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Psalm 23:5

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Psalm 23:5, ‘You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies…’

A prepared table implies things like peace, security, fellowship, and joyful celebration…none of which would be expected ‘in the presence of my enemies.’ This tension is designed to slow our reading and cause us to question: ‘How is it that YHWH provides a prepared table of fellowship for His people even—and precisely—in the presence of their enemies?’

The first, and perhaps most simple, answer is that YHWH is as a Shepherd to His people (v.1) who defends them in the midst of adversity (v.4) such that they are able to enjoy peaceful and assured fellowship with Him, even in the presence of individuals and situations that oppose Him. This is certainly true, and even more so for the Christian…However, I think that a post-Christ reading can see and say more than this as well.

Ultimately, for those in Christ, our ‘table’ of fellowship with YHWH God is the cross, with God Himself, in the Beloved Son, given as our fellowship meal (John 6:51-58). And where is this table spread for us? Precisely in the midst of enemies…surrounded by the jeering cries and mocking calls of the whole human and demonic world. Yet it is in the very epicenter of this enmity—in the very heart of our sorrow, suffering, death, and damnation, vicariously borne in the body of our God—that the abundance of God’s own house is set before His rebellious bride and the rivers of His own delight are opened to satisfy the thirst of His wayward people.

By His self-giving death as True Food and True Drink in the midst of His people’s curse, God in Christ has opened for us a place of fellowship with Himself in the heart of every hardship this world may bring…a table of communion spread upon the splintered wood of our suffering…a feast of well aged wine and rich food prepared on the myriad Calvaries of this curse-wounded life…a banquet table laden with the fullness of God’s own life, to which the Bride is continually invited to come and eat, and so—with resurrection wonder—to find the bed of her sufferings turned to the wedding table of the Lamb.