We noted in the previous study that the table prepared wasn't desert rations, but an ample supply of their needs.
For the sheep of Palestine, oil on the head meant basically health and comfort. And the overflowing cup, whether drawn from well or stream, spoke of physical needs abundantly met.
What were the thoughts of the shepherd-boy when Samuel the prophet anointed him to be king (1 Samuel 16.13)? Not only comforted, but chosen and set apart for a special task, his mind must have been filled with wonderment and awe!
But many years had passed since that anointing - years of tension and hardship - before he was able to take up his calling to be king. Again and again the Lord had anointed him - with healing and comfort!
Reflecting on the experiences of those years of trial, he could write, "I shall not be in want - my cup overflows!"
In today's reading, we see David, now old, preparing for his son, Solomon to take his place as king. One of Solomon's major tasks in office is to be the building of a temple, a house for the Lord (note 28.6). David announces a very substantion gift from his own fortune toward the building (29.1-5), and the people respond to his call to contribute freely (vv. 6-9).
Our reading has been described as one of the finest prayers in the Old Testament. Everything comes from God anyway - "everything in heaven and earth is yours wealth and honor come from you " (vv. 11,12). So this implies something about the magnificent offering they have just brought - "But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand O Lord our God, as for all this abundance that we have provided for building you a temple for your Holy Name, it comes from your hand, and all of it belongs to you" (vv. 14,16).
"My cup overflows." A cup is a receiver. It isn't that I have been pretty good or clever that my cup overflows, but rather that I have received so bountifully from the Lord. The difference between these two attitudes is so very important.
Perhaps, like David, there have been periods of our life when we have known ourselves simply and totally dependent on the goodness of God. Apart from some special sustaining gifts, we wonder just how we would have survived! The test comes in those periods when life is not quite so tight - that is when the reality of our faith is shown!
Where now, we may ask, are the crowds who reportedly filled the churches during wartime?
Abraham Lincoln once said, "We have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and enriched and strengthened us. We have vainly imagined that all things were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us."
"You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows" - David knew it! And he knew it was still true when material comforts were greater than they had sometimes been! He didn't forget!
And what about us? God heals and comforts us and abundantly supplies our needs! What about us?
|PRAYER: O divine Shepherd, your provision is so great, so generous, so total. Yet so often in the better times I have wanted to take all the credit. I thank you, Lord, for your ever-present and unbounding love. Teach me how to whare from the "overflowing cup" so that you can keep on refilling it fresh and new. In the name of Jesus, Amen.|
Thank you, Lord,
for the gift of life,
the gift to be,
to grow and do.
Thank you, Lord,
for planet Earth,
for human life.
Thank you, Lord,
for your dear Son,
so we could live
and live again.
And now, O Lord,
I’ve lived thus far,
grant this one plea –
teach me to live!
The Lord my Shepherd Next
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