A few weeks ago I attended a women’s bible study. As we discussed the fruit of the spirit, “goodness,” we dove into the scriptures. One of them being, Psalm 23:5
“He will prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Psalm 23:5)
As we chewed on this passage of scripture, there was a particular phrase that stood out to me. Actually, it reached out and grabbed me by the gut, is more like it.
“He prepares a table for me in the presence of my enemies.”
That part is worth repeating!
“He prepares a table for me IN THE PRESENCE OF my enemies.”
Catch that? In the presence of. Not in the absence of.
That immediately caught my attention, and I took it home and meditated on it for days.
Chewed on it.
Wrestled with it.
I’ve been walking with God long enough to know that when the Holy Spirit causes a piece of scripture to jump off the page, there is something more that He wants me to see; to take notice of.
A fresh revelation He longs to impart.
As I prayed about this, I suddenly imagined my husband making his way home from a long and stressful day at work.
He is tired. He is hungry. He is worn.
He enters the house, still carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. The stress of work. The worry of finances. The hurtful remark his coworker made in jest. The pain in his lower back from the long commute home.
Now imagine me, his wife, lovingly preparing a table for him. A feast of his favorite foods.
I thoughtfully work to create a sanctuary that he can return home to; where he can unwind.
The house is clean. The children are hushed. Warm music plays in the background. The table is aglow with soft candlelight. The delightful aroma of a home-cooked meal fills the air.
And I await him with a warm smile and open arms.
He sits down across from me at the table. The table that I prepared especially with him in mind.
In that moment, the cares of the world disappear. His shoulders relax. He exhales.
It is just him and I. Lost in each other’s eyes.
Now imagine this same scene, only with Father God in mind. It is He who steadily and thoughtfully works to prepare a table for YOU.
He whispers, “Come. Sit with me. Dine with me. Talk with me. Abide with me.”
“Tell me about your day. What’s on your mind?”
“Let us feast. Let me fill you and satisfy you with the finest things.”
As we dine, I imagine satan and his brood of vipers, lying in wait.
Ready to devour.
But God takes little notice.
As if to mock him, He casually brings out the table, “ehem, excuse me satan. I’m working here.”
He brushes the horde aside, sets the table down in their midst, causing them to take a back seat, and He goes about delightfully preparing a table. Without a care in the world.
And WE are the guest of honor!
Isn’t it interesting that God chooses not to dismiss our enemies beforehand?
He doesn’t tell them to go?
The fact is He doesn’t need to.
When our attention is given to the One who sets our soul afire, there is no reason to send our enemies packing.
As we continue to abide in this place with our first love, our enemies grow weary of waiting for our attention, and eventually, they flee on their own. There is no need to cause a scene. They can threaten, taunt, jeer and bully. It doesn’t matter. Our allegiance is with the Lord Almighty. Our loyalties lie with Him.
What’s important is that we learn to dwell.
Shift our focus, and feast on the goodness of God, in the presence of our enemies. While they look on.
So often it is me, myself and I who does not see what God is doing right in front of me.
I fail to see the ways He is providing. The ways He is nurturing. The ways He is thoughtfully preparing my favorite things; the things that will bring me the most joy.
He personally hand-picks the choicest delicacies for me to devour. He prepares the finest china, chooses the most beautiful settings, and thoughtfully dishes up a royal spread.
For my pleasure.
This is the ultimate display of favor!
How it must anger satan when our focus shifts from that of our enemies, to that of the Lord.
From what the enemy intends, to what God is already doing.
Though we may indeed be surrounded, God is in our midst, preparing a feast for us.
A feast of abundance. Of grace. Of provision. Of presence.
Our servings are not meager, but bountiful.
He serves up the largest portion. We lack no good thing. Our cup overflows.
The Lord tends to our very real needs by nourishing us. He alone is our sustenance.
What an awesome thought to know that God, so thoughtfully, prepares a feast for us to partake of.
A feast in our honor. In the place of highest favor.
And our enemies…..