or why not? Will you accept the truth of this promise from God?