Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Remembering the Benefits at the Table of the Lord

Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits.
(Psalm 103:2)

Do this in remembrance of Me. (Luke 22:19)
The other day, as I went to Table of the Lord, He put me in mind of Psalm 103. I had actually begun meditating on another psalm at the time when 103 entered unbidden into my thoughts. So I went with it.
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits:

Who forgives all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
(Psalm 103:1-5)
Remembering. That is what the Lord’s Table is about. It is a continuing sign of covenant. When Jesus took the cup, He said, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you” (Luke 22:20). “This do as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me” (1 Corinthians 11:25).

The making of covenant is the shedding of blood, but the essence of covenant is in exchange: He gives me all that is His; I give Him all that is mine. Isaiah shows us a vivid picture of the exchange Jesus the Messiah made for us:
Surely He has borne our griefs [literally “sicknesses”]
And carried our sorrows [literally “pains”];
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted [as if for His own account]

But He was wounded for our transgression,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
(Isaiah 53:4-6)
In the New Testament, Paul tells us that
He [God] made Him [Jesus] who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich. (2 Corinthians 8:9)
Jesus took our sin and gave us His righteousness. He took our sicknesses and pains and gave us His healing. He took our chastisement and gave us the wholeness of His shalom (His peace). He took our poverty and gave us His riches. These are benefits that belong to us in the new covenant which is in His blood.

Now, it is true that, as many have said, we seek not the gift, but the Giver. So we come to the Table of the Lord in remembrance of the Benefactor. But it is also quite appropriate to remember the benefits Jesus came to give us. He went to the Cross that we might receive and enjoy all the elements of salvation. It would be rude and ungrateful of us to neglect that for which Jesus gave His body and shed His blood.

The Table of the Lord, therefore, is a powerful opportunity to remember the work of the Lord Jesus Christ upon the Cross and apply the benefits.
  • If you have sinned, it is an opportunity to confess and receive forgiveness and cleansing.
  • If you are sick, it is an opportunity to receive healing.
  • If you are in the bondage of addictions, emotional or mental confusions, demonic influences, or other strongholds, it is an opportunity to receive deliverance and freedom.
  • If you are in need of guidance, it is an opportunity to receive the wisdom of God.
  • If you are in need of finances or other resources, it is an opportunity to receive the provision of the Lord. He will satisfy your mouth (your desires) with good things.
  • If you are in need of renewal and refreshing, it can be found at the Table.
Paul said, “As often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26). The Table of the Lord is the witness of the exchange made at the Cross. It speaks to us of the victory Jesus won and the provision of God poured out for us.

Come often to the Table of the Lord and remember all His benefits. As you come, bring all the concerns of your life and let them be dealt with by the promises of God and the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, which cries out on your behalf. Then go forth, walking confidently in the victory He has won for you.