For quite a while I’ve been pondering the last few phrases of “The Shepherd Song.” As always, I ask you to consider Scripture first, before you think about what I’m thinking.
I believe we’ll agree that the analogy with which the Psalm began sort of “shifts gears” or changes toward the end. Instead of the Lord being our “Shepherd” and our being His “sheep,” it sounds a little different now, doesn’t it? Sheep don’t eat at tables. Or get their heads “annointed with oil.” Or drink from cups that are “running over.” At least, no sheep I’ve ever known outside Gary Larsen’s comic strip.
“My Cup Runs over.” I’m not sure exactly what that means.
What do YOU think?
This is a phrase with which I’ve wrestled for quite some time. I know the Scriptures speak about the lavish love God displays for His children. But I’m honestly not able to just glibly say something on this phrase. I’m not certain we really understand what it means when we say our “cup runs over.”
When I see people living in more house than they need or can afford, and hear them say: “It’s a blessing from God,” I just kinda scratch my head and wonder. Or when I see people driving obscenely luxurious automobiles, yachts, planes, etc., and say “God provided it,” I scratch my head again and it isn’t because I have dandruff. Gold plumbing, air-conditioned and heated dog houses? God provided that? Really? Is that a reliable sign that your “cup runneth over?” Or could it be a sign of obscene, self-indulgent extravagance?
One of the most vulgar scenes I believe I’ve ever seen on television was one night a while back when a famous “televangelist” had his musical entourage perform. The members of the group were beautifully coiffed, handsomely attired in formal evening wear, and their harmony was flawless. They performed very smoothly, gracefully strolling under colored lights in and out among luxurious autos (a Cadillac convertible, a Rolls, and one or two other beautiful, expensive machines). They were singing: “The Old Rugged Cross!!”
How does that make someone feel who has no paycheck and may not know where their next meal is coming from? Or how they’ll pay medical bills? Or where they’ll live?
When we’re “rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing” (in the way of material things). . . does that mean our “cup runs over?”
My immediate reaction is that I don’t think the phrase means unlimited material prosperity. In fact, I’m quite certain that is NOT what it means. I’ve never placed any stock in any superficial ministerial mentality that would reduce Christianity to a prosperity cult. Not when I see a Man brutally, publicly executed like He was a common criminal and then had to be buried in a borrowed tomb. Not after I’ve heard Him say: “The foxes have holes. The birds of the air have nests. But the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” Or, “If any one would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”
I’m certain you’re aware of the statement that the difference between a pessimist and an optimist is that the pessimist sees the glass “half empty.” The optimist sees the glass “half full.” Some things do depend upon your point of view. But you cannot wonder whether something is “overflowing” or not. It would be apparent. The question is: “With WHAT is the cup overflowing?”
OF COURSE the house is a blessing. Of course, so is the auto and your other possessions. ALL your possessions. And your wife and your life. As well as every breath you draw and every heartbeat. “Every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father above,” and it is a right and good thing that we “praise God from whom all blessings flow.” But it might improve our perspective if we realize the Eternal God is probably not as preoccupied with temporary “trinkets” as we are. When He really, truly fills our lives so that our “cups run over,” you may rest assured it is not going to be simply more “stuff.”
In this case, the Psalmist is speaking of abundance. What I call: DIVINE EXTRAVAGANCE. The cup is “running over.”
Running over with what? Would you take that to mean he has more “stuff” than he needs or ever can use or give away. And one day he’ll leave it all behind, unable to drag it with him “through the valley of the shadow of death?” We can allow ourselves to become intoxicated with the idea of bigger and better homes. Faster, more expensive cars. Finer clothes. And NONE OF IT will fill the God-shaped vacuum at the center of the soul, much less causes our “cup” to “run over.”
Do you know anyone who’s “rich” in possessions and miserable in almost every other way? Their “cup” has been “running over” with accomplishments and acquisitions, but nothing ever seems to be enough. And their souls are like a “troubled sea when it cannot rest.” Churning, and always yearning for more and bigger and better “stuff,” yet always lamenting (even if perhaps privately) that they “can’t get no satisfaction.”
David had to be thinking about something else. He HAD TO BE THINKING OF SOMETHING ELSE.
How about your “cup?” Ever give serious thought to that? Empty? Half full? What’s in it? I’m convinced something can be done about that, and for my part I intend to lift my “cup” toward the Lord and ask Him to fill it to overflowing with the “right stuff.”
HIs servant, your friend and fellow student, donkimrey
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