- The 23rd Psalm Series
- The Lord is my Shepherd – That’s Relationship!
- I shall not want – That’s Supply!
- He maketh me to lie down in green pastures – That’s Rest!
- He leadeth me beside the still waters – That’s Refreshment!
- He restoreth my soul – That’s Healing!
- He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness – That’s Guidance!
- For His Name’s Sake – That’s Purpose
- Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death – That’s Testing!
- I Shall Fear No Evil – That’s Protection
- For Thou art with me — That’s Faithfulness!
- Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me – That’s Discipline
- Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies – That’s Hope!
- Thou annointest my head with oil – That’s Consecration!
- My cup runneth over – That’s Abundance!
- And I will dwell in the house of the Lord —–That’s Security!
- Forever – That’s Eternity!
God is a hospitable host; he furnishes or spreads the table on a high mountain, and the enemy looks on with rage and impotence from the deep valley. God is the cup or portion of his people, and each can say, as in this case, “My cup is abundant—drink.” God does everything for his people. Rod, staff, table, unction, cup, all are God’s. “What hast thou that thou hast not received?” Truly, my soul, God treateth thee as a favourite and setteth on thee special seals. So every believing man can say. Each of us seems to be God’s only child—God’s one ewe lamb—God’s chosen delight. But all this favour involves corresponding responsibility. Nothing is said in mere words about the responsibility, but it is in the very heart and necessity of the case. We cannot receive all and return nothing. Gratitude must find its own most appropriate expressions. I must judge my piety as certainly by its gratitude as by its mercies. No gratitude means that the rain of love has been lost in a desert of insensibility. (Joseph Parker, The Peoples Bible)
I. The table here comes in after the valley of sadness. Is there not a preparation even in that fact? When do we so want the table as when we have just been through severe experiences? It is true spiritually, as it is physically, and it is the law of God’s government, “If any man do not work, neither let him eat.” The table follows the valley.
II. What is the prepared table? I should by no means exclude from the answer the ordinary supply of our daily meals. There is the anticipatory mind of the Infinite everywhere. It is well to forget the material callings, the buying, and the ordering, and the preparing, to see nothing but a prearranged, and complicated, and accurate gift of God, and to feel only, “Thou preparest a table for me.”
III. The whole of the twenty-third Psalm, however, is essentially spiritual, and David’s prepared table was certainly a holy one. And to this every child of God will set his seal and add his witness, that God does most surely and most strangely provide spiritual food for us, just what, and just when, and just where we need. One day you may have felt a more than usual emptiness of heart and a craving after you knew not what, only it was an unsatisfied sense that something was wanting. Your soul was hungry. That very hunger was a part of a great preparation. It was that day that you opened your Bible, and it is astonishing what a power it carried, a thing hardly to be accounted for. It fitted into your thoughts; it suggested the ideas that you wanted. Was not that a table prepared?
IV. There is another table yet to be, when a prepared people shall meet at a prepared banquet and the appointed ones gather round their appointed King.