…My cup runs over

Referencing The Lord is my Shepherd…

This part of the verse has always evoked thoughts of abundance. I always imagined this abundance to be what is bestowed on me by God and rightly so but from the last lesson on ‘…you anoint my head with oil‘ I discovered a unique link between the anointing which represents the Holy Spirit and His power and one’s cup running over. Let me draw the parallel.

When  God anoints us it is with the Holy Spirit and with Power and wherever the Holy Spirit is, the manifestation is as of a river.

“…Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them”. By this He meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. John 7: 38-39 NIV

Rivers are not stagnant. They flow. Every river has a source and the river of the Holy Spirit has its source from the presence of God.

Then the angel showed me a river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb. Revelations 22:1 Berean Study Bible

In the book of Ezekiel 47, the prophet Ezekiel has a vision of this same river that flows from the presence of God. This river had its source right from the temple of God which represents the presence of God. The more Ezekiel ventured into the river, the deeper it got; from ankle-deep to the point where it was too deep to stand in, too deep to cross.

This is the type of abundance God promises when we are anointed with the Holy Spirit. There will be an overflow in our lives. The caveat is that the more of the Holy Spirit you have, the deeper you will get into this river of God (God’s presence, the knowledge of God, the experience of God) and the greater your overflow. As you may have realized, I am not speaking of overflow and abundance in terms of what you get from God but what pours out of you. Think about the scripture again….my cup runs over. What is inside of you that fills your cup and then pours out to the people around you?

Let’s get back to the analogy of the river in Ezekiel 47.

Then he led me back to the bank of the river. When I arrived there, I saw a great number of trees on each side of the river. He said to me, “This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah, where it enters the Dead Sea. When it empties into the sea, the salty water there becomes fresh. Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows. There will be large numbers of fish, because this water flows there and makes the salt water fresh; so where the river flows everything will live… Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear fruit, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.” Ezekiel 47: 6-12 NIV

When this river that flowed into the Dead Sea, it changed the very nature and composition of the water from salty to fresh. Wherever the river flowed there was life; fish, trees, fruits. There was life. So I ask again; what is your cup overflowing with? Do you bring freshness to the saltiness of life around you? Does your presence bring life to those who are dead emotionally, spiritually and even physically? Or do you suck the life out of people when they hang around you?

Now let’s talk fruit. In Ezekiel’s vision, wherever the river flowed it brought with it, fruit. The presence of the Holy Spirit in one’s life will be evidenced by the fruit He brings.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, [and] self-control. Gal 5:22-23 ESV

The one thing I just noticed about this scripture is that even though it lists 9 qualities they are all described as one fruit, not fruits! The same spirit that brings love, brings joy and the other 7 fruit with it. So I ask yet again? What is overflowing from your cup? Is it Love? Joy? Peace? Patience? Kindness? Goodness? Faithfulness? Gentleness? Self-control?

In Ezekiel’s vision where ever the river went, fruit never failed. Every month they will bear fruit, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Are you lacking in these fruit that the river of the Holy Spirit brings? Pray to be anointed with more of God’s Spirit; Draw close in relationship with God; Be intentional in spending time in His presence.

It’s the river of God’s spirit that flows from the presence of God which will keep you bearing fruits day after day…month after month… in season and out of season. Then you’ll love everyone in spite of, you’ll have joy in spite of, you’ll have peace in spite of… and demonstrate all the other gifts even in your off seasons.  So for the last time I ask…

WHAT IS FLOWING OUT OF YOUR CUP?

…You anoint my head with oil

…Referencing The Lord is my Shepherd… and  The Lighthouse Keeper

David, as a shepherd is using this elaborate description of how he relates with his flock to describe his relationship with God. So why does a shepherd anoint the heads of his sheep?

Sheep as does other livestock get afflicted with flies, ticks, lice and other insects.  These little insects would especially attack the most vulnerable part of the sheep: the head, burrowing into their ears and noses. This would result in range of symptoms from mild irritation to death. To prevent this, the shepherd would anoint the head of the sheep with a concoction of olive oil (sometimes with herbs mixed in there for perfume), especially rubbing the oil  around its nose, eyes, and ears. The oil was a protection and a repellent against evil.

Many times in our lives we are “bugged” by many challenges but often it is the “little things” that cause many a Christian to lose heart, to get discouraged, or to get upset and offended. We are left disheartened and it steals our joy. I started this blog series with my first post on gracious conversations recounting a conversation I had with a friend that has probably had lasting irreparable damage. I think of conversations I have had with others where I have felt offended.  I ruminate on the things in the conversation that did not sit right with me and  dwell on them till they grow out of proportion in my head tearing down every hope of ever giving the other person the benefit of the doubt or having a discussion or even allowing for reparation. It’s like a little bug that crawls up the sheep’s ear into its brain and gnaws at the tissues till the sheep gets sick or dies. These little bugs ruin friendships, kills marriages, tears families apart, and split churches. So what is the cure?

We need the shepherd to anoint our heads with oil. When Jesus Christ our shepherd started his ministry on earth, He modeled this for all of us. He himself was anointed by God and he went about doing good to everyone; even the most undeserving of sinners.

…how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him. Acts 10:38 NIV

We need the Holy Spirit in our lives more than ever before.  To overcome in the battle that rages in our minds… we need the anointing of the Holy Spirit and the power that comes from Him. Oil is a symbolism of God’s spirit. Whenever anyone was anointed in the bible, we know that the Spirit of God came upon them (case in point: David)

So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came powerfully upon David. Samuel then went to Ramah. 1 Samuel 16:13 NIV

So when we ask God to anoint our heads with oil, we are asking God to repel any evil from us. We are asking God protect us from seen and unseen forces; but more especially to protect our minds and guard our eye gate, our ear gate, our nose gate, and our mouth gate against all forms of attack from “little bugs” or even the big ones. We are asking for the enablement of the Holy Spirit for this purpose and His power to rest upon us so that we can overcome these little foxes that ruin the vine. We are asking God to help us be open to all people, to not hold grudges, or keep malice. We are asking for the ability to love freely without holding back, or being trapped in unforgiveness. And among other things, we are asking God to break every bondage that we have been subjected to by our minds by bringing all thoughts under the authority of Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 10:5) because the anointing breaks yokes (Isaiah 10:27 KJV)!

When our minds are free from the grudges, the unforgiveness, the malice then the second part of this verse becomes a reality: my cup runs over. Love will pour out of us like a river;  Joy will pour our of us like a river; Peace will pour out of us like a river. For where ever the Spirit is…. there is a river….

“…Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them”. By this He meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. John 7: 38-39 NIV

Stay tuned for ‘…my cup runs over’ and be intentional in living out your faith.