This is an excerpt from a series I am working on about Psalm 23. I hope you enjoy it!
Psalm 23, Part 10 – The Table Is Set
The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he lead me beside quiet waters,
he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for His name’s sake.
Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me,
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare me a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
We have just walked through the valley. A long, hard, sometimes dark walk. However, we never walked alone. Always there was He, with His rod and staff that brought us safety and bought us redemption from the evil one. There in the valley we learned we need not fear the enemy. His rod, His staff – they were the cross. With the cross, the enemy was defeated and I was protected from death and set free.
He doesn’t stop there. There in the valley.
In the presence of my enemies, He prepares a table before me. Much more than a mere napkin and a paper plate. Much more than plastic knives and forks. He has prepared a feast. The finest china has been brought from the cupboard and the linen has been pressed. Real silver has been set and crystal stemware placed beside each plate.
I am ushered into the banquet hall where all His other children have gone before me and been seated. The seats are covered in a deep, soft purple velvet. In the color of royalty.
I don’t deserve this – to be here.
I just came out of the valley and I didn’t wander very well. I complained a lot. I caved once or twice at the enemies mocking. Okay, maybe even three, possibly four times. At the edge of the hall that same enemy squats and winces at me, mouthing their wicked lies, inviting me to their dinner of deception.
In spite of my inadequacies, my imperfections, my failures, I remain seated. I don’t understand why. I am unworthy to be here. He knows everything about me, where I’ve been, all that I’ve done and my slate -it isn’t clean. Yet, still I remain for as He showed me to my seat He whispered I belong here.
He loves me.
I feel it. But most importantly, I know it.
There are familiar faces. Faces that make me smile. I am so glad to see them here. I search for others. I will have to search more. Some I expected – wanted to see – are missing.
The food is brought out, such as I have never seen before. The enemy drools and begs and his pleas – ignored. He stammers for attention and receives none.
And as I am sitting there, it is then I realize…
“He prepares a table before me…”
HE set this up…
He put on the finest tablecloth and set the china and the crystal and the silver in its place. He cooked the meal and baked the bread. He stirred the batter for the dessert and tore up the lettuce for the salad. He poured the water.
He serves me.
Oh soul, did you catch that?
He serves me.
Jesus. The One who has done more than anyone ever could, ever has, will ever do for me –
He serves ME.
I am overwhelmed. I am humbled. I am so undeserving. Me – the one who constantly needs a cleansing of the heart – over and over again. Set free because the One who already did what needed to be done still serves.
I don’t deserve this and He knows that better than anyone. In no way do I deserve what I have and will receive and I will never get what I certainly deserve. The hands that were pierced for my sins on the cross, are the same hands that personally prepare for me a feast of love to welcome me home.
And at that feast, He will show the enemy in plain view that I am His and He is mine. All will see that although the enemy may thwart our plans, riddle this path of life we walk with unimaginable sorrow and grief, heartache and pain, death and sickness,
it is He who has conquered it all.
It will be a cause for celebration. Not because we are well provided for and taken care of and our every need is met, but because the battle’s over. The fight has been fought and the enemy has been sent away. He and his cohorts will have no place there at the King’s table.
As Jesus takes His rightful place, seated there at the right hand of God, I look at Him. I should be serving Him.
He looks my way and as tears begin to well up, He catches my eye and winks at me.
Oh how I am loved! I sit amongst my brothers and sisters who share this moment with me. The family is finally all together and the fellowship is so sweet.
It is a place of joy, a place of peace. Here, at the table He has prepared for all His children in the presence of our enemies – the enemy of death and destruction, sickness and sorrow, persecution and pain, heartache and grief – we can rest assured they will never hurt us again.
Thank you, Jesus. Thank you.