Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – May 1, 2020
By Guest Writer: Marcia Gaddis
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 23:5-6, ESV
I’m reading this verse over and over. God provides for and protects me in full view of my enemies.
For a shepherd, the table was a high plateau, or mesa, where the flock would spend the summer months. It took some preparation and the shepherd would go several times to remove poisonous weeds, clear away rocks, check out water supplies and resting places. The preparation was done with the full knowledge the wild predators were watching the movement of the flock, just waiting for the time to attack.
We are always in danger of attack – something is out to get us. Who among us will not remember COVID 19, or the terms “sheltering in place” or “social distancing.” We are being attacked. Our world is under attack.
Scripture refers to Satan as a “roaring lion” always looking for someone to devour. Our family felt that attack when our oldest daughter was diagnosed with a rare and incurable disease. Satan was surely out to devour not only her, but our whole family. I hate Satan.
Despite the pain of loss and raging grief, I knew a “table” was prepared for us in the presence of our enemy. How? Love poured into our home. Nature provided a daily miraculous show if we could see through our tears. Oh, the enemy was real and present, but the feast of God’s presence overpowered the attack. To this day, I do not understand it, but I believe it.
You might say it was the daily anointing of oil that slowly healed us. The shepherd would apply oil to the noses of his sheep to keep away a certain, dangerous fly. If this fly was not deterred, the inflammation could cause the animal to go blind or even kill itself by thrashing its head on the ground. I can relate to the sheep here as there were many thrashing days when I needed a double dose of God’s anointing oil.
Staying close to our heavenly Shepherd is the only way to overcome the attacks of the roaring lion. Staying close is the only way to remain at the table and be nurtured by God’s provision.
L.B. Cowan who penned Streams in the Desert wrote, “We often pray to be delivered from afflictions, and even trust God that we will be. But we do not pray for Him to make us what we should be while in the midst of the afflictions. Nor, do we pray that we would be able to live within them, for however long they may last, in complete awareness that we are held and sheltered by the Lord and can therefore continue within them without suffering any harm.”
You might say, “But Megan died. She suffered harm, did she not?” Yes, her body suffered physically. But as I understand this, Megan sat at the Lord’s table – the feast of His fellowship. I can see her in the picture having a picnic with Jesus.
There’s one more thought…we are all invited to the prepared table because God gave us His only Son. (John 3:16) We have been invited to the feast of His fellowship. And if we receive that fellowship and accept it in gratitude and humility, we then can continue in our afflictions.
May we walk with Christ to the Cross in gratitude for his invitation to the table. God, help us to live within our afflictions, knowing we are sheltered by you. Help us to embrace them, trusting that by doing so, they can be transformed into something that gives you glory.
Heavenly Father, I praise you for having a seat at your table of love and comfort, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Who needs me to invite them to my table of love for acceptance and support?
Here is a helpful resource during these days of grief, sorrow and uncertainty: A Little Book of Comfort
Staying close to our heavenly Shepherd’s love is the only way to overcome the attacks from the father of lies. #WisdomHunters #table #truth #Jesus
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