Dedicated to the Glory of God Amighty and the Lord Jesus Christ

Dedicated to the Glory of God Almighty and the Lord Jesus Christ


Friday, April 29, 2011

YOU PREPARE A TABLE BEFORE ME IN THE PRESENCE OF MY ENEMIES

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows(Psalm 23:5).

Sheep do not eat at the table, and they do not drink from cups. Has David shifted away from the shepherd and the sheep? Verse 5 focuses upon the abundance that we experience when we walk with the shepherd. Do not go immediately to material blessings – though God does often bless His people materially. More importantly, God is generous with the things that really make life worthwhile. He is generous with love, with mercy, with compassion, with forgiveness, with joy, with power, with victory, with happiness. He pours out all of these things in abundance.

During certain seasons of the year, the shepherd leads his flock to higher ground in order to give them better pasture. In West Texas, the high plateaus of ranges are called “mesas” – the Spanish word for “table.” For many centuries, plateau ranges they have been referred to in various languages as “table lands.”

So David uses a play on words here because he’s wanting to present two images: the image of a shepherd caring for his sheep and the image of God preparing a banquet for his people.

During the spring and early summer, a shepherd would visit the highlands once or twice to get them ready, knowing that his flock would be making this journey in the coming months. He would prepare the table by pulling weeds and cutting the poisonous plants that would sometimes grow wild in the mountain ranges, so that, when the sheep arrived, everything would be ready.

In Southeast Louisiana, the people know the meaning of banquet – or buffet (often pronounced “boo-fay”)! They can put out a spread of food that feed more people than can possibly attend the event. Rarely do they hold anything back.

When Jesus Christ, our Shepherd, prepares the banquet table for us, He does not hold anything back. He is not stingy with forgiveness, or stingy with grace, or stingy with joy, or stingy with power, or stingy with love.
He pours out all of these in abundance.

Back to the sheep – the journeys to the highlands could be dangerous. Predators existed in the mountains that did not exist down below, such as wolves, coyotes, cougars, and bears. Modern day shepherd, Phillip Keller, says that frequently these predators would remain on the rim rock, watching every movement of the sheep, waiting for the chance to strike. Though they were always there, watching and waiting, these predators were helpless to make a move when the shepherd was properly watching his sheep.

In the same way, we have different types of enemies all around us, watching and waiting for the opportunity to strike. But we also have a Shepherd looking out for us. If you stay close to the Shepherd, the enemy cannot get near you.

David said, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” Do you know what we need to learn to do? We need to learn to focus on the feast, and enjoy the feast, instead of looking at the enemy. We need to learn to enjoy the blessings of God in this moment, instead of obsessing over every potential problem.

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