If you are following along with me on my October writing journey, you know that I’m reading, pondering and writing about the many Biblical events and conversations centered around food and gathering at a table.
I’m thoroughly enjoying myself and learning in the process. And not just me. This month long activity has become a devotional time that my dear man is sharing with me. It’s creating conversation in our home. We even had a brainstorming session to list all the “come to the table” events of the Bible before we did a Bible app or Google search.
Think about trying this activity with your friends, family, or life group. Brainstorming around a table is a fabulous icebreaker, or an interesting way to gather insights into the way a loved one processes information. If you try this activity, I would love to hear back about how it went or how you tweaked the idea to be age and audience appropriate.
One of my favorite invitations to come to the table is found in Psalm 23. Much has been said about this beloved Psalm of the shepherd-hearted King David. It’s a favorite psalm for funerals and well known around the world. And personally, two of my favorite books were inspired by the loyal and loving words of the lamb to the Shepherd. (See below for the links to these books.)
The reasons I delight in the description of this particular table are three-fold. Prepared. Provided. Protected.
“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.”
Psalm 23:5 ESV
Prepared. It is the Shepherd who is prepared for the journey. Whether walking through a fertile field or a barren desert on the way home, the Shepherd knows how, where and when to find all that is needed for the sheep to thrive not just survive.
The idea that Jesus, my Shepherd prepares a table for me and invites me to dine with Him floods my being with feelings of being accepted, valued, and loved. Through these words my greatest craving of being cherished finds it’s fulfillment.
Provided. My cup overflows. As I mature in age, and hopefully in faith, I recognize that so many years of my life have been molded and shadowed by the idea of getting just enough. It’s a bit of a minimalist, poverty mentality rather than a grace-filled abundance perspective of God, His character and His Kingdom on earth as it is in Heaven.
I’m not advocating a name it and claim it, kind of Christian entitlement view of God. But I am realizing how my minimalist view (primarily shaped by generations coming out of the Great Depression) of life before Heaven has limited my view of God, and His goodness. He is vast. He’s overflowing!
My dear man and I are uncomfortably choosing to embrace the truth that God has lavished His goodness on us despite our foibles, our weakness, and our failures. Our cups truly overflow so why not drink from the saucer!
Protected. And then there’s the truth, which our Shepherd doesn’t try to hide from us. The truth is that until we reach Heaven or until Christ returns to create a new heaven and a new earth, we will live, eat, work and serve in the presence of our enemy, Satan.
I appreciate that God wants us to have the big picture and He wants us to have the details. God tells us not to live afraid, but He also informs us about the enemy of our souls. He’s given us in His word everything we need to live an abundant life of faith in service to Him. God gave His Son for our salvation. And when our Resurrected Christ needed to return to our Father in Heaven, God sent His Holy Spirit to live in us, guide us and comfort our hearts.
And our Shepherd reminds us that there is a prowling lion seeking to edge his way to the table. If he can’t get me to hold out a chair for him at the table, the enemy will try to distract me, calling me away from Christ’s table. We learn our lesson from Eve. Don’t be lured away to a side food-tasting table sponsored by the serpent himself.
The truth of His table is that the best most secure place we can ever be is in Christ with our eyes fixed on Him. Jesus, our good Shepherd prepares a table for us set right in front of our enemy, but he’s not invited. Your cup at Christ’s table overflows. Good Shepherd will keep the enemy at bay, but we all get to choose where we sit.
Eyes on Jesus and Shine,