You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Psalm 23:5 (ESV)
Upon meeting certain criteria, Roman conquerors were rewarded with a victory processional held in the streets of the city. Among those participating in the processional were the prominent politicians and citizens, the conqueror and the prisoners of war. The processional would end at the temple of Jupiter. The temple was opened and a public feast ensued. Hungry and helpless, the captured enemy combatants were force to watch as their captors feasted. No doubt there were many times when Israel’s King David and his armies feasted on the spoils of war as their prisoners looked on in anguish.
David had many flesh and blood enemies. When he was a shepherd watching over his father’s flock he fought with lions and bears (1 Samuel 17:34-37). As an army commander and king he arrayed his armies against numerous adversaries. But who are our enemies? Paul wrote, For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12 ESV) Peter wrote and our adversary is the devil (1 Peter 5:8 ESV).
Our Good Shepherd confronted the comic powers of this present darkness at the cross and through his death defeated them. The death Jesus died he died to sin and through his death he destroyed the one who has the power of death; the devil (Romans 6:10; Hebrews 2:14). Paul told us that our sins were forgiven and the debt against us was canceled being nailed to the cross with Christ. In so doing he disarmed the rulers and authorities, triumphed over them and put them to an open shame (Colossians 2:13-15).
At the cross God prepared a table before us in the presence of our shamed (disarmed) enemies. If we died with Christ on the cross (Romans 6:1-11; Colossians 3:3) we in essence ate his flesh and drank his blood and were given eternal life (John 6:53-56). Jesus said, I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh. (John 6:35, 51 ESV) The body and blood of Christ was the table God prepared for us and when we observe the Lord’s Supper we are reminded of the work of Christ on the cross and proclaim his death until he comes (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).
The cross is not the only meal that our Good Shepherd has prepared for us in the presence or our enemies. Peter wrote, His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence. (2 Peter 1:3 ESV) God has made ample provision for us in the precious promises that are set forth in scripture. These promises are a continual feast for us and our enemies are powerless to thwart them.
There is another meal that Christians have to look forward to; the marriage supper of Lamb (Revelation 19:9). The Lord will dress himself for service, have us recline at table and serve us (Luke 12:35-37).
Have you feasted at the table of the Lord?
Scriptures for meditation: