“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.” Psalms 23:5-6 (NKJV)
Even the best of men has enemies. Jesus had enemies. We looked at three enemies the Christ follower battles with every day – the world, the flesh, and the devil. Beyond those are critics that would disturb our peace were it not for our Shepherd. Like sheep grazing on a fertile table of green pastures surrounded by predators that would love to make a meal of them, our Shepherd watches over us and even prepares a table for us in the presence of our enemies. We are never more secure than when we sit at His table and feast on His Word, the bread of life!
Under the Old Covenant, the sheep died for the shepherd but under the New Covenant, the Shepherd died for the sheep. The table He spread for us is The Lord’s Table, reminding us of His sacrifice for us on the cross. The bread represents His body given for us and the wine His blood shed for the remission of our sins.
As if His protection were not enough, He anoints us with the oil of His Spirit. The oil is symbolic of the Holy Spirit who comes to abide within us as a deposit guaranteeing all that is to come in the fullness of our inheritance in Christ! His presence empowers us and enables us to do God’s will and reflect the glory of Christ in us in all that we do and say and are.
In His presence is fullness of joy! “My cup overflows!” What a picture of abundance and joy! We don’t need to walk around defeated and discouraged as if our cup were only half full. God’s desire is for us to walk in the fullness of His Spirit, filled to overflowing with His love, joy and peace! When we walk like that, we experience God’s goodness and mercy following after us all the days of our lives.
Despite unpleasant and even painful circumstances, we have clarity to see further ahead to that day when we will dwell in our Father’s house forever and see our Shepherd face to face! No wonder Jesus told His followers, “Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in Me. There is more than enough room in My Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with Me where I am.” John 14:1-3 (NLT)
Jesus is the believer’s Shepherd.