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God’s Word for You

Psalm 23:5 Table, oil and cup

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Friday, May 25, 2018

5 You set a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
  You perfume my head with oil.
  My cup overflows.

Table, oil, and cup—all these point to the ceremonial meals eaten by the Jews when they were at worship in the temple, at the tabernacle, and even at home. “Prepare a table” recalls a phrase (shulchan orech) in the Passover meal, in which the guests are given the meal to eat—the meal in which every bite recalls the greatness of God as he rescued his people from their bondage in Egypt. Is that what David is thinking of as he confesses that God “prepares a table” not only in front of David but in front of David’s enemies, too?

Whether or not this is the thought in David’s mind, his words tell us that God is providing for him everything that he needs, and that God is doing it out in the open. And in the same way, Jesus’ victory over the devil is not something hidden. It’s the victory Jesus announced to the entire spiritual world when he descended into hell before his resurrection (Colossians 2:15), and which he announced to the entire physical world in his word (Luke 24:45-48). God’s blessings are lavished on us, and they will be even greater in heaven.

In the meantime, the devil also knows he lost the great battle. That means he’s going to try to win as many little battles as he can before his time is up. Knowing that God prepares a table for us in the presence of our enemies should make us want to invite as many people as we can to the banquet of God’s word.

The word I’ve translated “perfume” is not the usual word in Hebrew for anointing someone into an office, as in Exodus 28:41. That word, massiah, is the root of our word Messiah, “Christ.” Here, David is just talking about a good host who puts a little scent on his guests to welcome them into his home and give a pleasant odor to travelers. It’s one of many blessings David thinks of when he realizes that God is our true host. There are enough blessings to go around—more than enough. Our cup overflows.

But the time is short. Invite a friend to the banquet of our forgiveness in Jesus.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim SmithAbout Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. His wife, Kathryn, attended the Chapel from 1987-1990 while studying Secondary Education (Theater and Math) at UW-Madison. Kathryn’s father, John Meyer, was also the first man to serve as a Vicar at Chapel.

To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.

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