You Prepare a Table Before Me
I love Psalm 23. I've grown up with these words and somehow they seem to have grown up too - slowly unfolding and flipping around and becoming even more precious. It's funny how you can hear a passage a thousand times and still find something new.
I heard a song recently called "Fight My Battles" and while I don't recommend basing your theology on song lyrics, the first verse of this particular song has caused me to thumb through my Bible and rethink Psalm 23. The lyrics say:
"There's a table that You've prepared for me
In the presence of my enemies.
It's Your body and Your blood You shed for me.
This is how I fight my battles."
These lyrics bring to mind the familiar words of Psalm 23:5 which say "You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies" but I have never understood what that meant. What table does God prepare and for what purpose? It has been for me an unsolved mystery and while I can't find any solid teaching linking Psalm 23 with the last supper (which might mean I'm way off base) I can't stop wondering if the table God prepares for me in the presence of my enemies is the table of communion? Is it possible that the provision He provides for these battles is Himself? If we consider the whole of Scripture, I think the resounding answer is "Yes!"
"Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, "Take, eat; this is my body." And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them saying, "Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins."
Is it possible that long before me - before I entered this world, God in His mercy drew a line and set a table - a means of sustenance and provision and victory? Is it imaginable that the God who knew I would battle depression and anxiety and lust and selfishness anticipated my lack and laid Himself down between me and all my enemies? Is this reaching? Isn't this the gospel?
This is what we remember every time we come to the table of communion. He died so we could die to sin's life-crushing grip and He rose so we too can rise up new. This. This is how I fight my battles - I remember that I don't have to. I have only to run to the table of love and mercy and life and sit in the seat He provides me and feast on His goodness and grace.
As we approach Holy week I can't help but think of Psalm 23 and give thanks for my Shepherd who gave His life for His sheep. And whether or not "the table" David mentions, is a foreshadowing of the table of communion, I think we can all agree that the entirety of Scripture is pointing to Christ - our Shepherd, our King, our Savior.
This is how we fight our battles - we cling to Christ.
"in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us."