by Rich Freeman, D. Min.
In our last study, we looked at the importance and blessing of the anointing work of the Holy Spirit in Psalm 23:5. Within that verse, David wrote, “You have anointed my head with oil.” In David’s culture, a host’s anointing of his guest’s head with oil showed great respect and love, and it refreshed a weary traveler.
The next thought in Psalm 23:5 has to do with the idea of abundance. At the end of verse five, David wrote, “My cup overflows.” Some translations add the word blessings, as in, “My cup overflows with blessings.” David was letting us know that an honored guest of a feast will always have his cup filled to the brim, overflowing even, to signify how loved he is and the abundance he would receive.
PSALM 23:5 (NASB)
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
Now let us examine the abundance that we are promised. Messiah Jesus said in John 10:10, “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” Jesus said those words within the context of declaring Himself to be “the door of the sheep” (verse 7). In a sense, He was talking about the abundant material blessings of His saints.
Satisfied even in the midst of suffering
Some churches today even have the word abundant in their names, like Abundant Faith Chapel or Abundant Life Church. Jesus did not mean the abundant life in only a material sense. Yes, the Bible does speak about an abundance of love, an abundance of grace, and even an abundance of blessing. But the one who said, “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36) did not mean only material blessing. There is a lot more to the abundant life than just material things. The abundant life enables us to be satisfied even in the midst of suffering because our focus is on the eternal God, the one who gives us eternal life.
As Paul pointed out in 2 Corinthians 1:3–5, the abundant life also includes an abundance of suffering as well as an abundance of comfort in the midst of the suffering:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.
In Psalm 23:5, the overflowing cup is a sign of fellowship with the Lord. Paul, in Philippians 3:10, said, “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings.”
The abundant life enables us to be satisfied even in the midst of suffering because our focus is on the eternal God, the one who gives us eternal life.
Speaking about the people of Israel, Mark Twain once said, “[They] are like everyone else, only more so.” The same can be said of believers in Messiah Jesus. We are like everyone else, but our life experiences should be “even more so,” according to Psalm 23:5: “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; my cup overflows.”
The table is prepared, and the feast is given in the presence of our enemies, which are all of our troubles, trials, and tribulations. We are the Lord’s honored guests. He has anointed our heads with oil. The Holy Spirit of God not only fills us daily, but has taken permanent residence within us, enabling us to live lives pleasing to God. Our cup overflows. The blessings of the Lord are ours in the Messiah Jesus, even in the midst—or rather, in the presence—of a pandemic.
May we use the blessings of our abundant lives to glorify God and bless others (Psalm 67).