You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
There is a very important idea that we must grasp as we study the Bible: All Scripture points toward Jesus. Obviously, the four Gospels talk directly about our Lord, and the Acts and Epistles extend that to explain His teachings, and in Revelation Christ Jesus speaks to John about the final judgment and resurrection. Those are the easy ones. And in many places, the New Testament TELLS us just what the Old Testament has said about the Christ. But even in other places in the Old Testament, we need to be conscious of this constant reference to the coming Messiah.
Quickly answer this question: What is the most famous meal in the whole Bible?
The Last Supper of our Lord, of course – a Passover meal. And where did it take place? In Jerusalem, the place where Jesus was soon to be crucified. And what happened on their way to Jerusalem, when they had stopped at nearby Bethany the night before? A woman anointed Christ’s head with oil.
Now read Psalm 23:5 again as if Jesus Himself were saying it:
You prepare a table before Me in the presence of My enemies;
You anoint My head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Now read the Gospel accounts about the Last Supper (Matthew 26:17-30, Mark 14:12-26, Luke 22:7-38, John 13-16), and then think on these questions:
*What meal does God prepare for us through Christ?
*Who are those who are anointed with oil in the Bible, especially the Old Testament?
*What does Jesus say when He hands the cup of wine to His disciples?
The meal that is prepared for us is Christ’s own Body and Blood, the sacrifice that must be made to atone for our sins. The anointed are often kings, but more often they are priests (Exodus 28:41 et al.) – the same ones who intercede between Israel and God, presenting offerings and guiding the people. And finally:
27 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”
As we contemplate Psalm 23, meditating on God’s peace and providence, let us not forget the table that is laid before us: the Blood and Body of Christ. Let us not forget that as believers in Christ, we are a “holy priesthood,” a “royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people.” (1 Peter 2:5,9) And finally let us not forget that the cup of salvation is always full and is available for ALL mankind. This table is not just for us, it is for us to SHARE with our enemies, because God “is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9) Jesus died “that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3:17) Let us bring the “table” to the world.
Gracious and Loving Father, You have forgiven my sins and provide that same opportunity for all. Guide me, Lord God, to bring this bountiful gift to all, even to those who persecute me. Protect me as I go into the midst of darkness to bring the light of the gospel, and teach me to forgive my enemies so completely that they will seek Your face even as I do now. Amen.