THE PLACE OF FEASTING
“Thou preparest a table before me
in the presence of mine enemies”
This table has been set with rich provisions and is there for us to eat and drink and become strong thereby. It is not a table for mere talking and listening but it is the table of the Bread of HIS LIFE which must be consumed in order that it becomes a reality in our lives. We have had much in terms of teaching; in fact much of our Christian experience in this land is really one of LISTENING to didactical teaching and the dissemination of information. It becomes an intellectual exercise and much of it remains purely theoretical in its actual application. We have become good at hearing, debating, and discussing the doctrines and concepts of men without the substance of LIVING in the reality of the LIFE OF CHRIST. The outward FORM of TEACHING is necessary for a season but somewhere it must give way to the EXPERIENCE and WALK in every true disciple. Notice that this TABLE OF PROVISION is not set in the confines of a nice and comfortable Christian Setting but in the PRESENCE OF OUR ENEMIES! The PROVISION comes as we OVERCOME our enemies.
It is in the conflicts of life that we discover His strength. Here, as the WORD of GOD is eaten and made real, we no longer live in ethereal teachings, concepts and good sounding religious ideas. Instead HIS LIFE is discovered WITHIN the conflicts of our daily lives! We discover the wonder of a living FAITH that must bring what I have heard into my WALK! This is where Christ becomes the EXPERIENCE of the individual believer. By its very nature the life of overcoming can only be appropriated on an individual basis. The corporate expression is only as valid as the authenticity of the individual. Just because I LISTEN to good teaching does not mean my Christian experience is valid. The validity of my LIFE in Christ can only be known by the expression of HIS LIFE in me. In order for that to be the truth of my life it requires not only a hearing of HIS WORD but it must give way to a doing of that WORD; obedience is the ONLY way to the life of OVERCOMING. If there is no obedience there can be no OVERCOMING!
In the Gospels we see and hear Jesus teaching the WORD concerning the Kingdom of God and we are struck with the wonder and the wisdom found within the beauty of HIS words. However, HE does not allow the Disciples to linger in the place of hearing only. Because HE is not just a teacher (but has come to fulfill His Father’s will) we see Him sending the Disciples to live and walk out that which He has spoken of. He sends them out to heal the sick, cast out demons and to declare the WORD of the Kingdom! Likewise the WORD must become flesh in our own experience. We must eat of the provisions of this table in the presence of our enemies! Not only the obvious, external ones but more importantly the enemies of our heart, the weaknesses of our flesh and the “I” that is always clamouring for pre-eminence, comfort and its own way. We must find HIM as our victory here or it will matter very little what we know. Judas heard and saw the Glory of Christ yet in the end he betrayed HIM for his own ends. It is not enough to know and have an association with Jesus; we MUST EAT OF HIM at this table “prepared” for us in the “presence of our enemies”!
Men love knowledge and understanding. We love to discuss things, debate things and share things but Jesus came that men may have “LIFE and LIFE abundantly…” He did not come to bring a new teaching or to tickle men’s ears with revelatory speech. HE came to be the very EXPRESSION of the all that God is. Not an expression only but the MEANS by which the fallen race of man would become “THE BODY OF CHRIST” in the earth. For this reason HE sets this table of provision that we may BECOME “bone of HIS bone and flesh of His flesh” in demonstration in our daily life. It is crucial to see that the conflicts and tribulations of this life are given to us to become strong. May God save us from teachings that leave us impoverished, impotent and unable to walk and may we find HIS table “prepared” for us in the “presence of our enemies”.
Obstacles in the pathway of the weak
become stepping-stones in the pathway of the strong.
Thomas Carlyle (1795–1881)