Does Your Cup Overflow?
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
6 Surely 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 was 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 refreshing aromatic oil and pour it over their visitors because it brought relief after a long, dusty journey.
Back in those days, there wasn’t the option of jumping in the shower. Anointing offered relief, renewal, and restoration to a guest. A modern equivalent might be the treatment you get in first class on an airplane. Before a meal and at the end of the flight attendants pass out these nice hot towels, much like that anointing-with-oil thing was a pleasant pampering at the end of a journey.
In the psalm, David described how abundantly the Lord provided for him. He was 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: My cup runs over.
When life challenges your resources or tests your faith, you tend to wonder how much you have available. If 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 refreshing ongoing relationship with you each day. Shepherding isn’t just for Sunday; it’s 24/7. Just like the shepherd checks each of his flock to tend to their wounds and scrapes, God will pour His oil of healing and blessing on you as you come before Him. Bringing your heartaches and pain to God each day is your privilege as God’s sheep. And once you have been cared for, God has in store by His Word and His Spirit a continual filling of your cup with joy as you seek Him and worship with others in the flock.
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.