Friday, 31 July 2015

Daily Reading: Psalm 23v5

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

Imagine that as you go downstairs there on the doormat is a letter with the royal crest on it.  You open it and draw out the heavily embossed high quality card that you find there.  You open it and to your amazement see that you personally have been invited to a banquet at Buckingham Palace by HRH Queen Elizabeth II.  That captures something, but only a little bit, of the wonder of these verses.

The image changes in v5 from that of God as Shepherd and his people as his sheep to that of a host and his guest.  God is the host and David is his guest.  And God as host prepares, welcomes and provides for his people.  The spread at the table is lavish and abundant and it is set before David.  But more than that this welcoming is done in the presence of David's enemies.  God vindicates David, his faith is proved well grounded and fully justified, and he rests and enjoys being in God's house totally secure.

But even more than that the key point is who the host is, who has prepared the table, who it is who has anointed his head.  It is Yahweh, it is the Lord, the mighty sovereign Lord of Hosts.  This meal isn't prepared by a servant, a peer, an equal, or even an angel.  This is God as host and provider.  That is an amazing thing to stop and think about.  Our future is secure but more amazingly our future is God's provision and God's presence.

Banquets were done somewhat differently in David's day than they are in ours.  If we greeted someone, the next time they had a meal with us, by pouring oil on their head we would get funny looks at the least.  But in David's day anointing your guest was a sign of honour and favour.  It told your guest that he had nothing to fear, and here it is God who anoints his guest, welcoming him with the sign of his favour.

Furthermore to be a guest at someones table was a sign of acceptance.  It was a sign that any enmity between you was set aside and that the host assumed responsibility for their guests protection.   David knows that there is no enmity between him and God, how?  He is trusting in God's future promises of a new covenant, in the same way we trust in Christ and all that is ours in him.  God's people know that God is for them, he is our protector and we enjoy his favour.  We have been welcomed in and will one day be welcomed in to the realised kingdom.

That ought to shape our day.  When mocked or ridiculed for our faith, like David we fix our eyes on God's coming kingdom, that one day our faith with be vindicated.  But we also live now in the light of the welcome we have received.  We enjoy God's favour in Christ, we enjoy protection as his people, we know security not in our plans and purposes but in God's.

No comments: