"You anoint my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessing." Psalm 23:5...."Early in the following spring during the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes' reign, I was serving the king his wine." Nehemiah 2:1....."Then Simon Peter drew a sword and slashed off the right ear of Malchus, the high priest's servant. But Jesus said to Peter, 'Put your sword back into its sheath. Shall I not drink from the cup the Father has given Me?" John 18:10-11

Cups. In some way, we are all going to receive a "cup" from which to drink. Most especially will this be true for those who are His. In the above Scripture, we see a cup playing a central role. Most, if not all of us would joyfully, even eagerly accept the cup spoken of by David in Psalm 23. A cup that overflows with His blessings. We love blessings, especially those that openly benefit us. In fact, I often think that we worship the blessing more than we worship the One who blesses. If we're honest, we have to admit that a large part of our prayer life is spent seeking His blessing. His blessing upon our plans, our families, our relationships, our ministries. We equate His blessing with good things, especially as to how we define what is good. What we miss in Psalm 23 is that it was written by David, a man whose life had more than its share of suffering and hardship. Yet in all of it, He considered himself blessed. Maybe we need a new understanding of what the true blessing of God entails.

Nehemiah was the cupbearer to the King of Persia. This was an extremely important position as one of the most common ways to assassinate a king was to poison him, either through his food or drink. The cupbearer was entrusted with the "ministry" of seeing that didn't happen. Nehemiah was a Jew who loved and mourned for his nation of Israel, broken and scattered as a result of their own sin. His heart longed to be with his people in Jerusalem, and to see the city of God rebuilt and renewed. Yet the longing of his heart collided with the reality of his place. He was not where he wished to be. His circumstances were not what he wanted them to be. Yet, in the all of this there was something that set Nehemiah apart, and brought him blessing in that place. Nehemiah was determined that though he was in a place he didn't want to be, living a life, performing a ministry that was not what he'd hoped for, he would be in all of it, the best cupbearer possible. He would honor his God in that place, and in turn, be richly blessed by Him. How many of us, in our own, often similar situations, take that same attitude? How many of us in the places we don't want to be, living out the lives we would not have chosen, are determined to be, in and for Him, the best "cupbearers" we can be? In that place, his cup did overflow, but it was the attitude of his heart that allowed him to see it as such. God did give him his desire to be back with his people, and that was rich blessing for him. But he lived a blessed life in the hard place before he got to the place he longed to be. And it was his heart attitude that he would continue to, even if he didn't get to that place.

Before the resurrection, the disciples never seemed to understand what made for the deepest blessings of God. As in all things, only Jesus could show them the meaning. They always stumbled at the cross. Peter bluntly told Him that going to the cross could never be, and the Lord rebuked him for thinking like the enemy and not with the mind of the Father. Jesus, the Author of Life, had to first receive His Father's "cup," which contained the cross, the taking on of the penalty of the human race's sin, and the unimaginable pain of being separated from His Father in the drinking of it. Yet He did it all for "the joy set before Him." He drank the cup of bitterness that He might in turn be able to give to us the overflowing cup of the blessing of His Life. The cup He gives us does indeed overflow with blessing. But the way of His blessing has a cost. If we worship the blessing, we likely will never experience the fullness of what His blessing can be.

In our place, your place today, what kind of "cupbearer" will you and I be? In the cup He passes to us, there will be bittterness, pain, things our flesh would never desire, but to drink it to the full will result in riches beyond our imagining. Will we drink that cup? Are we drinking it now? We all have a cup to drink from. Is it the cup of our choosing....or His?

Pastor O

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   July 2019   
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