I want to take a look at an often spoken, yet I think often overlooked line of one of the Bibles most read sections.
From the 23rd Psalm, verse 5 (ESV):
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
We often focus on the shepherd imagery, but this is powerful. Especially in this day and age where we see struggles in every corner of society. Too often we pray that God smite our enemies, or remove our enemies, or punish our enemies. Yet in this verse God does none of these.
What does He do?
He feeds His sheep, His people, in the very presence of their enemies.
Oil was used to clean and heal. He cleans and heals you in the presence of your enemies.
So, I want to ask two questions.
The first is what is God preparing for us? What is on God’s table?
I would encourage you to look at John 6:51, 1 Peter 2:2 and 3…the simple answer is Word and Sacrament. God feeds his people. He feeds them the very best that he has (Isaiah 25:6-7) That is why the words of institution for communion is so important. Indeed “take and eat” as it is “given and shed for you”.
My second question I believe is far more serious, and far more relevant.
Are you so distracted by the enemies around you, that you are ignoring what God places on the table in front of you?
This is an important question and one I feel we all need to answer. God honors you in the presence of your enemies. He tells you to focus on Him, to eat at His table, to enjoy His presence as Host. You were personally invited after all.
The Lord gives you all you need. He desires to be your shepherd. But we have another expression we often use, that I think applies here:
“You can lead a sheep to the table, but you can’t make him eat”
What are you feasting on my friends?
What are you focusing on?