Monday, February 23, 2009

Psalm 23:5 A Banquet in the Presence of my Enemies

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.

In my previous post, I shared my meditations on the first four verses of Psalm 23. I did not touch verses 5 and 6 then because I wanted to stick to the Shepherd/Sheep imagery.

As we come to verse 5, we notice that there is a shift in imagery. The Shepherd/sheep relationship between David and YHWH becomes Banquet host/Guest of honor relationship. The pasture is now a table and the brooks of refreshing water is now an overflowing cup of wine.

But since all six verses constitute one Psalm, we will start with its connection with verse 4. Verse 4 shows that even in the most dangerous and life-threatening conditions- even in the valley of shadow of death, the sheep is fearless because of the Shepherd’s presence. The Lord delivers us from all harm. Ferocious predators such as lions and bears may lurk around but if the Lord is our shepherd, there is nothing to fear.

From that point comes the shift in imagery. “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows” Before the eyes of the enemies, the Lord takes the role of a banquet host and prepares a feast for the Psalmist. The imagery is similar to Isa. 25:6 where in the context of God comforting His people and removing their disgrace, God says: “On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined”. He anoints the psalmist with oil publicly proclaiming that the psalmist is a very special guest.

Brothers and sisters, why should we desire any other place other than God’s presence. Why should we desire to eat the garbage of worldliness when in His presence, our souls can enjoy the banquet he prepared. In the Lord's presence, there is a feast even when enemies and other dangers surround us. To the banquet host be the glory!

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