In one of my previous posts Confidence In HIM we looked into the first 4 verses of Psalm 23. We will now be delving into the last two verses of Psalm 23.
“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.”
In the first 4 verses of the psalm, we are drawn into David’s description of the Lord’s protection, provision, comfort and care and we see him declaring with confidence that he fears no evil while he walks through the valley of the shadow of death because the Lord is with him.
We continue to see God’s abundant care and provision in verse 5; “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.”
This sentence paints a beautiful image of a feast. Let’s look at this sentence closely.
It is not just any table but a ‘prepared table’ – depicting forethought ,care and anticipation for what is on the table to be consumed.
Prepared by whom – by the Lord himself.
Where is this prepared – right there before David (me)
Where again – in the presence of his enemies
David has not departed from the valley of the shadow of death. He is still passing through it because the table the Lord prepares, he does it right there in the presence of his enemies.
What does this mean? Well, right in the middle of those situations that make us uncertain, doubtful, fearful and anxious, God calls us to sit at His table so that He can feed us His loving protection, provision and care. Even though the presence of the enemies is not removed, we can still experience what God is offering us in the midst of our trials.
Wouldn’t we want to be fed at God’s table? We can only have the shelter of what HE offers if we choose to sit at the table.
“You anoint my head with Oil; my cup overflows.”
There are two things we can glean from this;
Anointing with oil was a customary treatment for an honoured guest – what a privilege it is for us to enjoy the richness and fullness of the Lord’s goodness.
When looking at this from a shepherd and sheep perspective, we get a different but reassuring purpose for the anointing.
Phillip Keller, explains that anointing the head of sheep brings healing and relief from pests that can drive sheep crazy. Whenever gnats, mosquitoes and flies attack a flock, the sheep run around the pasture in distress to get away from the pests. Some even beat their heads against rocks or trees, desperate for relief.
When the shepherd applies oil to the sheep’s head, the result is immediate relief. The sheep become calm and content. This is not a one-time application, though. It’s a process that continues as long as the pests are present.
Who does the anointing – The Lord does.
Just as sheep are completely dependent on the shepherd to relieve them from these pests, we are also completely dependent on Him to find peace and comfort in the middle of our storm. And we have to remember that we have to go to Him repeatedly to lay our fears at rest and be fed with His peace that passes all understanding.
My Cup Overflows – We see abundant lavish care, there is never a depletion of His care and provision. Philippians 4:19 says “And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”
Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life – We see David’s implicit confidence in his Heavenly Father. David is confident that God will take care of him in the days to come, because HE is a faithful God and he knows that God will never leave him or forsake him.
Do we have this same confidence for our future? It is easy to say this when things are going well but when trials strike, are we able to muster up that same confidence?
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever – This beautiful psalm ends with an assurance of God’s presence and of being with the Lord in the now as well in eternity.
We do not deserve any of His goodness, it is HIS grace that allows us to be recipients of His goodness, kindness and love. May this bring us to our knees with hearts full of gratitude.
He is our shepherd forever, our God forever, our Heavenly Father forever. He loves us forever and cares for us forever. What a blessing to be a part of His flock.