walk in the word
5You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever. —Psalm 23:5-6
David’s great psalm about the Shepherd is also a testimony from a sheep. Every phrase of this ancient song is filled with meaning for our lives today. But sometimes we need a little background to understand David’s expressions. What is he talking about when he says, “You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows”?
Anointing the head with oil was a picture of the way a shepherd tended his sheep at the end of the day, gently rubbing oil into their cuts and scrapes. But it also referred to a ceremony of honor that was bestowed upon a special guest. Hosts would bring out soothing aromatic oil and pour it over their visitors to bring refreshment after a long, dusty journey.
David is describing how abundantly the Lord provided for him. He is saying, in essence, I’m well fed and safe. I’m waiting on God. I have also been refreshed and renewed with a comforting anointment. All that, and my cup overflows. This is a phenomenal picture of how God gives us everything we need and more: My cup runs over. Not only does He place before us His endless resources, He also makes sure that as we “drink from the cup,” as we actually depend on and use what He provides, He continues to supply.
When life challenges your resources or tests your faith, you may tend to wonder how much you have available. But if you look around and your answer is, “More than I need,” your cup runs over. You have abundant provision from the Lord. God gives you everything you need to face what you are facing—not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually. The picture is, I don’t even have to ever think, wonder, or worry about having enough, because God keeps my cup full to overflowing.
God longs to have that comforting and providing relationship with you each day. Shepherding isn’t just for Sunday, it’s 24/7. Just like the shepherd carefully checks his flock to tend to their wounds and scrapes, God will pour out His oil of healing and blessing as you come before Him.
Bringing your heartaches and pain to God each day is your privilege as His sheep. Let our Shepherd care tenderly for your needs and fill your cup with joy, by His Word and His Spirit as you seek Him.
Lord, I realize how easy it is for me to live my days and never pause for a moment to receive Your blessings. I don’t readily seek Your healing and comforting oil, and I often fail to hold out the cup of my life for You to keep filling. Forgive my foolish, sheep-like independence and draw me close, where You can do for me what I really need. Thank You for Your persistent shepherding in my life. In Jesus’ name, amen.
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