Summary: How to have joy even when surrounded by an enemy visible or invisible.
Psalm 23:5a “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.”
King David who wrote this Psalm had quite a history. I think some parts of David’s life we can all relate to. David was also a shepherd and took care of the family sheep. The Lord gave him such strength and agility that he was able to kill a lion and a bear with his bare hands. 1 Samuel 17:35. David killed Goliath when David was a young boy. The Lord through the prophet Samuel anointed David King over Israel. But David started to take it easy and did not go out with his fighting me. He slept with one of his commanders wives. She became pregnant and he had her husband murdered. The Lord took David’s child born to David and Bathsheba but then blessed their second child Solomon. But David had other wives and children and in the end they warred against each other. You could say that David’s absence and lack of loyalty to one woman gave him a horrible dysfunctional family. So how does this help us? It shows us that we can mess us but still gain Gods favor and mercy when we repent of our sins.
Have you ever messed up and someone has never forgiven you? Are you still carrying that burden around with you even though the Lord a long time ago wiped the slate clean? So why do we value man’s opinion more than God? It is because we spend more time with man than with God. We see more of man than God. BUT what if you did this? What if you started spending more time with God though prayer and reading His word? What if you started to think of God more in everything you did? You would then be able to see that in the midst of all this junk that the world has to offer God does indeed provide a table before you in the presence of your enemies.
The last thing I am thinking about in a crisis is eating. My awareness is in high alert and my stomach has shut down. I am focusing so much on the crisis that I definitely am not thinking about taking care of myself. I know you have been there. I also know that a lot of you have wished you could have faired better during the crisis instead of worrying so much. Now here is something very interesting about this verse. Our enemies can be a physical enemy or that enemy can be the devil or worry, shame, resentment, anger or a host of other enemies we think are there but cannot see. In our mind though we know they are coming.
God many times prepares a table before us in the presence of our enemies but we are too sick or afraid to eat. Ever been there? Faith can be a very elusive desire. Many of you have had a front row seat to our trials in this ministry of The Ultimate Decision. Our main trial is financial. Sometimes I don’t eat for fear of worry. But if I looked at what God has done in the past and how He has taken care of us I would not worry at all. I fear what usually is not coming. I fear because I don’t see. I don’t see how we can make ends meet. But that is faith isn’t it. I don’t see my child getting better from his illness so I fear and don’t trust God for a good outcome. I see my boss is mad at me and think I am going to get fired. I forget that God controls the actions of my boss. I fear because of what the test results form the doctor may bring. I don’t have the faith that the Lord can heal here on earth. But even if he doesn’t heal me here my real home is being prepared in heaven which is a million times better than my life now. I fear, I fear, I fear because of my lack of faith.
God loves us enough to allow us to go through many valleys of the shadow of death so we will not fear evil. You cannot be a great athlete with one practice. It takes painful hours and years of dedication to prepare. But that is just the beginning. Most players will tell you that they learned more in defeat than in victory. So don’t feel that God is against you when you are defeated on the scoreboard of life. That is just the refining process to get rid of all that junk that is stopping you form having faith that will move mountains. A faith that will heal the sick and a faith that will enable you to eat among the presence of your enemies. We can eat among the presence of our enemies when we trust that God is our protection. When we trust that God loves us and is not out to harm us. When we trust that if we were the only person alive on earth that God would still would have sent Jesus to die for you. That is the love Jesus has for you.