“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies,” Psalm 23:5a.
This is a picture of God providing a feast! The imagery changes from a shepherd to a wealthy host. Imagine God is creating a table for you, picture the foods on the table that you enjoy. What are the emotions you experience? Close your eyes, can you see the feast? In the middle east in Bible times, people’s fame or wealth was measured by hospitality and how generous a host was to others. Remember at the wedding in Cana, where Jesus performed the first miracle? The host of the wedding feast ran out of wine. Jesus’ mother tells him, “When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, ‘They have no more wine’,” John 2:3. She didn’t want the host to suffer embarrassment so she got her Son involved. He performed the miracle of changing the water to wine and those in attendance at the feast spoke up, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you saved the best till now,” John 2:10.
Isaiah 25:6 is a promise to us that will be fulfilled at the wedding supper of the Lamb (Revelation 19). “On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare a feast for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine~ the best meats and the finest of wines.” During our life on earth, we will not have the full manifestation of this promise, but we do get to experience glimpses of this feasting.
There are two realities in this verse:
1.Presence of enemies. David may have been thinking of specific people or circumstances that pressed against him when he was writing this song to God. The word enemy means “to press; to treat in a hostile manner; to lay hold of; to persecute”. In John 16:33, Jesus told us, “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world.” The reality of life is that there are challenges and trials that will come. The enemy prowls around like a roaring lion (I Peter 5:8-9). He wants you to believe that you cannot experience joy when trials and trouble are present.
David knew the pressure from his enemies. When you read through the psalms, David cries out to the Lord for deliverance. For example, in Psalm 145:3, David says, “The enemy pursues me, he crushes me to the ground; he makes me dwell in the darkness like those long dead.” Again, in Psalm 25:19, David says to God, “See how numerous are my enemies and how fiercely they hate me!” David knew pain and hardship. He was chased around by King Saul and later in his life by his own son. David knew the reality of the presence of enemies. But he had experienced God’s deliverance and protection and presence in the middle of it all. He speaks in Psalm 23 from a lifetime of the testimonies of God’s faithfulness to Him.
This verse seems to be quite appropriate in the world today. There are enemies all around us in our nation, things we have never really experienced before to this level~ coronavirus, unrest in our nation, rioting and anarchy in major cities, the churches have been shut down in California, unsettling about what to do with reopening schools in the fall, financial losses, and on and on. And there are personal enemies present. What are the enemies you are experiencing in your life? Anxiety, illness, relationships, finances, pain, uncertainty of future, insecurities, depression, addictions, fear, persecution?
Do not let your enemies rule over your heart and don’t allow the enemies to define you. They are not to have power over you. David ran to God to pour out his heart. He had confidence before His Good Shepherd to cry out for deliverance and rescue. If you feel surrounded by enemies, read through the psalms and use David’s words as your own. Cry out to the Shepherd who loves you and cares for you.
The second reality in this verse is:
2. The presence of God in the midst of enemies. Recognize that God is with you. He is in your midst! No matter your circumstances, sit down and enjoy God’s presence. Psalm 78:19 records the thoughts of the Israelites. They were experiencing the pressing of their wilderness and they said, “Can God really spread a table in the wilderness?” The Israelites despised their wilderness. Don’t despise your wilderness. Enjoy the feast that God provides in the middle of it. It won’t last forever.
In the midst of conflict and uncertainty, surrounded by enemies, find your table. Feed of God’s faithfulness. Feed on His Word. Feast and drink deeply. Get alone with God to cultivate a history with Him. The more time you spend with Him, the more stories you will have of His faithfulness and love toward you. Confidence will grow. Let nothing get in the way, no distraction, no disappointment, no discouragement, no obstacle. When you are feeling overwhelmed by the enemies, get with God.
As you spend time in God’s presence, the enemies will not seem so powerful. Dick Eastman has said, “The bigger we see God, the bigger we pray~ and the bigger we pray, the greater the answers we receive.” Expectation for God’s power to be put on display will get stirred within us when we keep our eyes on Him. He will defeat your enemies.
This morning I was praying for a few people who have been diagnosed with coronavirus, a looming enemy in the world right now. As I was meditating on scripture and worshiping, the coronavirus became very small in my thinking and God became very big and powerful and victorious. I left my prayer time encouraged and my soul was lifted, my confidence in who God is and what He does was soaring! God prepared a feast for me to enjoy and He does that for you too.
My encouragement to you today: Feast away!