Psalms 23:5

Take your Bible and turn to Psalms 23 and we are going to focus on verse 5.

I believe you will find the heartbeat of Godís word.

Before we start, let me tell you what the devil wants you to do.

The devil wants you to think negatively about God.

Thatís what he does.

He wants you, when you think of God, not to have good feelings.

He wants you to have negative feelings.

Because if he can get you to thinking negatively about God, he can do anything with you he wants.

What did he do in the Garden of Eden when he came to Eve?

There when he appeared as the serpent?

When he first crawled his slimy crawly tail into the pages of history...

He asked Eve a question.

He said, "Did God say that you should not eat of the fruit of every tree in the garden?"

Now God had not said that.

God did not say of every tree in the garden.

God said right the opposite.

You are free to eat from any tree in the garden...

With the exception of one tree.

You are free to eat.

You see what the devil did?

He tried to make Eve think negatively of God...

And he is still doing that job today.

And people today think of God as some kind of cosmic killjoy.

They think that every time God sees someone having a good time he moves in to break up the party.

And people think negatively about God.

And when they think about serving God they think it is something they have to do to get to heaven.

Not something they want to do.

Itís like taking bad medicine in order to get well.

You donít like the taste of the medicine but you choke it down in order to get well.

But this is a completely distorted ideal of the goodness of our great God.

I want to talk to you today about how to feel good about God.

Look in Psalm 23. Read verses 1-5.

In this verse 5, there is much to make you feel good about God.

#1 Ė we have a prepared table.

You prepare a table before me.

That means God sets the table.

Who sets the table in your house?

You say, "It all depends" depends on what?

It depends on who is coming.

If no one is coming, Brenda lets me set the table sometimes and I never get it right.

She says, "How can you be a college graduate and not get the silverware right?"

Sometimes Janette sets the table.

But when company is coming, Brenda sets the table.

No longer do we have the paper towels...

We get cloth napkins.

The best china Ė flowers Ė candles.

Everything is just right...

And when the guests come in and I say, "You just have to take us as we are"...

Do you know why you set the table that way?

To honor the one who has come.

You see, here is what David is saying.

God has put on an apron.

God, Jehovah, has prepared a table for me.

The Lord of glory has prepared a table for me.

He welcomes me...Iím special to him.

Then it says, "You anoint my head with oil."

In a Middle Eastern home, a wealthy home, there would be a carafe of oil by the door, expensive ointment, perfume.

And when a very important guest would come in...

Maybe a family member who had been gone for a long time...

Or someone that you dearly love...

Someone that you want to see...

The person receiving that person would kiss him on the cheek and reach into that bowl of ointment and put it on the face and the head of his guest.

He would refresh him.

They called it "the anointing of the head".

And the rest of the feast that person would smell that perfume that was on him.

They do something like that in Hawaii. They put a lei around your neck and you smell those flowers.

Itís the way of saying, "Welcome, you are special."

If the next-door neighbor came over to borrow an egg, they didnít anoint.

It wasnít something special.

Do you remember the story when Mary took that bottle of perfume and broke it over Jesusí head and feet?

There was a man there named Simon, and Simon and others were complaining.

And Jesus said, "Simon, you didnít anoint my head when I came in...

You didnít show me that reverence and respect...

But this woman did...

Not only did she anoint my head, but my feet."

You see, this says that you are very special and just to make you feel good.

Youíre special.

Not only was there the prepared table...

And the anointing of the head...

But there was the overflowing cup.

My cup overflows.

In Bible times they didnít have the hotels and motels and restaurants that we have today.

Now there were a few inns...

But most of them were dirty and filthy and the few there were, were crowded.

Remember there was no room in the in for Jesus.

They were expensive and many times immoral.

But there was a law in the land, the law of hospitality.

If you were traveling and you came to a manís house in the middle of the day and asked for food...

It would be absolutely unthinkable for him to let you go on without feeding you.

It was just simply the law of the land.

A stranger would be invited in and given a meal.

Now suppose that stranger came at about evening...

And you fed him and you did your duty and itís time for him to go on.

But suppose you like this person, they are interesting people...

And you decide you want them to stay.

This is what they would do.

The host would take his cup at the end of the meal, it was empty.

And he would take the cup when it was time to go and he would fill the cup half full.

And what that meant was, "Mister, when you finish your dessert, youíd better hit the road."

He wouldnít have to say a word.

But if the host would come with that cup and take the pitcher and pour the cup full and let it overflow...

That meant that you were special.

I love you and youíre invited to stay in my home overnight as a special guest.

Thatís what David is saying.

He is saying, "Look! Jehovah has prepared a table for me...

Iím special Ė Jehovah has anointed my head...

My cup runneth over...

He is showing hospitality to me...

He is my friend."

Who is our Jehovah?

The Lord Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd.

And Jesus said in John 15:15...

I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his masterís business. Instead, I have called you friends.

Isnít that beautiful?

You donít think negatively about a friend.

Somebody said, "A friend is someone that knows all about you...

And loves you just the same."

Or a friend is someone that goes on liking you no matter how successful either one of you become.

Here is another one: A friend is someone who believes in you when you cease to believe in yourself.

Or: A friend is a source of celebration when you have come to believe there is nothing to celebrate.

All of these things picture Jesus Christ as the friend of sinners.

What a friend we have in Jesus!

He prepares a table...

He anoints my head with oil...

My cup overflows.

Donít you ever let the devil get you to thinking negatively about God.

As you think about the prepared table...

Think of the fullness we have in Christ.

The fullness we have in Christ.

Jesus Christ meets the deepest needs we have in our hearts.

Jesus Christ satisfies the deepest longings, the deepest hungers of your heart.

Jesus satisfies.

Did you know that the Bible is a continual feast from Genesis to Revelations?

They are always having banquets and feasts.

I was thinking about all the banquets and meals our Lord prepared for his disciples, the Good Shepherd.

For example, how Jesus fed the 5,000.

He prepared a table of replenishment when there was inadequacy.

He has done that for me so many times.

I feel so inadequate.

I run out of resources.

And the Lord prepares a table before me.

And quite frankly, I need it.

I donít deserve it and I canít quite explain it.

How he meets my needs day by day.

And Iím not just talking about physical needs, itís much more than that.

Let me ask you a question: is there any way you can explain the feeding of the 5,000?

There is no way except God.

Let me ask you this question:

What is there about your life that cannot be explained apart from God?

Did you know that is the only part you can call believable?

If your neighbor can explain you...

You are just like him except you are religious.

And friend, thatís not going to convince him.

But when he sees a God who is supernaturally meeting your needs...

Preparing for you a table of replenishment...

Then you are going to be believable.

Not only a table of replenishment...

But how about a table of restoration?

Do you remember when Simon Peter cursed and swore and denied the Lord Jesus?

Jesus was crucified after that and was raised from the dead.

And his disciples were discouraged and they werenít sure, half-believing, half-doubting.

Peter said, "I am going fishing", and the others went with him.

They had gone back to Galilee.

But Jesus said, "Tarry in Jerusalem until you have been given power from on high."

They had been disobedient and disillusioned.

And they had fished all night and hadnít caught a thing.

Thatís the way it is when I go.

But Jesus called out by the shore...

"Have you caught anything?"

Donít you hate it when people do that?

Have you caught anything?

They said, "No".

He said, "Why donít you throw your net on the other side?"

And they did, and you remember they caught all those fish.

And old Peter knew it was Jesus.

He said, "Itís the Lord."

He jerked off his fishermanís coat and jumped in to go to Jesus.

And when he got there...

What had the Lord done?

He had prepared a table.

There were fish on those hot coals and hot bread...

Now I can understand where he got the fish...

He was by the Sea of Galilee.

But where did he get that bread?

I really donít know.

But I like to think he turned stones into bread.

Iíll do it when I want to, Satan.

Not when you want me to.

Now can you imagine fishing all night?

You know how hungry you get when youíve been working nets all night...

And itís breakfast time...

And there on the shore...mmmm....

You can smell that baked bread.

And Jesus says, "Come and dine."

Thou preparest a table before me.

Not only a table of replenishment...

But a table of restoration.

Have you failed him?

Probably you havenít cursed and sworn and denied him like Peter did...

But I want to tell you my dear, failing friend...

Jesus said, "Come and dine."

And just before he was crucified...

He had the Passover feast and he sat down with them and broke the bread and passed the cup.

And said, "This do in remembrance of me."

Not only a table of replenishment...

And a table of restoration...

But a table of remembrance and redemption.

Oh thank God Ė that we can sit down and feast at the table he has prepared for us.

But listen, the best table is yet to come.

Jesus said, "Iím not going to drink this cup again, until I drink it with you anew in the kingdom."

Where is that going to be?

At the marriage supper of the lamb.

There is yet a feast weíre coming to.

Our Lord who is preparing a place is also preparing a feast.

One of these days weíre going to sit down at that table up yonder...

Because one of these days he will come.

And weíre going to be caught up to meet the Lord in the air.

And weíre going to sit down at that table.

Now listen, friend, donít you think negatively about God.

When the Bible describes our salvation...

It doesnít describe our salvation as a funeral but as a feast.

You prepare a table before me.

So first of all I want you to think of the fullness we have in Christ.

But the second think I want you to think about...

That ought to make you feel good about God...

I want you to think about the freshness we have in Christ.

You anoint my head with oil.

Now what was that for?

My dear friend, that was to refresh you.

Psalms 92:10...put this in your margin...

I shall be anointed with fresh oil.

And how about this one?

Psalms 45:7: You love righteousness and hate wickedness, therefore God, your God has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.

Fresh oil Ė the oil of joy.

What does that tell me?

He is telling me there ought to be a refreshing.

There ought to be a sweet aroma about serving the Lord.

Hey, donít feel sorry for me, because I am a Christian...

I am having a wonderful time.

And I want to tell you something, his mercies are new every morning.

Every morning he anoints me with fresh oil.

I was thinking about this at my desk...

Is there fresh oil every morning?

And I and to put down my pen and praise the Lord.

And I can say in my heart, it is still exciting to me.

And I thank God for the freshness in Christ.

Other things get old.

But friend, he just gets better, sweeter and more real.

He satisfies all my needs.

Yes, there is the fullness in Christ.

He prepares a table.

There is that freshness in Chrsit.

That fragrance of Christ...that beauty of Christ...that reality of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Donít you ever let the devil get you to thinking negatively about God.

Now there is a third thing...

That makes me feel good about God.

Not only the fullness in Christ...

And the freshness in Christ...

But the freeness.

That we have in Christ.

My cup overflows.

When he gives Ė he gives so freely.

So lavishly...

So wondrously...

God is a God of the open hand.

And the open heart.

God is not stingy.

God doesnít hold back.

You see in that passage on the good shepherd, John 10:10...

Jesus said: I come that you might have life...but not just life...

Iíve come that you might have life...and have it how?


Not only does he add years to our life...

He adds life to our years.

And itís abundant life.

When Jesus turned the water into wine.

In John chapter 2...

Do you know how much wine the Bible scholars say he made that day? 120 gallons of the best wine.

They didnít need 120 gallons...

Their cup overflowed.

Let me give you another example...

When Jesus fed the 5,000 with the little boyís sack lunch...

This was wonderful.

But wait a minute; after he fed the 5,000 there were 12 baskets left!

That was more than he started with.

Our cup runneth over.

Listen, he speaks of peace...

Not just peace, but peace that passes all understanding.

He speaks of joy Ė but not just joy...

Joy that is unspeakable and full of glory.

When the Prodigal Son came back, he said, "Kill the fatted calf", not just a chicken.

The fatted calf Ė the best.

And bring forth the best robe and put it on him...

He is not talking about necessities, he is talking about luxuries.

He is talking about out of his infinite goodness and fullness he keeps on giving and giving and giving...

Have you ever thought about God that way?

As the giving God Ė the lavish God...

God doesnít measure his blessings drop by drop...

Our cup runs over.

A little girl went to the bank to cash a check...she got her money and counted it and then counted again...until she had counted it three times.

The teller asked her, "Is something wrong? Are you short some money?"

She said, "It is just all there."

Friends, God throws in a few extra dollars.

God doesnít measure his blessings Ė we ought to be like that.

The Bible says, "Freely you have received, freely give."

Do you know what some folks I know would do?

When God gives that way and their cup runs over?

They donít let it run over, they want a bigger cup.

You donít have to have a bigger cup.

Remember that man in the Bible who had such a large harvest that he said, "I donít have enough barns to hold it all."

He said, "I know what Iíll do...

Iíll tear down my barns and build bigger barns...

I donít want it to run over...

I donít want it to bless anybody else...

I want it all for me."

No, listen.

Freely you have received Ė freely you should give.

Let the cup run over.

Let it be a blessing to somebody else.

His love has no limit...

His grace has no measure...

His power has no boundary known unto man.

What do we have in the Lord Jesus?

We have fullness in Christ Ė he prepares a table.

We have freshness in Christ Ė he anoints our head.

We have freeness in Christ Ė our cup overflows.

Donít let the devil get you to thinking negatively about God.

I want you to hear Jesus saying to you...

"I prepare a table for you...come and dine."