Our Shepherd, Our Host.
As we continue in Psalm 23, we see a change in perspective. David stops relating to God as his Shepherd, and instead refers to Him as his Host. God is not only our Shepherd, He is our Host. Let’s see how Psalm 23 refers to God as our Host. “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows.” Psalms 23:5 NASB
Our Host protects us.
In Old Testament culture, it was customary for the host to take on all responsibilities of the care and protection of his guests. As soon as you stepped foot inside your host’s home, he was fully responsible for your protection. Imagine going to someone’s house knowing that while you are there your host would take a bullet for you. That’s the kind of confidence David had in the Lord. The Lord invites us to live in His presence. As we abide in Him, we are His guests and He takes on all responsibilities for our protection. He protects us physically, but He also protects us spiritually. We have enemies. Satan, the world and the flesh are all out to consume us, steal our peace and joy, ruin our testimony and take us captive to sin. When we are abiding in Christ and enjoying His presence daily our enemies have no power over us. Yes, they still attack, but Christ our Host protects us so that we are not enslaved. Psalm 18:30 reminds us that we have a shield when we take refuge in our Host. “As for God, His way is blameless; The word of the LORD is tried; He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.”
Our Host welcomes us.
Another custom of Old Testament culture was to anoint your guest’s head with oil as a sign of honor. It shows that you are welcoming this person in and are glad to have them in your home. Christ, our Host, welcomes us into His presence. He is glad to spend time with us. The King of Kings and Lord of Lords is glad to spend time with us. He wants to have a relationship with us. That’s the whole reason that He sent Jesus to earth to die for our sins and take the punishment we deserved. Jesus died because God wants to spend eternity with us. He wants a relationship with us. We are welcomed in to His family the second we repent of our sins and accept His free gift of salvation. Peter makes this clear when he is talking about how God welcomes all to Himself, not just the Jewish people. “Opening his mouth, Peter said: “I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him.” (Acts 10:34-35 NASB) I’m so thankful that God welcomes me. May I never neglect the privilege of being able to spend time in His presence.
Our Host blesses us.
An overflowing cup is a sign of generosity. The Host David is illustrating generously gives His guest the very best wine and then proceeds to fill the cup until it overflows. He doesn’t skimp. He gives generously. Not only does our Good Shepherd make sure our needs are met, but our Host blesses us abundantly. I don’t think I realize how often I put God in a box of my own design. I try to contain Him by saying this is the cup I have and He can only fill this cup, but God wants to fill my cup until it overflows. I need to stop limiting God by telling Him how He should work and instead sit back and wait expectantly for Him to show up in huge ways. Ephesians 3:20 reminds us that God is so much bigger and better than we can ever imagine and His plan for us is bigger and better than our wildest dreams. “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21 NASB) Will I let Him bless me for His glory or will I put limits on Him because of my lack of faith? Our Host blesses us and all we have to do is be thankful!