The Table in Enemy Territory

Psalm 23:5 – You prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies.

His understanding truly does exceed our comprehension. Somehow, He understands that the best things for us are waiting in the places we hesitate to enter, for we don’t feel welcome or comfortable there.

He prepares a table for me in the presence of depression. In the presence of self-loathing, of harsh criticism, of contempt. He sets up a  bounty of good gifts in the areas of my life where I am spooked away by the filth I see in my own heart.

And Daddy just calmly finished polishing a spoon for my place setting and says, “Come here, I’ve got something Good for you.”

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Victory is in the battlefield.

We often think of this verse as a spiteful, triumphant “Haha!” to satan and his minions. Like, “Ooh, yeah, the devil’s right there and God is gonna feast with me just to make him watch.”

The problem with that theology is that it removes all the affection from us and turns the story into a spiteful romance between God and the devil.

But it’s never been about the devil. This is not all one big conquest to capture satan’s attention and get him riled up with jealousy. It has nothing to do with the enemy.

It has everything to do with us.
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Let’s examine the motives of the  Father’s heart. Here is the psalmist, doing just that for all of Psalm 23 preceding this verse.

David begins the song by stating Whose he is, and thereby affirms his identity.

Psalm 23:1 – The Lord is my shepherd. (Therefore) I shall not want.

Vine’s Dictionary defines “Want” as several words in the Greek meaning a number of things, such as “Lacking,” “Poverty,” “Need,” “Suffer,” and even “Failed.” Essentially, Psalm 23:1 means we will have no want that is a need that goes unfulfilled. If we have a need that is not met, there’s either something in the way on our side, or a mild delay on His side used to teach us something.

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Verse 2 of the 23rd Psalm describes the gentle authority of the Good Shepherd. “He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside still waters.” From the Father stems direction and instruction, a personal intimacy and closeness in which He shows us how He meets our needs, rather than just manna from Heaven.

It shows how much God desires relationship with us.

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Verses 3 and 4 talk about how the Good Shepherd instructs and renews His sheep, bringing protection through training and guiding–again, with intimacy.

David goes on to say in the latter portion of  verse 4 that the Shepherd’s rod and staff, instruments for guidance as well as disciplining and retrieving, are of comfort to the psalmist. David has found comfort in discipline only because he has grasped the concepts of the past four verses of this chapter.

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So we have established  Whose we are by affirming our Shepherd. We have acknowledged that we have every need met. We have become aware of God’s desire to accompany us intimately in every season. And with understanding and surrender to His character, we now welcome guidance and discipline.

Now, onto verse 5: You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies.

Ephesians 6:12- For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

Our enemies are not carnal; our enemies are of spirit, of power, of argument and of principle. Our enemies are either (or both) internal or invisible. To find your greatest enemy, look into your heart–examine it, have someone examine it with you. What do you see that’s not so swell? Are there skeletons in the dark closets of your heart?
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 Ezekiel 37:1-10 – The hand of the LORD was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”

   I said, “Sovereign LORD, you alone know.”

Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breathenter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD.’”

 So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.

 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’” So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.
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Everywhere that is dry, everywhere that is fruitless, everywhere that is dark, God wants to invade. The places that you dread going back to, the memories that you  have locked in a dark corner in your heart–those are all seeds for personal revival. God isn’t into redundancy; He’s into restoration. And when He restores, it’s always, always better than it was before.

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