Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Table of His Faithfulness

Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. (Psalm 37:3)
Dwelling and feeding — they go together. Many people do not take the time to dwell, so they miss out on the feeding. We live in a fast-food nation, and many Christians are looking for a “microwavable spirituality,” something they can heat up in a minute or two. We need more of a “Paris” mentality, because the French know something about taking the time to really enjoy a meal.

We need to learn how to take time for our relationship with God. That is the real value of spiritual disciplines. If they are nothing more than items to check off our list of “spiritual activities” then they are pretty worthless. Their real value lies in helping us to make room to be with God, to hear Him and fellowship with Him. When we learn to do that, it will not be like “popping in” for a visit. We will find that, when we have to turn our attention to other matters, we will still be dwelling with Him, for we will be more aware of His presence at every moment of life. We will be feeding on His faithfulness.

Various translations of this phrase, “feed on His faithfulness,” include:
  • “Enjoy faithfulness.” (Young’s Literal Translation)
  • “Cherish faithfulness.” (Jewish Publication Society)
  • Befriend faithfulness.” (English Standard Version)
The Hebrew verb those words render actually has to do with shepherding. It is the word ra’ah, which means to pasture, graze, feed, or tend. We “feed” on His faithfulness, for He is a faithful shepherd, as we see in the Psalm 23, the “Shepherd Psalm.”

At the Table of the Lord, we see Jesus, the Good Shepherd who “gives His life for the sheep” (John 10:11). He Himself is the door for the sheep, who guards the fold and keeps out intruders. He watches over the sheep in their coming and going.
I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. (John 10:9)
The NIV renders Psalm 37:3, “Dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.” Our Shepherd is always there, guiding and providing for us. He who laid down His life for us — is there anything He will withhold from us?
Then Jesus said to them again, "Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep … My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father's hand. (John 10:7-15, 27-29)
The Table of the Lord is a wonderful place to feed on the faithfulness of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd. Come to this table often to luxuriate in His love and soak in His presence. Then as you go, you will know that He is with you always in all the paths you must travel.

Romans 8:31-39 is another great passage to feed on concerning His faithfulness toward all those who trust in Him.