This week I’ve heard a section from Psalm 23 repeat over and over in my head:
“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.”
When I first heard that scripture roll through my mind, I immediately felt the Holy Spirit highlight the word enemies. I flinched a little at first because I knew where he was putting his finger, and it made me uncomfortable. But true to his nature, he was really gentle as he pointed out people I’d been unconsciously labeling as enemies. He reminded me that they were not my enemy, and then he started softening my heart to ask the hard question: What enemies actually surround me?
My enemy is my sin. The desire to control. Getting lost in my head and spinning false narratives about situations. Anger. Fear. Pride. Apathy. Shame. Hopelessness.
Anything that stands in direct opposition to the character of Christ and Christ in me is my enemy.
He prepares a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
Tables represent feast over famine—the opposite of scarcity. The presence of enough. Provision. Abundance. The more. ⠀
I read once that shepherds seek out “table lands”— high plateaus with good grass for their sheep to graze. The shepherd often goes to the table lands and “prepares” the table by removing anything poisonous that might harm his sheep. He prepares the table before them in the presence of their enemies. He removes what does not belong or what can harm, and then he leads his sheep to abundance.
I’ve spent the rest of the week reflecting on these questions: How are you preparing my table right now? What are you removing from the table lands that is harmful to me?
Removal can be scary. When I see the Lord shifting or tearing down things around me, I get scared. My knee-jerk reaction is to resist and clamp down harder on what I think I can control. But I’m learning to trust a shepherd whose heart is for me. What the shepherd takes away won’t leave me empty or make the table land desolate. He is lovingly rooting out what can damage or harm me so I can live more freely. More abundantly. And in that abundance is a cup that always overflows.