My Cup Overflows

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  • You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. – Psalm 23:5

    Psalm 23:5 envisions a great banquet. David is not just an invited guest. He is the guest of honor. As David enjoyed the delicacies at the table, his mortal enemies stand around the table looking on. David did not fear the evil in the valley because of his shepherd. And David did not fear the presence of his enemies because of his host.

    David was not a delegate who negotiated his way to the table. He was a friend with a reserved place at the table. to make this clear to David’s congregated adversaries, the host breaks open an expensive flask of fragrant oil and pours it on David’s head. This is more than basic hospitality. It is extravagant generosity. When the host puts the bottle of wine down, he picks up a bottle of wine and pours it into David’s cup until it overflows.

    David was a recipient of personal, ongoing, and abundant blessings. This is the testimony of all who trust in the Lord. Pessimists see the cup half-empty. Optimists see the cup half-full. Christians see the cup running over.

    The Hand That Pours. Psalm 23 is not the boast of a spoiled youth. This is not the testimony of a trouble-free life. It is not the memoir of a peacetime king. David was a neglected shepherd boy in his father’s house. David was a fugitive from the murderous ways of Saul. David was a father whose rebellious children broke his heart. David was a wartime king who faced one enemy after another. David was an exile whose own sought to overthrow him, Yet David exclaims, “My cup overflows.”

    Unbelief only sees an empty cup. Doubt debates whether the cup is half-full or half-empty. Worry fears the cup will be lost, broken, or stolen. Faith sings of an overflowing cup. “My cup” is tied to “my shepherd.” You cannot separate the cup that overflows from the hand that pours (Psalm 16:5). Cups break. But God has more cups in the cupboard. When your cup breaks, God is able to give you another cup. If you know and trust the hand that pours into our cup, you can sing, “My cup overflows,” no matter the circumstances.

    The Cup That Receives. Metaphorically, a cup refers to one’s life, fate, or destiny. It usually warns of impending judgment. When a cup is used as a metaphor in scripture, it is typically not good news (Psalm 16:5; Jeremiah 25:15-16; Revelations 14:9-10). In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39). The cross was the cup. The Righteous one said, “I thirst,” so that sinful ones can sing, “My cup overflows.”

    Because of Christ, your cup is not empty. God pours favor into your cup. It is not just a sip. God fills our cups to the brim. He does not stop here. God pours until our cups overflow. Do not complain that you do not have what you desire. Thank God that you do not have what you deserve. Do not compare, compete, or complain. If you try to move your cup, you will miss the outflow that leads to overflow. The Lord can make your cup overflow wherever you sit.

    The Drink That Satisfies. Nothing in this world can satisfy the thirst of the soul. But there is a storehouse of blessings available to all who are in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). It is yours for the asking. Lift your cup to the Lord. Your cup is not greater than God’s fountain. Your thirst is not greater than God’s supply. Your need is not greater than God’s provision. Your weakness is not greater than God’s strength. Your hurt is not greater than God’s comfort. Your sin is not greater than God’s grace.

    God is able to bless you in superabundance (Ephesians 3:20). You ask for one blessing. God gives many blessings. You needed help to forgive. God enables you to forgive and forget. You ask for a job. God gives you a career. You desire the pain to stop. God heals you completely. You wanted a loved-one to stop acting up. God radically changes their lives. You yearn for the Lord to use you. God grants you a fruitful ministry to many. Your cup overflows! An overflowing cup should result in overflowing praise.


    H.B. Charles Jr.

    Pastor-Teacher at the Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church of Jacksonville and Orange Park, Florida.