And that goes right into my message this morning which is the fifth verse of Psalm 23, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” It is not just a little meager table, it is a table, it is a feast that God has prepared for you and I, in the presence of our enemies. So even when we feel that people are oppressing us, they are opposing us. When we feel that they are saying you can’t do this, you’re not educated enough, you’re not experienced enough, you’re the wrong gender, for whatever reason you can’t do this; all those negative nay sayers. Those people in the presence of all those negative voices, in the presence of all that discouragement and in the presence of all that negativity, God says I hear in this bible verse says, “I have set a table before you.” A feast of possibilities for you, says the Lord; a feast for you.
You know, in the first half of the 23rd Psalm, God is presented in the metaphor of the Good Shepherd and now, he switches, the Psalmist David, to a metaphor of God, the consummate host. He welcomes us into His house to give us a feast. And it’s very interesting because if you look at what was expected of a host back then, a host would be expected to greet his guests with a kiss, to wash his or her feet, and then to anoint their head with oil, and then to feed them abundantly with cup overflowing.
And so that is what this metaphor is and I just want to take a look at that and say look at this table. Look at the table that God spreads before you because God is the consummate host. He does all those things. It says it right here in Psalm 23. He anoints us with oil, our cup overflows, He spreads a table, a feast of encouragement when we are discouraged; a feast and a balm, a healing balm that comes from the anointing oil when our hearts are crushed and broken and shredded like Jeannette’s was. God comes and our cups overflow with His mercy. Our cups overflow with His love. In fact, our cups can overflow and people will say what is it about you? I’ve had people say to me is it for real, Sheila, your smiling there on TV when I hear all the things you’re going through. Is that a for real smile? Absolutely, it’s a for real smile. I couldn’t do it. It is the overflow, the overflow of the presence of the Lord in my life. And that is what you can have as well. It is as easy as following God’s word and taking the promises that He has for you. He has the very same feast for you.
You know, when the people of God were enslaved, like Jeannette was enslaved, they were imprisoned. They were imprisoned by this Pharaoh. They were his cheap labor and he wasn’t about to let them go, even though God went to Moses and said, ‘go to Pharaoh and tell him to let My people go.’ So Moses did. He went. He was obedient and he went to Pharaoh and he said, ‘God said let my people go.’ And Pharaoh said, ‘no.’ Well, okay one plague was sent and God sent Moses again, ‘let my people go.’ Pharaoh said, ‘no.’ Pharaoh kept saying no, no, no he wasn’t about to let these people free. But God wanted to deliver His people. And when you are feeling oppressed and you are feeling opposition, you’re feeling discouragement, God wants to deliver you from that, just as He did His children.
You know it’s important, it says in Gods word, remember, remember, remember. Do not forget what God has done. Remember what God has done and we are doing that today. We are remembering what God did to deliver His children from the hands of Pharaoh. It took that final plague, that angel of death that God had to send in order for Pharaoh to let his people go. And we all know this story how God told Moses ‘I want to protect my children. I’m here to deliver them. So go and get a perfect lamb and spread that blood, just smear it on the doorpost and when the angel of death is flying through the land, when the angel of death sees that, that is the sign and a seal that the angel of death will pass over that house and they will be delivered.’ An amazing, powerful story and that is what happened. The angel of death came and there was wailing, there was wailing in all of Egypt for the loss of the first born, but there was dancing, there was joy, there was deliverance for the people of God who had been delivered because the angel of death had passed over their houses.
And so they left. They were delivered from their imprisonment to Pharaoh. But they were no sooner delivered then they ran smack dab into the Red Sea, remember the story? And there they stand with the sea in front of them. They didn’t have ferries back then to take them across, any kind of boats or anything like that. There they stood at this huge wall of water and they start hearing the thundering galloping hooves because Pharaoh changed his mind again. And here they were the chariots with swords drawn and arrows coming, breathing down their neck. Any of you ever felt trapped like that? Between a rock and hard place, they call it? Where you face a wall in front of you, you don’t know your way around it. You can’t get past that wall. It’s just there, it’s a wall. You can’t get through it, can’t get over it, can’t get around it, and you’ve got enemies. It may be creditors, it may be doctors with bad news, who knows what it is. But they’re breathing down your neck and they’re coming after you and you feel stuck, you feel trapped, you see no way of escape. But what did God do just when in the nick of time, He parted that sea, He parted it. God knew what He was doing all along.
And even when you feel stuck and you feel trapped, claim the deliverance of God because God loves to deliver His people. He loves to deliver His people and He did and even then they got through the Red Sea and they forgot. They forgot how God delivered them as they wandered around the wilderness and began to grumble and complain again. We’re hungry, there’s nothing to eat. And you remember that God then sent the manna, not just a little bit of manna, not just barely enough to kind of cut the edge of hunger off them, He always gave them more manna then they needed. He’s a God of abundance. He gives you a feast, a feast in the midst of facing your enemies, your opposition. It’s not just a little meager meal. He doesn’t put you on a diet like I put myself on a diet all the time, but God doesn’t put you on a diet. He gives more than you need of encouragement. He gives you more possibilities then you need. He gives you more; just love and mercy and possibilities so claim that today, people. That’s the table part of this verse. He spreads a table before me.
And He anoints my head with oil, the good host that He is. He anoints your head with oil. And there are two ingredients in oil that I want to talk about today. One is aloe and the other is myrrh. And aloe we know, you all know, is a healing balm and some of you again, like Jeannette, your heart may be broken, you may feel ashamed, you may feel embarrassed, you may be so hurt that you can’t have the strength to hardly get out of bed in the morning. When your heart is broken, when you feel like you’ve cried and cried all night long and there aren’t any tears left, God has His anointing oil, it says here in Psalm 23, “He anoints your head with oil” with that balm, that healing aloe balm.
But it’s also got the myrrh in it. And we know what myrrh is because when Jesus was born, Jesus was given the gift of myrrh, by one of the wise men. You remember that, right, as a foreshadowing of the fact that Jesus was born to die because myrrh was a fragrance, a spice that was used to dress the dead. And yes, when Jesus gave His life for you and for I, Nicodemus asked for His body and when it was buried, Nicodemus anointed the body of Jesus, it says, with aloe and myrrh, fulfilling the prophecy that Jesus was and is today our Messiah.
You know this oil in anointing is so throughout the bible, but I want to read to you a story because I’ve told you, right, what a good host; what was expected of a good host back then? And listen to this story. It’s from Luke seven: One of the Pharisees asked Him, Jesus over for a meal. He went to the Pharisees house and sat down at the dinner table. Just then, a woman of the village, the town harlot having learned that Jesus was a guest in the home of the Pharisee, came with a bottle of very expensive perfume, stood at His feet weeping, raining tears on His feet. Letting down her hair, she dried His feet, kissed them and anointed them with the perfume.
When the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, the Pharisee saying this, if this man Jesus was the prophet I thought He was, He would have known what kind of woman this is who is falling all over Him. Jesus, being able to read his thoughts, said to him, hey Simon, I have something to tell you. Two men were in debt to a banker. One owed five hundred silver pieces, the other fifty. Neither of them could pay up and so the banker cancelled both debts. Which of the two would be more grateful? Simon answered well I suppose the one who was forgiven the most. That’s right, said Jesus. Then turning to the woman but speaking to Simon, He said do you see this woman? I came to your house Simon, in other words you were supposed to be a host, right? You were supposed to greet me with a kiss, you were supposed to wash my feet, you were supposed to anoint my head with oil and you were supposed to give me a table abundant with cups overflowing. But no, you provided no water for My feet, you gave Me no greeting. But from the time I arrived, she hasn’t quit kissing My feet. You provided nothing for freshening up, but she has soothed My feet with perfume. Impressive, isn’t it? She was forgiven many, many, many sins. She is forgiven many, many times over.
Oh the host, God, the heavenly host, has a beautiful abundant feast for you and for me. He has anointed your head with oil; with healing balms, with mercy balms and can we not have the response of this woman. Will you be like the Pharisee and say oh I won’t greet Jesus by kissing His feet. I’m going to forget to pour my worship down on Him. Or will you be like the woman, the woman who didn’t care what anybody thought about her. She didn’t care. All she was thinking about was Jesus and saying thank you to Jesus and worshipping Him.
You know that’s what worship is. It’s not worrying about what other people say about us or think about us. It’s not about me, it’s not about you looking at me and saying why is Sheila raising her hands? Or why is somebody saying hallelujah or amen? It’s about God, it’s about worshipping Him. And those of us who have been forgiven much, those of us whose cups are overflowing, that overflows with worship, we can’t just help ourselves because God lives in our hearts.
You know your cup, too, can overflow and the only reason our cups overflow, men and woman, is because Jesus was willing to drink of the cup. When He prayed and knelt there in the Garden of Gethsemane knowing what lay ahead of Him, you know what He prayed, He prayed Lord if it be possible take this cup from Me. Nevertheless, not My will but Thy will be done. Jesus drank from the cup, He drank from the cup, He gave his life so that you and I, like the woman, can be forgiven, our hearts can be healed, we can have life and love abundantly, our cups overflow.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, thank You for giving Your life. Thank You for drinking of the cup so that our cups can overflow. Oh Lord, fill these, Your people, with Your life, fill them with Your love, fill them with Your Holy Spirit till it overflows. They can’t contain it. It bursts out of them, oh Lord, praises, worship, love. Oh Lord, heal their broken hearts and fill them to overflowing. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.