“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” (Psalm 23:5 RSV).
The next time you go to a restaurant or bar and order a glass of juice, wine, or any other drink besides water, take a look at the quantity served in the glass. The glass is mostly not full. It is not clear whether to say the glass is half full or half empty, but the value is the same: it is usually not full. Sometimes, they top it up with plenty of ice cubes, and even so, it is usually not full.
The situation is not limited to restaurants. It happens when you are a guest in some people’s homes. Some hosts act like waiters and waitresses when it comes to serving drinks. When it is water, the glass may be filled to the brim, but not so with other more expensive drinks.
It appears restaurants and hosts are sending subtle messages. In the case of restaurants, what they are saying is that the “half empty or half full” glass of drink is all you get for the price quoted on the menu, and that if you want more drink, you have to pay more. On their part, the hosts are saying that you need to be mindful of the quantity of drink served and enjoy it while it lasts because no additional drink may be forthcoming. In other words, in both cases, there are no refills.
These are consistent with an Akan proverb which says: Yεbεsi wo so a, anka yεhyεε wo ma, which translates into English language as follows: “if you would be given a second or additional drink, you would have been given a full glass or full cup of drink in the first place.”
In Psalm 23, The Lord is My Shepherd, King David expressed his utmost sense of security in the Lord’s protection that he was not afraid even in the midst of his enemies. He saw himself as able to dine with his enemies, and have his cup overflow with drink (see Psalm 23:5). This verse is probably the most fun part of the most popular psalm because it talks about eating and drinking. However, dining with one’s enemies is a dangerous proposition. Enemies are looking for opportunities to cause harm. You have to take extra precautions and keep your eyes wide open and fixed on your food and drink so that the enemy could not slip poison into your food or drink. It takes God’s grace and protection to keep us safe and satisfied because Christians are surrounded by enemies who seek ways to poison our relationship with God.
An overflowed cup sends at least three messages. First, it provides immediate satisfaction and joy. The cup must be full or filled up before it overflows, so there is an immediate satisfaction that the full cup of drink will quench thirst and bring joy. Second, an overflowed cup gives hope that more drinks would be forthcoming if needed. That hope brings joy and increases one’s appetite for more drinks. Third, an overflowed cup assures guests that there may be more than enough drinks to go around, not limited to the person served, but also available to many other people. It means that God will gladly provide far more than what humans can do, or what we can ask or imagine (see Ephesians 3:20). It sends a hopeful message that human beings may give you a “half empty or half full” cup, but God would fill your cup till it overflows and extends to many other people.
That is how it is with God’s blessings. God has abundant resources to satisfy the needs of His children and more. They are not limited. God’s blessings go around and beyond the immediate recipient; the ripple effects reach out and touch many people according to their individual needs.
We do not know the type of drinks that overflowed from David’s cup; they were most likely water or wine. Even if it was water, we have to keep in mind that in the warm, desert-like climate of ancient Israel, good, quality drinking water was a very precious commodity, and access to it was not as easy as we have now. It was not like turning on the tap water in the convenience of their homes or having bottled water in their refrigerators. Someone had to walk to fetch water from a river, stream or well that could be located far away, so some economical use of water was necessary. Water was (and still is) so important that Jesus would later comment that anyone who gave a cup of water to his followers in his name would certainly not lose his or her reward (see Mark 9:41).
However, David concluded that psalm by saying that goodness and mercy shall follow him all the days of his life. For your cup to overflow, you first need a cup. Therefore, grab the biggest real or imaginary cup you can find and let us pray. We pray that God would bless us and make our cup of goodness overflow. We pray that God would bless us and make our cup of mercy overflow. We pray that God would bless us and make our cup of water overflow and sustain our lives. And we pray that God would bless us and turn our overflowed cup of wine into the blood of Jesus on Calvary which washes away our sins and brings healing and salvation unto us.
Note that David’s cup was not just full or filled up. It was more than that; his cup overflowed or runneth over. That is abundance, that is satisfaction, and that is unlimited blessing for all who diligently seek and put their trust in the Almighty God, Jehovah Jireh, the Lord who provides, and protects.
Prayer is the key. May God grant us the grace to seek Him daily through our prayers.
Dr. Daniel Gyebi, Attorney-at-Law, Texas, U.S.A., and Founder, PrayerHouse Ministry, Kumasi, Ghana.
PrayerHouse Ministry is dedicated to providing a quiet facility for Christians to pray individually by themselves without any intermediary priest, pastor or any other person. This is a free service. No money is demanded or accepted. One facility is located at Kyerekrom / Fumesua, near Building and Road Research Institute Offices, one mile off the Kumasi-Accra Road and next to a house called Grace Castle. If you are interested, please contact Agnes at 054-7498653. Another is located at Kantinkyiren, at the junction of Kantinkyiren and Konkori, off the Kumasi-Obuasi Road, branching left at Trede junction. Contact Kwadwo at 020-8768461 / 0246-989413.