Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Psalm 23 - #8

Psalm 23:5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

He preparest a table before me. As I wander through this dark world, with evil all around and enemies thinking nasty of me, I can have a sweet fellowship with the Lord and put the thoughts of earth's dangers and darkness aside for a while and just be fed by God himself. We sit (my Lord and I) at the table with good things to eat, spiritual things that reach far above all earthly provisions.

In the presence of mine enemies. Though my enemies be close at hand, though they taunt me concerning my faith in the Lord, though they may hate the very Lord that I love, yet the Lord and I sit close by the enemies and, notwithstanding their jeers and hatred, we enjoy our fellowship together. The enemies may desire that I fall in my testimony; they may desire that I fail in my efforts to serve the Lord; they may wish that the Lord himself did not exist; but that makes no difference to my Lord and me. We simply sit together and enjoy the table that is spread with every kind of sweet and delicate serving of spiritual food.

When I finish eating at the table with the Lord, I am refreshed and charged with energy to again face my daily enemies, loving them for the cause of Christ, witnessing to them of God's amazing grace, and living among them and not entangling myself in the world with them. 2 Peter 2:20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.

Thou anointest my head with oil. We may notice that the Hebrew word for "preparest" is in the Qal tense, or the casual or simple present tense of action. However, the word for "anountest" is in the Piel tense, which is the "intensive" present tense. You might say "I broke the dish." That would be in the simple or Qal tense of the verb. But you may also say "I broke the dish into a million pieces," which is the intensive or Piel tense.

When the Lord anoints my head with oil, he does it in an intensive way. It is as if he wants the enemies to know in a physical way that God has not forsaken me. My enemies cannot understand why I am so happy with my quiet life, loving and serving the Lord. They do not understand why I cannot enjoy the loudness of the world, the abundance of extreme energy engaged by the world in order to try to be happy. My joy is with the Lord, not in worldly pleasures. Oh yes, I have my problems with worldly pleasures just as everyone does; but that is not my real joy.

The word "anointest" has to do with being prosperous or fat. The word fat in the Bible has a good connotation. It implies success and prosperity. So, the Psalmist is saying in this Psalm that God is benefiting us in a good way and giving us a supernatural unction from his Holy Spirit. We are, you might say, fat with blessings.

My cup runneth over. The word oil in the Hebrew can also be translated "fat things." So, the Lord fattens us with fat things. I hope you understand what that means: it means that we as his children are benefited above the world with his good things. Psalm 103:5 Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The Lord will not fill my cup if I do not present it to him for additional servings of fat things. I must bring my cup to him and ask him for a refill. He will never refuse me that. James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

I am thankful to God that he will give me whatever I need to serve him, and he makes my cup run over, or he gives me more than I need so that I can enjoy of his abundance. He gives us abundant grace (2 Cor. 4:15); he gives us abundant rejoicing (Phil. 1:26); and he gives us abundant mercy (1 Peter 1:3). What else do we need when we have the abundance of God's cup running over with blessings?