By Brooke Holt
“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” Psalm 23:5
On a scale of 1 to 10, I rank close to a 10 on the extrovert scale. I love people, love gatherings, and I especially love great meals with the people whom I love and enjoy. What stumps me about this part of Psalm 23 is not the table that is prepared but the table prepared in the presence of my enemies. Even an extrovert does not want to eat with his or her enemies!
At this point in the Psalm, David makes an interesting transition. He shifts from describing the Lord as his shepherd to the Lord as his host. David’s words convey the idea of sitting in the house of the Lord and being served a meal. In The Message translation of Psalm 23, Eugene Peterson translates verse five: “You serve me a six-course dinner right in front of my enemies. You revive my drooping head; my cup brims with blessing.” As the host, the Lord serves with abundance. Beyond David receiving abundant service, Peterson conveys the idea that David’s enemies can only look upon the meal. This demonstrates the Lord’s care for his beloved as well as his reminder that no enemy can thwart God's work and care. God is sovereign even over enemies!
If that was not enough good news, God does even more for David. God anoints David's head which conveys that the Lord honors David as his guest. Oil was used in the Tabernacle to consecrate the building and the objects inside of it. Thus, oil can be used for consecration and for making one holy while it also signifies healing. These enemies of David may have been prevailing over him (or seemed to be) yet spending time in the Lord’s house allowed David to receive God’s care, nurture, hospitality, anointing, and healing. David’s cup is filled to the point of overflow!
You serve an abundant God! This God of abundance calls you to commune with him. He invites you to sit down for a six-course meal. He longs to nurture you, fill you, heal you, restore you so much so that your cup is filled to overflowing. In his great hospitality, he will protect you and provide all that you need to fulfill your mission in this life. Just as David’s enemies could not thwart God’s plans for his life so no enemy can overcome you.
How do you respond to this hospitality of the Lord? Will you come, sit down, and receive? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Follow the ancient way of the Psalms and find the life God has for you. A model for vibrant worship, the Psalms provide practical wisdom to traverse the circuitous path of life with trust and hope. Pilgrim’s Path: A Study of the Psalms traces our spiritual walk with God—from discovery and delight, through doubt and disappointment, into joyful confidence. Whether used for individual or group study, Pilgrim’s Path is for everyone who seeks to know and love God more and find life in him.
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