Come to the Table – Psalm 23 in a Whole New Light

Written by Nate Lowe, Board Chairman of Run Hard. Rest Well.

This week I was reading Psalm 23.The Lord is my Shepherd. I’ve read it a thousand times. I shall not want. I memorized as a child. He makes me lie down in green pastures. I’ve studied it at length and read books about it. He leads me beside still waters. I know this song inside and out. He restores my soul. I love the gold buried in these short phrases.

But verse five has never made much sense to me. He prepares a table before me in the presence of my enemies. Why would He do that? What does this mean for me?

Then this thought occurred to me. I am in the presence of my enemies when I am in battle. What do soldiers eat during battle? Meals Ready to Eat (MREs) – A high-calorie, efficient, quick meal, designed to sustain me physically. It also has a shelf-life of 30 years.

But Jesus, the Good Shepherd, prepares a banquet table for us when we are in the middle of the battle. The Message says, You serve me a six course dinner right in front of my enemies. This is going to take some time. It is going to be good. We are going to have conversation.

My grandparents were farmers in Minnesota. They had a wood sign in the dining room that said, “Sit long. Talk much.” Who has time for that when there is a harvest to bring in? What about the battles raging all around me?

Jesus says, “Come to the table I have prepared for you. Let’s talk. Let’s enjoy each other’s company. Be refreshed. Be filled. Have another cup of coffee and another piece of pie. The battle is mine. I’ll fight for you.”

But how do I respond to this invitation? “No thanks, Jesus. I’ve got this pre-packaged MRE right here. I can scarf it down in five minutes and jump back into the fray. I’d rather have what someone else prepared for me. In fact, I just ate on Sunday morning. My pastor laid out a pretty nice buffet, and I took a few nuggets home with me. Since then, I’ve been getting by on fast food, ramen, granola bars, and corn nuts.” I too often settle for grab-n-go devotionals that temporarily assuage my need for spiritual sustenance, but rarely nourish my soul.

Jesus is standing before me, towel in hand, by a banqueting table He prepared for me. Ignored.

Then I thought of Revelation 3:20 “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice, I will come in….and eat (dine, sup, commune) with him!” We will share a meal together as friends (NLT). He doesn’t just want to come in, he wants to dine with us. Are we satisfied with Him coming in, but not really interested in sitting down for a meal?

Speaking of Communion, I looked that word up too. The first definition is this: the sharing or exchanging of intimate thoughts and feelings, especially when the exchange is on a mental or spiritual level. Hmmm. I’ve been limiting my Communion with Jesus to the ten-minute sacrament each month at church – the second definition.

I could go on and on, but this is already longer than normal.

My heart is challenged. My heart is broken. Don’t settle for the MRE in the trench. Pull up a chair. Spend some time at the table with Jesus. The feast is ready. Jesus is waiting for you.

First time here?

8 thoughts on “Come to the Table – Psalm 23 in a Whole New Light

  1. I love this! I have been just getting snacks because of having so much company. I realize that there is so much more when I get to sit with my Lord and “dine” with Him. Thank you for putting this in perspective for me.
    Thank you for sharing such wisdom and understanding with me. God bless you.

    • Mary, Nate’s insights were remarkable.  They have blessed me and blessed many and I believe God has something special for all of us as we remember to sit and dine.  Jesus has a feast waiting for us EVERY day!
      Blessings!
      Brenda

  2. Psalm 23:3 (He restores my soul) has become the most comforting & life changing verse for me. Again, such a simple verse but it means so much to me. I accepted the Lord as my savior as an 8 year old child, however as a teenager I walked away from the Lord. My detour into the world of sin & despair lasted 15 long years. I was at the point of seriously considering suicide when I cried out “God, I can’t live like this anymore!” He heard my cry & restored my soul. I’ve walked with the Lord again for almost 30 years. He has held my hand through many “valleys of the shadow of death” but my soul was restored & I’ve never again gone astray.

    Sent from Linda Hoover

    • Linda, The tenderness and resurrection power of His restoration knits our heart into His and we are never alone.
      Praising God for His goodness and tender mercies with you today!
      Onward!
      Brenda

  3. Thank you, so much. This is a powerful picture. I can imagine the table, the food, the One. Just across from me. Imagine….Jesus is willing….He WANTS to not only serve me and eat with me….He want to have a conversation with me. Will I choose to listen? Yes! Why? How? The enemies aren’t here at the table. They are outside mumbling, shouting, condemning. They are jealous that Jesus hasn’t chosen or invited them. Well, they’ve been invited, but they won’t enter.

    I think of Jesus in Matthew’s home with Matthew’s friends. And I think of Jesus in the home of Zacchaeus. Who was outside….in the presence, but still outside? It was the enemies. Yes, Lord! Prepare that table in the presence of my enemies. Maybe, just maybe, the will repent and be invited to come in and dine.

  4. Revelation 19:9
    Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” And he added, “These are the true words of God.”

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