Showing posts with label The Shepherd Psalm. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Shepherd Psalm. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

A Table in the Presence of My Enemies

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. (Psalm 23:5)
This morning I took of the Table of the Lord with this verse fully in mind. I took of it, very deliberately, in the presence of my enemies.

The particular enemy we are dealing with at this time is debt — mortgage, car note and unsecured debts. These are enemies because they represent lack, and Psalm 23 opens famously with line, “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.” To want, or be in want, is to be in lack. When the Lord is our shepherd, we do not have to be in lack. It is not God’s will for us.

Now, I confess that we have made some poor choices and foolishly gotten ourselves into some financial dfficulties. But it would be even more foolish for us to think that, since we got ourselves into trouble, we must therefore get ourselves out of trouble. It is foolish for a couple of reasons: First, though we have a great ability to get ourselves into trouble, we have little skill or capacity for getting ourselves out. But more importantly, we are in covenant with the Lord Jesus Christ, who is our Savior and our Shepherd. He as already provided for what we cannot do ourselves. So we look to Him.

That is where the Table of the Lord comes in — it is a revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ and the covenant we have in Him. The bread reveals His body given for us, and the cup is the cup of the New Covenant made in His blood. In Him we have all we need, for as the apostle Paul said, “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32).

So I took of the Table of the Lord in the presence of my enemies. But first, I took all our bills, our mortgage and car note coupons, and everything that represents debt and lack in our finances, and I set them on the coffee table. Then in between them and me, I set the bread and the cup of the Lord’s Table, and I declared, “You have prepared a table before me in the presence of my enemies.”

Then I looked at all those bills and notes, and I spoke to them: “I’m serving you notice, we are going to overcome you.” I thought of Caleb’s words, when the twelve spies reported back to Moses after spying out the promised land. Ten spies gave a sorrowful report about how, though the land was indeed a good land overflowing with milk and honey, it was also filled with giants. But Caleb said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it” (Numbers 13:30). He agreed with Joshua, who said, “Do not fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the LORD is with us. Do not fear them” (Numbers 14:9). (See When Its All About God)

Then I thought of Revelation 12:11, “And they overcame him [satan, the accuser of the brethren] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.” (See The Word of Your Testimony)

The blood of the Lamb is what is revealed to us in the cup of communion. It is a cup that runs over with the blessing of the Lord. It is how we overcome all our enemies. It is a cup of salvation. The psalm writer said, “What shall I render to the LORD for all his benefits toward me? I will take up the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD” (Psalm 116:12-13).

And that’s exactly what I did. I ate the bread and drank the cup from the Table of the Lord and claimed my victory in Jesus Christ. I ate of the table He prepared for me in the presence of my enemies. For the Lord is my shepherd, my savior, my healer, my provider, and there is no enemy in the world that can stand up to Him.

If you know the Lord Jesus Christ, God has a table prepared for you in the presence of you enemies. Are you partaking of it?

(See also Warring with the Bread and the Cup and A Table of Victory Prepared for You)

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

A Table of Victory Prepared for You

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
(Psalm 23:5)
This is not a picture of heaven, for there are no enemies there. It is not about the “sweet by and by” but about the “here and now.” It is about heaven on earth. The table comes from heaven and is prepared by the LORD our Shepherd, but it is set before us on earth, in full view of our enemies — and it causes them to tremble.
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
(Psalm 23:5-6)

  • This is a table of covenant, for it is the Lord Yahweh, our covenant God who prepares it.
  • This is a table of anointing.
  • This is a table of abundance and prosperity.
  • This is a table of the sure mercies and goodness of God.
  • This is a table of abiding in His presence.
  • This is the Table of the Lord!
Jesus has prepared this table for all who come to Him.
And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you. (Luke 22:19-20)
This table is prepared for us even in the presence of our enemies — or perhaps we should say, especially in the presence of our enemies. It is a powerful weapon of our spiritual warfare:
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but might in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled. (2 Corinthians 10:3-6)
At this table, we see that God’s enemies are ours, but we also see that our enemies are His, for that is part of our covenant provision with Him.
Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)
When we eat of this covenant table, we are submitting to God and resisting the devil — and he has no choice but to flee. Notice that he flees, not just from before God, but from before us.

As you take of this table, let the thoughts of your heart recall all the provisions of the covenant it represents. For it is at this table where you can deal most effectively with all your enemies:
  • Sin is defeated by the forgiveness of God.
  • Sickness is defeated by the healing of God.
  • Poverty is defeated by the provision and prosperity of God.
  • Brokenness is defeated by the peace, the wholeness of God.
  • Fear is defeated by the faith of God.
All these provisions belong to us in the covenant we have with God through the body of Christ given for us and the blood of Christ shed for us.

The LORD your Shepherd has prepared a table for you in the presence of your enemies. Come and dine, and experience there the victory you have in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Sunday, March 6, 2005

The Shepherd of Prosperity

The LORD is my Shepherd; I shall not want. (Psalm 23:1)
Everything about this great Psalm speaks of prosperity and wholeness. We might even say that it is the very definition of peace, the fullness of the Hebrew shalom.

“The LORD is my Shepherd; I shall not want.” The LORD supplies all that we need. There is no lack with Him.

“He makes me to lie down in green pastures.” Sheep lie down when they are full, when they’ve had all they want to eat. The LORD our Shepherd takes us to places where there is more than enough to meet our needs. We don’t lie down in dry, dusty fields, having eaten all the grass. No, He leads us to where the pastures are green, even after we’ve eaten our fill.

“He leads me beside the still water.” There is a place of peace and calm, even in the midst of the storm. And that is where our Shepherd takes us. He gives us to drink from the river of His pleasures (Psalm 36:8).

“He restores my soul.” Restoration to wholeness. We do not come up short in anything.

“He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” He leads us into what is right, what is good, and what leads us into the prosperity of God.

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.” This is not about death, but about life, for He leads us through the valley of the shadow of death. The devil is the false shepherd who comes to steal, kill and destroy. But Jesus is the Good Shepherd who comes to give us life more abundantly (John 10:10).

“For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” Our prosperity comes from our relationship with Him. He provides for us, guides and directs us, and gives us His protection.

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” Here is how we know that this Psalm is not just about heaven, but especially about this present life: We will have no enemies in heaven! God sets that table for us, even in the presence of our enemies. He abundantly satisfies us with the fullness of His house (Psalm 36:8).

“You anoint my head with oil.” This is the sign of His favor and hospitality, but also of His enabling in our lives. The anointing lifts the burden and destroys the yoke (Isaiah 10:27). It is a sign of our prosperity.

“My cup runs over.” Not only are all our needs met, but we have more than enough. Our God is able to make His grace abound to us so that we always have all sufficiency in all things—and abundance for every good work (2 Corinthians 9:8)

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.” The prosperity of God in our lives is not a passing thing. It endures all our days. His goodness and mercy are always with us.

“And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” The secret of true prosperity is dwelling with Him. So deep is His love and so rich is His grace toward us, He takes us into His abode. We are not merely welcomed as visitors, but given a dwelling place forever in His presence.

The LORD is our shepherd. He is the Good Shepherd, the shepherd of our prosperity.