PSALM 23 – THE BREAD OF THE TABLE – PART 18 –

PSALM 23

PART EIGHTEEN

BREAD FOR US

“Thou preparest a table before me
in the presence of mine enemies”
PSALM 23:5

“They are bread for us…” This was the declaration of FAITH that characterized the lives of Joshua and Caleb in the face of Israel’s unbelief and the number and the size of the enemies that inhabited the Land of Promise. Their strength was not in themselves. Their confidence was grounded in the unshakable trust that God was with them; a live vision that enabled them to remain unmoved by the size and the scope of their enemies. This is the crucial element to a faithful and consistent walk in God. The KEY phrase to this declaration is found in the verse preceding; “If the LORD delight in us”. True Vision always lifts our eyes from ourselves and causes us to focus on the things that please HIM. The life of the Son was always centered upon the one and great eternal desire to please the Father. His will was fixed upon this one thing and because of that His life was governed by that ONE GREAT WILL. The ability to see our enemies as bread for us is in direct correlation to our submission to HIS purposes; that we are here to DO His will and to walk in HIS ways regardless of the cost.

“The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him;
and he will show them his covenant”
PSALM 25:14

The life of feasting at this table must always be preceded by the WAY of the ALTAR. The Altar of Burnt Offering precedes the Table of Showbread! Vision is the result of a man’s walk; our ability to see and understand the purposes of God are directly related to our heart’s condition not our intellect. Spiritual ignorance is the fruit of disobedience. It was the obedience of Abraham to take his only son Isaac and offer him unto the Lord (as per the Word of the Lord) that Abraham saw the revelation of “Jehovah Jireh” (Genesis 22:13). It was WHEN the “feet of the Priests” carrying the Ark stepped into the flooding river Jordan that it parted allowing them to enter the Promised Land. It was WHEN Judah offered himself in the stead of Benjamin that Joseph could no longer restrain himself from revealing who he was in their midst. Joseph was there the whole time yet they could not see him until there was a change of heart. So too this table is set before us with the bountiful provisions of our God to nourish and supply us with all that we need to finish this race “that is set before us” (HEBREWS 12:1).

“Thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress”
PSALM 4:1

Ω

“It is only by obedience that we understand the teaching of God”
Oswald Chambers (1874–1917)

“Every man must tread the Word for himself.
One may read it in one shape,

another in another: all will be right if it be indeed the Word they read,
and they read it by the lamp of obedience.
He who is willing to do the will of the Father shall know the truth
…the Spirit is “given to them that obey him”
GEORGE MACDONALD

Brian Troxel

PSALM 23 – THE PLACE OF FEASTING – PART 17 –

PSALM 23

PART SEVENTEEN

THE PLACE OF FEASTING

“Thou preparest a table before me
in the presence of mine enemies”
PSALM 23:5

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”.

Ω

Obstacles in the pathway of the weak
become stepping-stones in the pathway of the strong.
Thomas Carlyle (1795–1881)

Brian Troxel

PSALM 23 – THE KINGS TABLE – PART 16 –

PSALM 23

PART SIXTEEN

THE KINGS TABLE

“Thou preparest a table before me… ”
PSALM 23:4

The table spoken of here is no ordinary table; it is the King’s Table. It is the Table of Royalty designated for Kings yet we find it set for those who follow the Shepherd! The Hebrew Word translated “TABLE*” here שֻׁלְחָן is properly defined as “a king’s table, (for) private use, sacred uses” (BDB Hebrew Definitions). It is the Hebrew Word used for the “Table of Show Bread”; the Hebrew word used when the Queen of Sheba visited Solomon’s “Table” and was astonished at the glory found therein. It is used when God was angry at Israel for how they treated HIS Table in their day of apostasy and neglect (see Malachi 1:7, 12). This is the Table that is provided to all who would follow their Shepherd and their King! It is a table of provision; a table of intimate and private concourse with the King of Kings. It is here that we eat of the Hidden Manna. It is here that HE comes and draws us aside to break the bread of fellowship and understanding that we may grow in strength and in our relationship with HIM. This is a PRIVATE TABLE reserved for those who follow HIM in Spirit and Truth; not with lip service but with all the passion of a heart that knows that nothing but Jesus can satisfy the longing within.

This is a prepared table. It is not one that is hastily set. The Hebrew word used here for “prepared” is translated most often in the Old Testament speaking of the armies of Israel being “arrayed” for battle. It is a prepared table for a prepared people. It is ordered and set with the utmost of care and attention to detail. God is never in a hurry. HE is always the ONE in CONTROL and HIS TABLE is prepared from eternity for our strengthening and preparation. While men would panic in the DAY of Battle our God is calm and purposed. We see Jesus at the last supper with His disciples, knowing full well the drama that was about to unfold, filled with PEACE and enjoying intimate fellowship with HIS disciples! There was no panic for HE was and is the REIGNING ONE! Let us draw near to this table and eat of HIM, with HIM and by HIM that we may arise as He PREPARED TO MEET the enemy in this HOUR.

This PRIVATE TABLE is seen throughout the Gospels as Jesus spoke in parables to the crowds and the religious leaders. Later He would take His Disciples aside to cause them to know and understand the truths of what HE had spoken. It is in these private moments that the “bread of LIFE” becomes alive to our hearts and we see and hear things in a new way! The reason men do not see the power of HIS LIFE pulsating in the Word of God is that they have not discovered this table. This table will only be found by those “who follow the Lamb” wherever HE goes. This is a table of relationship PREPARED for those who would eat of its rich provisions and walk in the strength of it. It is not a Table filled with sweet things only but also with meat seasoned with bitter herbs and bread to make men strong (EXODUS 12:8). It is, after all, the “Table of the Lord” and those who would minister Him must EAT ALL that is set before them. For it is in the eating of HIM that HE becomes a part of us!

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man,
and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.
Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life;
and I will raise him up at the last day.
For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me,
and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father:
so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me”
JOHN 6:52 – 57

This is not a table for the curious, for those who like to hear the latest teaching or those who run after signs and wonders. Rather it is a table set aside for those who will EAT of HIM through the medium of OBEDIENCE! Martyrs and Saints of all generations have eaten of this table and found FAITH and GRACE to overcome. May we follow the LAMB in our day to share at His table the prepared provision for the DAY THAT IS UPON US.

“…To him that overcometh
will I give to eat of the hidden manna”
REVELATION 2:17

Ω

“God walks with the humble; He reveals himself to the lowly;

 He gives understanding to the little ones;

He discloses his meaning to pure minds,

 but hides His grace from the curious and the proud”

THOMAS A KEMPIS

 

* Note the instances where this word is used it consistently refers to a table of royalty (good and bad), prophets and a table of showbread in the Tabernacle and Temples.

table, 56 Ex 25:23, Ex 25:27-28 (2), Ex 25:30, Ex 26:35 (3), Ex 30:27, Ex 31:8, Ex 35:13, Ex 37:10, Ex 37:14-16 (3), Ex 39:36, Ex 40:4, Ex 40:22, Ex 40:24, Lev 24:6, Num 3:31, Judg 1:7 (2), 1 Sam 20:29, 1 Sam 20:34, 2 Sam 9:7, 2 Sam 9:10-11 (2), 2 Sam 9:13, 2 Sam 19:28, 1 Kin 2:7, 1 Kin 4:27, 1 Kin 7:48, 1 Kin 10:5, 1 Kin 13:20, 1 Kin 18:19, 2 Kin 4:10, 1 Chr 28:16, 2 Chr 9:4, 2 Chr 13:11, 2 Chr 29:18, Neh 5:17, Ps 23:5, Ps 69:22, Ps 78:19, Ps 128:3, Prov 9:2, Isa 21:5, Isa 65:11, Ezek 23:41, Ezek 39:20, Ezek 41:22, Ezek 44:16, Dan 11:27, Mal 1:7, Mal 1:12

tables, 14 1 Chr 28:16 (2), 2 Chr 4:8, 2 Chr 4:19, Isa 28:8, Ezek 40:39-43 (9)

The Book of Hebrews declares that “We have an altar from which those who serve the tabernacle have no right to eat…” (Hebrews 13:10)  The only way to eat of this table is to Serve and Follow the LAMB OF GOD!!!

Brian Troxel