by Rich Freeman, D. Min.
Following the famous declaration of Psalm 23:4, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me,” David discussed how the tools of the shepherd gave him comfort. “Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me” (v. 4). In verse five, the scene shifts to a banquet—a feast where a gracious host, the Lord, provides lavish hospitality: “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows.”
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.
The feast is taking place in the presence of David’s enemies. The Hebrew word he used for “my enemies” is tsor’rai. This word’s root is tzarar, which is also the basis for a well-known Yiddish word, tsuris, which means “deep troubles,” or lots of terrible problems. The word neged, translated “in the presence,” literally means “right in front of.” Thus, the Lord provides for us in the midst of the troubles (enemies) we are facing, and our enemies—the deep troubles we are dealing with—are rendered powerless over the Lord’s provision. The blessing of the Lord will not be hindered in any way by negative circumstances. In fact, challenging conditions often enhance the Lord’s blessing.
The Lord Blesses
David’s point was that the Lord floods—indeed overflows—our lives with blessings. He prepares a lavish banquet table in the midst of all circumstances. When our eyes are on the Lord instead of on the enemy (our troubles), the circumstances of our lives cannot keep the Lord from blessing us “far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think,” as Paul wrote in Ephesians 3:20.
While the world looks at circumstances as the means of blessing, the Lord usually blesses us despite our circumstances. There is a supernatural aspect to being a believer in Yeshua (Jesus) that we sometimes take for granted. The Lord not only helps us through our daily troubles but blesses us despite them by supernaturally empowering us through His peace, comfort, and contentment. The Apostle Paul called this blessing “the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension” (Philippians 4:7).
The Lord Anoints
In addition to preparing a banquet for us, the Lord also anoints our heads with oil (Psalm 23:5). David is relaying that the Lord treats us as honored guests. In David’s culture, anointing the head with oil was an act of great respect by the host; it refreshed a weary traveler and showed him that his host loved him. But I believe David also remembered something else: his anointing as king. After King Saul disobeyed the Lord and did what was right in his own eyes, God spoke the following words to the prophet Samuel in 1 Samuel 16:1:
Now the Lord said to Samuel, “How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil and go; I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have selected a king for Myself among his sons.”
God set David apart as king when Samuel anointed him with oil. Although quite a few years passed before David actually sat on the throne of Israel, the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from the day he was anointed.
He empowers us, enabling us to accomplish what we could never do with our own abilities apart from Him.
Just as God anointed David with oil, God also refreshes us with His Spirit. He exhilarates and invigorates us; the Holy Spirit is a fountain of living water, an unending supply. He empowers us, enabling us to accomplish what we could never do with our own abilities apart from Him. Whatever you are dealing with in your life, remember the reality of Psalm 23:5 and the indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit that enables us to deal with whatever God has set before us.