Psalm 23 paints a beautiful picture of what God does for those who follow Him. God is pictured as “The Shepherd.” Those who follow Him are described as sheep. Here’s what we discover that is shocking. The Shepherd is crazy about His sheep! How do we see this?
You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies.
The picture here is of the shepherd preparing the land and finding food for the sheep. And doing all of that in the middle of other animals that liked to eat sheep. That’s good. But it gets better.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
In the ancient East, a thoughtful host would welcome an honored guest into the protection of their home by pouring some oil on his head. This refreshed a tired traveler. There may have also been some medicinal benefits to this act. And you would just have some amazingly greasy hair– which is always a good conversation starter! The picture we have here is of a Shepherd that refreshes us. So, we get a feast. We get refreshed. IT GETS BETTER!
My cup overflows with blessings.
Now…here’s the crazy part. The overflowing cup was a powerful symbol in the days of David. Now for me…an overflowing cup is not a good thing. I picture my younger kids pouring soda. It takes years for them to perfect “the pour.” Overflowing is not good. But here…it’s good. Hosts in this culture used it to send a message to the guest. As long as the cup was kept full, the guest knew he was welcome. But when the cup sat empty, the host was hinting that it was time to go! Get your stuff…it’s late…see ya later.
On those occasions though when the host really enjoyed someone, they would fill the cup to overflowing. They didn’t stop when the beverage of choice hit the rim. He just kept pouring until it was a mess and everything spilled all over the place. They liked that! It was good. Now get this…this is what The Shepherd does for His sheep. Your cup…overflowing. God likes you. He wants you to stay. You’re a great guest…past and all. God’s crazy about you. Let that just capture your thoughts. Let that crush your shame. Let that soothe the pain of the past. Let that cover every failure. He knows it all. He knows every detail of your life, and in spite of all that, He prepares a feast (for you). He anoints you with oil. He fills your cup to overflowing. Who else does this when they know your stuff? The Shepherd is crazy about his sheep.