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

In ancient times it was considered a courtesy for the host of a feast to anoint the heads of the distinguished guest with perfumed oil. David makes reference to this custom by stating that the Lord anoints his head with oil. In Luke 7:36-50 is a story in which Jesus was invited to eat with Simon a Pharisee. During the meal a woman anoints the feet of Jesus and wipes them with her hair. Jesus later rebukes the host because he had neglected to anoint his head and show the most common of courtesies.

Our Good Shepherd has invited us to a great feast; a victory celebration. And since he is the perfect host he has welcomed us and extended to us all of the common courtesies. We are his distinguished guests. The Hebrew word used for anointing in Psalm 23:5 means to make fat. This gives the picture that the oil poured on us by God is so abundant our heads seem to be fat with it. It is an indication that God has abundance and abundantly supplies us with all of our necessities and more (2 Peter 1:3).

When David remarks that his cup overflows, he alludes to another ancient custom. The guests of a feast were given a cup by the host. To assure the guests that there was an abundant supply to drink, the host would overflow the cup with wine. This was also an invitation for the guest to stay as long as they desired because there was an abundance to sustain his needs. In fact the Hebrew word used for overflows in Psalms 23:5 means satisfaction, running over and wealthy.

The Song of Songs, written by Solomon, is a beautiful picture of Christ’s relationship to his bride. In Song of Songs 2:4, the bride (church), says of the Beloved (Christ), He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love. The Hebrew word used for banqueting means effervesce, wine or intoxication. So, the term banqueting house literally means house of wine. Our Beloved has brought us into his house that is full of every necessity we will ever need and he has done so under the banner of love.

It was under a banner of love that God prepared a feast for us at the cross. Paul wrote, . . . but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8 ESV) He wrote to the Ephesians that it was in love that God predestined us to the adoption as sons through Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:4-5). In ancient times banners or standards were used as rallying points for armies and tribes (Numbers 2:2; Jeremiah 51:27). Christians rally under the banner of Christ and the cross where Jesus triumphed over our enemies and God prepared a feast for us overflowing with intoxicating love. He has made us rich with everything that satisfies our souls.

From his wealth God has anointed our heads and overflowed our cups. The earth and everything in it is his and he will give to us everything we need to fulfill our part of his sovereign purposes. He bids us, Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. (Revelation 3:20 ESV)

Have you accepted God’s invitation?

Scriptures for meditation:
Matthew 26:6-7
Ephesians 2:4-5

Copyright © 2017 Steve Pruitt/