Reflections on the Psalms: Psalm 23 Part 3

These past two weeks I’ve shared some thoughts on Psalm 23.  Today, I want to look at the final section of this great song of David.

psalm-23Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. –Psalm 23:5-6 (KJV)

There’s something very poetic about the way the King James Version translates the Psalms.  However, I also really enjoy the way the Message (Eugene Peterson) translates these great thoughts:

Your beauty and love chase after me
 every day of my life.
 I’m back home in the house of God
 for the rest of my life. -Psalm 23:6 (Message)

In section one of this psalm, we saw that the LORD is our Shepherd.  In section two, we saw that the LORD is our Guide.  In this final section, David wants us to see that the LORD is also our Good Host.

The LORD is the host at a banquet prepared for his child.  Before entering the banquet hall, the host would anoint the honored guest with oil  (Luke 7:46) made by adding perfumes to olive oil.

God is pictured as caring for my needs in the midst of the evil forces that attempt to destroy my life and my soul.

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?…No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. -Romans 8:31, 37-39 (ESV)

The good news is that there is room for all of us at God’s table.  And he freely shares with all.  I may eat at the LORD’s table in faith, fully at peace and protected by the shed blood and broken body of the Good Shepherd Jesus.

The talk of a feast anticipates a victory celebration, where the enemies are present as captives; or an accession feast with defeated rivals as reluctant guests.

But the prospect is better than just a feast!  In the Old Testament world, to eat and drink at someone’s table created a bond of mutual loyalty and could be the culminating token of a covenant (Exodus 24:8-12 and 1 Cor. 11:25).

Jesus invites us into that covenant relationship with him.  Not on the basis of what we have done, but because of what he has done for us.  Jesus laid down his life so that we could enter into covenant with God.  Despite all our failures and despite everything we face in this world, we are invited to join Jesus at his Father’s table.

Here’s the good news for us: 

Its about being more than just God’s acquaintance, invited to come for the day.  It is to LIVE with Him.  It is the end of a long pilgrimage.  A coming home.

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