Psalm 23 – Week 12
You become my delicious feast even when my enemies dare to fight. The Passion
You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. New Living Translation
Sheep are a prey animal. Their instinct, when faced with a predator is to run, not fight. After fleeing, sheep will reform their group and look at the predator. They have very keen senses and they use their senses to avoid the danger. They have a wide angle of vision that allows them to see predators easily (up to 1,500 yards away) as well as a keen sense of smell to know what different predators smell like. They never walk in a straight line! The winding, circular trails help them to observe their backside first with one eye and then the other.
Let’s think of this in human terms. We tend to fight or flight…or freeze. But sit down to a feast when there is danger around us? That is not what we do. (And neither do sheep for that matter!)
David is the Psalmist who wrote this Psalm as a young boy of approximately seventeen. His role as Shepherd taught him many valuable lessons for the switch in his career – that of becoming Israel’s King. I can’t imagine how many analogies he collected over the years. This verse calls us to see a picture of endangered sheep to whom the Shepherd (David) is committed. He wouldn’t have wanted his sheep to constantly be on high alert, always running from every danger they encountered. He would have wanted them to know that there were times when he would bring them to a lush grazing place – a feasting place – a place he wanted them to enjoy and “let down their wool.” 😊 It’s like he is saying, “I know there are enemies all around, enemies that want to fight in whatever way they can to capture you and destroy you. Let me be the watchman here. You eat and enjoy this feast that I have found for you.”
He would have known that they couldn’t have rested enough to digest food if they were ready to run in fear and self-protection. Even sheep can’t be on high alert 24-7. He wasn’t telling them there weren’t any enemies so they could rest and eat. He told them they could eat in the very presence of their enemies because he was their shepherd.
Read the following verses out loud:
Matthew 11:28 – Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Isaiah 55:1 – Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters, and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.”
Mark 6: 31 - Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
Which one of these verses are you drawn to as it relates to needing a break from the fears in this session of your life? When it comes to needing to allow yourself to feast on what God has prepared for you today. When it comes to letting Jesus handle all the dangers and all the very real enemies of life just to sit in His presence.
Sit with your chosen verse in silence. Read it again. Let the words sink in to your soul.
Now engage your imagination: Where are you with Jesus? What does the table look like? Is it outside or inside? Does it have a table cloth or rich wood that begs not to be covered? Jesus is your host. He welcomes you to sit down. You don’t even have to know what to order or what you want to eat. He knows about the weariness that comes from so many decisions. He knows what you need. (Your Father knows what you need before you ask. Matthew 6:8)
Breathe deeply. Let go of your fears – just for a little while. Entrust them to Jesus. Imagine yourself doing this – giving your fears to Jesus. Does He smile at you? What does He do with them? What has He prepared for you? What do you see on the table that you realize you need from God? Take time here. Imagine Jesus knowing which to pick up first and offer you. What is it like to take this gift from Jesus? When you are finished taking this time to come away, talk to God out of it.