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Psalm 23:5-6

Psalm 23:5-6

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Sermon: The LORD is the Host
Bible Passage: Psalm 23:5-6

I. Two important metaphors used in Psalm 23

1. Shepherd
2. Host

II. Verses 5-6 must be understood in the background of hospitality the Bible-culture

1. Abraham (Gen 18:1-12)
2. Lot (Gen 19:1-3)
3. Early Christians (Heb 13:2;1 1 Tim 3:22)
4. The nameless woman, a sinner, who Jesus compliments (Luke 7:44-463)

III. Observations on the imagery:

1. Generally, the hosts see strangers from far and run towards them (takes the initiative)
2. Irrespective of the nationality and ethnicity, hosts show hospitality with extravagance
3. The hosts protect the guests from abuse and harm from their enemies
4. The guests stay short time at the hosts’ house
5. The act of hospitality fosters lasting relationships (reciprocal)
6. Hospitality was one of the greatest spiritual acts of the Bible culture

IV. Setting of verses 5-6

1. The psalmist was in a rough patch of his life with enemy pursuing him
2. The psalmist probably was in a vulnerable state

a. Hungry, thirsty, and sun-scorched
b. Pursuit of enemy

3. The psalmist was the LORD’s honored guest (metaphorically perceived)

a. Like Abraham, the LORD probably ran to the guests
b. Like Abraham, the LORD probably brought the guests into the tent
c. Like Abraham, the LORD showed extravagance to the psalmist
d. The hospitality is not based on the worth of the guest, but it is based on the worth of the Host

V. Psalm 23:5a: “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies”

1. The Host provides the psalmist with much needed provision at his time of vulnerability

a. A place of acceptance, love, and honor
b. A place of shelter and provision

2. The Host protects the guest from his enemies

a. The enemy is not absent, but he is powerless in the presence of the Host
b. He is either stalking to kill or to accuse, but the Host provides protective cover

VI. Psalm 23:5b: You anoint my head with oil

1. Olive oil refreshes skin from sun-burn and injury
2. The Host pouring olive oil on the guest’s head points to the generosity and care of the host to promote renewal, joy, and healing of his weary-wounded guest
3. Jesus criticizes the Pharisee for not anointing His head with oil (Luke 7:46)
4. The host, the LORD, refreshes the weary traveler and provides the psalmist with abundance of healing grace

VII. Psalm 23:5c “my cup overflows”

1. Extravagance of the host
2. The “cup” refers to the table overflowing with prepared food
3. The LORD provides the psalmist with generous provisions

VIII. Psalm 23:6a “Surely goodness and mercy shall pursue me all the days of my life”

1. Before the psalmist met with the Host, he was pursued by his enemies
2. Now, “goodness” and “mercies” will pursue him—“goodness” and “mercy” are personified
3. They are the metonyms/substitute names for the LORD

a. Goodness (Exod 33:19-204)

i. What is the “goodness of God”?
ii. It is explained in Exod 34:6-7: the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin

b. Mercy “Hesed”—utter dependability

i. It refers to a situation where a needy partner depends on another for deliverance
ii. And the deliverer delivers freely

IX. Psalm 23:6 b: “and I will return to the house of the Lord the length of my days”

1. The hospitality of the Host changed the confidence of the psalmist
2. The psalmist develops a deep appreciation and love for the Host
3. The psalmist takes a resolution to return to the house of the Lord (habitual practice)

X. Jesus is the real Host (John 6:35): Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. The one who comes to me will never go hungry, and the one who believes in me will never be thirsty

Take Away:

Return to the house of the Lord to stay away from your enemies and be continuously nourished

Speaker: William J. Subash

Born and raised in south India, William J. Subash became a follower of Jesus Christ in 1983 at the age of nineteen. After a brief career in a tea and coffee plantation, Subash decided to spend rest of his life to preach about Jesus and his life-transforming message of God, which is popularly known as “the Gospel.” Subash teaches New Testament Studies at two institutions: SAIACS in India and Liberty University Online, VA, USA. Currently, Subash serves as the chief point person for GROW Gospel Initiatives and the Lead Pastor of the Crossroad Church, Bangalore. Write to him at wjsubash@crossroadbangalore.org