The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe...
(Thanks to Bill D. for inspiration on this one.)
"A Strange Guest"
While having lunch with a dear friend yesterday, I shared with him an interesting statement of Scripture that seemed to stand in stark contrast to our enjoyable fellowship.
"Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies" (Psalm 23:5).
Enjoying a prepared table with family and friends constitutes one of the greatest blessings of our lives. The blessing of their presence, along with communication about past memories, present experiences, and future expectations grace us with the realization of God's gift in both people and in breaking bread together. However, the Psalmist introduces us to an altogether different concept, namely, the breaking of bread with our foes. This seems completely counterintuitive to our experience, and is. What then does David mean by such a strange proposal?
First, he does not imply enjoyment "in the presence of mine enemies." The psalms David wrote regarding his challenges with Saul and other enemies do not suggest pleasure in his enemies' presence. "As with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me" (Psalm 42:10). David rather refers to the more basic notion of the table. God fed David not only in the presence of dear ones, but also of dangerous ones. "Before I was afflicted, I went astray. But now I have kept Thy word" (Psalm 119:67).
How our Heavenly Father blesses us with the pleasurable people, things, and experiences of our lives! And, how He blesses us with unpleasurable realities as well. Certainly it doesn't feel as if a table of provision lies before us in the presence of enemies. But just as certainly, it does. Who among us would have come to the Lord without difficulties? Who among us would continue to walk with Him without trouble? We know the answer, both personally and corporately. It is a hard truth, but one we must acknowledge and embrace with our hearts. Without affliction, we would never have partaken of Christ. And without affliction, we would not consistently feed on the Bread of life to the degree we so desperately require. "For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ" (II Corinthians 1:5).
The day will come when no enemies will be present at our Father's table. Only family will feast with us, "the whole family in Heaven and earth" (Ephesians 3:15). We rightly and righteously look forward to that day. Presently, however, we feed with foes as well as friends. Our Father provides the sustenance of Christ through both. Thus, when we look around at the table of our lives and see what seem to be intruders, we do well to remember that somehow, in some way, a meal lies before us that would not be available without our enemies. Perhaps even now, such strange guests seem to sit next to us. If so, the Psalmist strengthens our hearts and our resolve to remember... "Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies."
"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."
Weekly Memory Verse
"Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today, and forever."