Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Psalm 23:5
There seems to be no period of David’s life in which he could have used this expression in reference purely to temporal circumstances. As a shepherd boy there were many hardships and discomforts. When he lived in the courts of Saul, his position was far too perilous to afford him joy. The king hated him and sought his life many times. During his exile, his haunts were in the dens and caves of the mountains and the lone places of the wilderness. When he came to be king over Israel, the house of Saul warred against him, and then the Philistines took up arms. Later, after his great sin with Bathsheba, his troubles were incessant and must have well nigh broken the old man’s heart. His long trial with Absalom was one of many in which first one member of his family and then another departed from the paths of right. We cannot, therefore, take the text and say, “This is the exclamation of a man in easy circumstances, who was never tried.”
Why does the believer’s cup run over? First, because having Christ we have in Him all things (Romans 8:32). Secondly, the infinite God Himself is ours, because He has said, “I am thy God” (Isaiah 41:10). What a portion is this! What cup can hold your God?
Now, if God has filled your cup, let us first adore Him; let it run over upon the altar of worship. Next, keep your cup where it is. The cup will not run over long if you take it from where the spring pours into it. The grateful heart runs over because the fountain of grace runs over. Lastly, call in your friends to get the overflow. Christian people ought to be like cascades, always running over and so causing other falls, which cause fresh cascades, and beauty is joyfully magnified. If you get the joy of God in your heart, go and tell it to poor weeping Mary and doubting Thomas. It may be that God has sent you the running over that those who were ready to faint might be refreshed.