Everyone enjoys a good meal. God designed us to be nourished; fueling our bodies to peak performance. Those comfortable in the kitchen are passionate about their craft. Proven by an abundance of televised programming.
There’s nothing quite like a beautiful dinner amongst loved ones. The planning, shopping, culinary expertise, china, silver and crystal all go into making the perfect evening.
I hail from generations of accomplished chefs. Carefully groomed to ensure diner satisfaction, I readily identify with Martha’s kitchen prowess while Christ awaited her delicacies. Yet there’s a different dinner table most avoid. For an invitation to that meal comes at great personal cost. There’s no line queuing up between velvet ropes. No two-year waiting list and valet parking. This setting is unsettling.
“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)
Another version reads, “You treat me to a feast, while my enemies watch.” Powerful words and imagery. Dare we believe it’s possible? That God spreads a table with His finest accouterments in the very center of our enemies? Not beside a dancing stream amongst verdant fields or in a cavernous stone dining hall—but in the very midst of our enemies? The Almighty invites us to dine on the battlefield.
Peace. Be. Still. All warfare must cease as He readies our chair near His; extending His arm inviting rest. Time to sheathe our sword, remove the armor, and sink heavily into the comfortable chair. Glancing around at angry enemies; the scene appears illogical.
It’s critical to learn God’s ways are not our ways as the Bible declares. Who would prepare a table on the battlefield, lion’s den, fiery furnace, or garden tomb? The same One who would sleep soundly in the boat’s stern on stormy seas. Every single situation in life is under His control and He’s not troubled.
The Lord will pause our combat to nourish us and renew our strength. He’ll also demonstrate our favor in the presence of our enemies. He’ll anoint our head with oil as our High Priest from an overflowing cup, directly in view of our adversaries.
Because God knows our frame, He’s aware we must have times of refreshing and encouragement. That our opponents need to witness His love for us while comprehending the outcome of their contentions. But there is a secondary purpose to our battle fatigue and unanswered questions in the fray. A much higher goal awaits.
“Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” James 1:12 (NASB)
Perseverance rewards eternal crowns. Trials are the red carpet to blessings. They gift us strength and resolve to graduate to the next level. Odd as it sounds; our enemies are a blessing to us. They open doors of greatness that none else could. Our trials are designed to advance us; to galvanize our earthly journey. To give us deep understanding of God while forging our crown of life that admits us into eternity.
Every single trial we will ever face is tailor-made for our spiritual maturation. While an attacker may think they’re weakening us, they are literally empowering us and promoting us from glory to glory. The Lord intentionally uses our trials to deepen our faith and trust in His steadfastness; highlighting His unwavering love.
Our mortal enemy entices us to believe God has utterly abandoned us. He hasn’t. That’s Him over there—walking across our battlefields.
It’s time to set the table!
Copyright © July 2021 Susan M. Watkins, used with permission.