By Karen Kogler
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever (Psalm 23:5 - 6 ESV).
David wrote this psalm while remembering his own experience as both a shepherd and a king. He knew sheep were vulnerable, unable to provide for their own needs, and defenseless against predators. David likely used oil to cleanse and soothe wounds or sores on the sheep. Oil had another purpose, too. Like priests, kings were anointed with oil to indicate they were chosen by God for a high office.
When you’re dependent on others, you’re vulnerable. Every day there are threats and dangers:
caregivers who don’t understand or don’t care; the unreliability of body and brain; even the things
people leave on the floor that make it hard to get around.
In addition to the dangers, there’s the emptiness: the feeling of worthlessness, the long days with little to do. You yearn for the days when you felt safe and strong, days that were full of interesting, meaningful activity.
David reminds us that our Shepherd does more than provide - he provides abundantly! He fills our dry and empty cup to overflowing. He provides even in the middle of the dangers and enemies that surround us. He anoints us with a rich, soothing oil that heals and blesses.
Like David, you are chosen. God chose you to be his own child, a sheep of his pasture. No one could ever earn such an honor. It is a gift entirely of his grace, completely free to you, but costing the life of his Son on a cross. This gift, this grace, is what fills your cup to overflowing, no matter your circumstances. All the dangers and all your enemies cannot diminish the full cup of grace God gives.
When a cup overflows, the contents spread all over. When the cup of God’s grace overflows in our lives, it spreads to the lives of the people around us. God’s grace: from God to us, and from us to others. That’s abundance!
Dear Jesus, I praise you for your goodness and mercy. I’m so grateful that they will be my companions all the days of my life. Today, I ask that you would fill my cup. I pray that your goodness and grace may run over the top of my cup, so I can share with others. Help me see the people with empty cups who are reluctant to look to you. Amen.
Editor’s note: CTA author Karen Kogler has been caring for her elderly mother-in-law for the past seven years. Through the challenges and joys, Karen is constantly reminded of God’s faithfulness. Her caregiving role inspired her to write a series of devotions based on Psalm 23. You can find the complete series of devotions here .
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