In addition, those Predators, just what might they be in our lives? John identifies them in large terms when he tells us that our enemies are: The World, which has a way of reminding us that what we have is never quite enough, we always desire more and more; The Flesh, which reminds us that we’re best off if we stay in charge of our lives and destinies and not allow “Our Shepherd” to be in control; and The Devil, who in one of a thousand ways is trying to discourage us from taking God seriously. James refers to Satan as a “roaring lion” seeking to devour us.
The Shepherd also goes ahead of his flock to add or ensure that certain things are prepared and ready. He checks the water supply; He looks for the best places for His flock to bed own. In other words, He pays special attention to every detail ensuring that His flock has the best possible stay at “His Table.”
His Table, this table. You cannot help but note how the Shepherd permits no one less than Himself to be the one to prepare it. He doesn’t ask His disciples, He doesn’t ask even the angels, how good it is to know that Jesus Himself is the one who prepares “our” table. He is the one who goes ahead of us, leading us in every situation, anticipating what dangers we may encounter and keeping us safe. Are you going into the hospital soon (and we all do at one time or another) – He will go ahead of you to prepare the way. Will some type of danger creep into your life soon that you are not aware of? Well He is aware of it and He goes before you to prepare “your table.”
And talk about a Shepherd who has experience, there isn’t a place you or I could go that He has not already been. Why else would He have allowed Satan to go out into the desert with him, to tempt Him? He did this to prove His authority over every condition and to prepare the Table for both you and me in the presence of the greatest enemy we could ever face, Satan himself.
My Dear Brothers and Sisters, have you ever stopped to think what it cost our Shepherd to personally prepare a table for us? His sacrifice has become His sacrament; it is His Table, Our Lord’s Table. Every time we come to this table, we are reminded of everything that He gave for us, so that when we come to His Table, we can enjoy God’s best --- a feast that is prepare especially for us individually. In the form of a small wafer and a sip of wine, we don’t just have a snack; we are given a full meal, a meal fit only for a King and Queen, for we are given the assurance of life eternal. Yes, this is God’s festival table, set with the finest silverware, china, glassware, and food. And to top it all off, there are individual place cards with each of our names written on them in gold. Dear Ones, to be invited to this feast is the greatest honor any man or woman will experience in life this side of heaven.
Yes, a table is for eating. Christian friends, His table is designed for much more than just eating. When we come to His table, the table He prepares for us, He tells us just how much he loves and cares for each of us. And although in no way do we deserve to be treated with such grace and mercy, He is Our Shepherd, and we are His flock and He preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies. Amen.