(Thanks to my dear brother and friend Larry V. for inspiration on this one).
Table of Friends, Table of Enemies
"Thou preparest a table in the presence of mine enemies" (Psalm 23:5).
We all love eating with family and friends. God blesses us with such occasions during our earthly lifetime, and many of our fondest memories involve the fellowship and togetherness that graces meals with those whom we love.
David, however, suggests a table whereupon we partake not in the presence of those appealing to our hearts, but rather with "mine enemies." In spiritual terms, God often feeds us in the company of troubling people, influences, experiences, and even the devil's agencies. We often partake of Christ in discomfort rather than pleasure. This should not surprise us, since we feed upon the One who suffered the shame, agony, forsakenness, and death of the cross of Calvary. It remains difficult, however, because our natural inclination involves looking across the table to friendly rather than unfriendly faces.
No seasoned believer will fail to affirm that many of our best meals graced us "in the presence of mine enemies". In our challenges we discovered the Lord Jesus in ways we would never have experienced in the presence of friends. Would we have found His capacity for comfort apart from discomfort? Might His encouragement have been so blessed without feelings of despair? Could His light have shined so brilliantly as in the night of our deepest darkness? And would we know how much He loves us if He had not come to us and filled our broken heart with His heart, once pierced by a spear?
We give thanks for tables in the presence of friends, rejoicing in the many and obvious blessings of our life in Christ. We give thanks also for tables in the presence of enemies, rejoicing in the holiness known with seemingly strange dinner companions. We require both experiences of feasting upon the Bread of life, and both reveal to us glories of the Lord Jesus in particular measures of provision and sustenance.
"I know both how to be abased and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."
Weekly Memory Verse
By one offering He hath perfected forever them that are sanctified.