My Cup Runs Over

By Phillip Kayser · Psalm 23:5c · 10/6/2013


The phrase that we have come to in Psalm 23 is the last one in verse 5. It says, "My cup runs over." It's a beautiful image of God's generosity. And in terms of the chiastic structure of this Psalm, it is in parallel with the first phrase of verse 2, "He makes me to lie down in green pastures." We saw before that when a sheep lies down in green pastures, it is stuffed. There's lots of food there, but it isn't eating; it's lying down. In other words, God has provided more than enough. And if a cup is flowing over, there is more wine in that cup than can be drunk as well. So, with those two word pictures, there are four deductions that we can make.

God provides for us

The first is that God has pledged Himself to provide for all of our needs. In verse 2 He provides more pastures than we could possibly eat, in verse 3 He provides restoration and righteousness. In verse 4 he provides safety and security, in verse 5 he provides a covenant, the oil of joy, and a cup running over. In verse 6 He provides goodness and mercy and an everlasting home. Basically this Psalm is saying that there is no need that you have that He cannot provide for. And He is so willing to provide for your needs that He even names Himself, "I am Your Provider," which is what "Jehovah Jireh" means. To name Himself our provider is an amazing guarantee that we can receive by faith in the Lord's Supper.

God totally satisfies with all his provisions

But the second deduction is that God satisfies when He provides. He doesn't just give you a thimble full to whet our appetite. He pours out all that is needed. Jesus said, "Your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him" (Matt. 6:8) Peter wrote that we can cast all our cares upon Jesus, knowing that He cares for us (1 Pet. 5:7). In John 16:24 He says, "ask, and you will receive."

God gives more than we need

The third deduction that can be made is that God gives more than we need. Our cup runs over. Our cup cannot contain all that God pours into it. This is why verse 1 says that we won't lack anything, and why verse 2 says that we can be so full that we lie down in green pastures, surrounded with provision, and why verse 6 says that goodness and mercy will hunt us down. That shows an eagerness to provide more than we have even asked for. In Jeremiah 31:14 God says, "I will satiate the soul of the priests with abundance, and My people shall be satisfied with My goodness, says the LORD." Not just enough to get by, but more than enough.

God provides for those who are His and who follow

But the last thing that can be deduced is that we need to be close enough to God for Him to pour blessings into the cup in our outstretched hand. If we are turned away from Him, there is nothing for Him to pour into, is there? The earlier promises imply that we are His sheep, that we are following Him in the paths of righteousness. Which only makes sense — sheep can't expect to be fed if they are running away from the Shepherd. And in the same way, Jesus said, "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you." (John 15:7) When did God call Himself Jehovah Jireh? It was after Abraham followed Him in radical obedience.


When people were selling you grain in Ethiopia, they wanted you to know that they were giving you a full measure. They would fill up the can with grain, and then pound the can on the ground to pack it down and to settle the grain so that more could fit in, and then they would pack it again, and then keep pouring on to the top until the can was flowing over, and then quickly pour that into your bag. And in the same way, Jesus said, "Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you" (Luke 6:38).

In the Lord's Table you are giving yourself to God and God is giving Himself to you. With the same measure that you give it will be given to you. If you are sold out and say, "Lord, you have my all," God will give you His all, which is more than you can hold.

That's the beauty of entering into covenant with God. Pagans might think that we are making a big sacrifice when we consecrate our lives to Him. No. He gives good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over. So as you come to the Lord's Table, give Him a full measure and rejoice that He has not only given You His Son, but with Him, freely gives you all things. Amen.