First United Presbyterian Church

A Table Before Me

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies” (Psalm 23:5)

The last part of Psalm 23 is less familiar, in which the psalmist praises God for granting him a place in God’s house and for treating him royally. But what does it mean to have a table in the presence of enemies?

One does not eat easily when enemies abound; one must be wary. But it is also a sign of power and authority to have a table prepared. Who sits at this table? Do our enemies, then, sit at the table with us?

Yes. If we truly follow Christ, then we will break bread freely even with those who would plot our demise—as Jesus broke bread freely with Judas. We will share the intimacy of a meal even with those who hate us, and in so doing we shall have no more enemies. God’s mercy is more powerful than any hatred man has yet conceived, and God’s grace is neverending—the overflowing cup.  If we surrender our battles to God, then surely God will preserve us against our enemies—not by waging cruel war against them, for God does not need to take sides in our petty human conflicts—but by preparing a table set for friend and foe alike and bidding us dine with our enemies, who are all likewise made in God’s image.

Let us sit down, then, in the presence of our enemies, and bid them join us in the feast!

Angela Cox

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