The following devotion is from the archives, originally written and posted on November 3, 2007. So very long ago. Or so it seems. Much has happened—and God continues to watch over our lives.
I will be back over at Sisters of Faith this week along with my baby sista, Aimee. She will get us started again in the morning with day 8 of our Bible Study! It has been so uplifting to fellowship with the other precious ‘sisters’ in the LORD that have joined us on this journey! You are invited over. Come and sit with us every day if you get the chance! Comment to let us know you are there!
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23 NIV
I want to focus on two sentences here. “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.”
I heard this complete text read several weeks ago and a clear mental picture formed instantly in my mind. I became so excited as it unfolded in my mind and heart. I thought about it during the night and even called my sister Aimee the next morning on my way to work. Still excited, but not able to adequately form the words to such a degree as to get my “picture” from my mind, over to her, she asked me to blog it. Easier said than done at times. Several other devotions came to my mind and heart between that morning and this. I blogged those, unable to wrap my mind around the exact way I wanted to express my thoughts from that heart message. But here goes—
Let’s break it down. “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” When we prepare a table for our loved ones, what do we put on it? If you said “the best”, then you are right, the very best. In speaking of food, we prepare their favorites. I know when I am going to my dear mother-in-law’s house, and it is a “planned” meal, she always has rutabagas. For me. Because she loves me and she knows that they are one of my favorite vegetables, and one that I rarely cook myself. In fact, I can count on one hand the times I have prepared them (probably using only 3 fingers!). It is a lot of work! Since I am the only one with a great love for them, I don’t go to the trouble at home for just me.
Do you see the picture here? We prepare the favorites. We use the best dishes. The best glassware, the best serving dishes, the best of everything we can find in the house for the special guest. We try to find out what their favorite dessert is. If it’s a cake…then of course I track down the recipe for my sweet Jeff. If it’s a pie or pudding, then that would be my delight. I love the look on my son-in-law David’s face, when April tells him that “daddy” has made a “German Chocolate Cake”. We know it’s his favorite. We delight in pleasing our children.
God delights even more so in pleasing us. In Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 7:9-11) He shares this insight of the Father’s love for us. “Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gift to those who ask him!”
That is plain “as the nose on your face”. It is clear that God loves us more than we can comprehend. So if He is “preparing a table” for us, what do you suppose is on it? His best!
Let’s look somewhere else. In Joel 2:25-26 we read, “I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, my great army with I sent among you. And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed.” (KJV)
I used the KJV here for a reason. It gives particular names of the types of locust. They are all in the locust family. Simply put, locusts are swarming grasshoppers and they devour crops and vegetation. Sound familiar? Sounds like the work of the enemy in our lives. We are very aware that he comes to “kill, steal, and destroy”. However, God promises to restore. To give back—in plenty—go back and pick up verse 24 of the same chapter. He will “overflow” our restoration!
Picture this: A long banquet table covered with a crisp white linen cloth, of the finest quality imaginable. This is the table He prepares for us….on my table I see all the things that the enemy of my life has taken from me. All the things in my life that the enemy has damaged or caused me to suffer pain from are laid out for all me to see that my Father is now “restoring to me”.
Gilded ornate frames, with pictures of my dear loved ones that have wandered from the most holy path of our Father sit among the various dishes on the expanse of white. I see a big platter of “joy” that the enemy continually tries to steal. I see “compassion” in a delicate porcelain bowl. For it is in the busyness of our lives we tend to lose our compassion for others.
“Peace”, pouring from an endless silver fountain sits firmly in the center of the table. “Trust” is plenteous, for my Father knows that bit by bit the enemy has wrecked havoc in my life regarding trust. Vision is clear in the crystal goblet on the right hand of my filled plate. Our “vision” to see the lost come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, many times, has been stolen right before our very “eyes”. Hope is brimming over, along with purpose. Distinct, clear purpose.
Our purpose and His calling are now restored with clarity as never before experienced! As I stand at the table, He has so lovingly prepared for me….in the presence of my enemy, I am overwhelmed at the fullness of joy I now feel. I see the enemy, but I am not afraid. For my Father has him completely bound and subdued.
The enemy in my life is the same enemy that you have faced. He may have worn different clothes, but his purpose was the same. His actions were the same. Bit by bit, things have disappeared in our lives that God has so lovingly given to us. Maybe we didn’t even notice.
If your couch suddenly went missing, you would notice right away. But if someone took only took one cup from the cabinet—-would you notice? If one sock went missing—would you notice? Probably not until you “needed” it….hmmm. I see that now you have the picture.
We neglect protecting our valuables that have been bestowed upon us, until many times, it is too late. We don’t have what we need—-at the very time we need it!
However, He is a restoring God! He will cover your table with every nic-nac that has disappeared from your life. Look around your spiritual house. What has gone missing? As I fall down on my face before the throne, the Father begins to “set my table”. He has anxiously been watching the driveway for me to seek Him out. To seek out His company. His divine Presence.
As I am seated in His Presence, He “anoints my head with oil; my cup overflows.” His lavish blessings overflow my life as His Holy Spirit is pouring on my heart, mind, body and spirit. His anointing represents my life dedicated for service to Him. As kings and priests of old were anointed for service, so does the Lord desire to anoint each of us for service to Himself.
My heart overflows with the love of my Father as He tenderly cares for my needs. We will share in this table of plenty that He has set before us….and we will remember—-to carefully guard all that He has restored in our lives!