The Satisfaction of the Sheep

Tim Trumper

READ : Psalm 23
2 Samuel 12:1-14

My cup runs over. (Psalm 23:5c NKJV)

Do you remember learning abbreviations as a child? I particularly recall learning about “etc.” It had a certain appeal–a sort of shorthand for “You know the rest.” In a sense David is adding here his etc. He does so not because of laziness, but because the Lord’s blessings are so many and so rich that he cannot retell them all.

At first sight, David’s language seems odd. Since when do sheep drink from cups? Call to mind, however, Nathan’s parable in exposing David’s adultery with Bathsheba. In it the prophet spoke of the poor man (Uriah the Hittite) who took his one little ewe lamb (Bathsheba) into his house and nourished her from his cup. The illustration was based on the custom of shepherds during times of winter or sickness, when lambs needed closer attention. It was the ancient equivalent of bottle-feeding.

Once again David is underlining the generosity of the Lord’s love and providence. Our great Shepherd takes us to himself tenderly and personally, granting us times of joy in his nearer presence. There he nourishes us one-on-one as if we’re the only sheep in his flock. Hence David’s wonder: “my cup runs over.”


Good Shepherd, I praise you for those times in your nearer presence. Thank you for sharing your cup of blessing with me and filling it so that it runs over. Amen.