The Preparation Of The Table
September 25, 2011
Introduction: As one meditates on this magnificent poem, it is helpful to keep in mind that the poet is recounting the events of the full years in a sheep's life. He takes us with him from the home ranch where every need is so carefully supplied by the owner, out into the green pasture, along the still waters, up through the mountain valleys to the high tablelands of summer.
This verse has been referred to as a passage of transition. It is here that the Shepherd and sheep seem to change to Host and guest. My divine Host has "prepared a table before me." It is not a secret feast, but enjoyed in the presence of my enemies. His provision is wonderfully lavish, a table laden with food, perfumed oil to anoint my head, and an overflowing cup. In verses 2, 3, He, Himself, will lead me, so His goodness and mercy (love) will follow me (6). He will guard me behind and before, throughout all the days of my life. Finally, "I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."
This passage, verse 5, speaks of the infinite resources in the worst of situations. The understanding of this passage is in one word, "table."
I. THE SHEPHERD'S PREPARATION. 5
"You prepare a table before me"
Table does not necessarily refer to a piece of furniture but the word simply means "something spread out." Flat places in the hilly country were called tables and sometimes the shepherd stopped the flock at these tables and allowed them to eat and rest as they headed for the fold.
Ps 78:19. "Can God prepare a table in the wilderness?"
David refers to table as the entire high summer range, normally in remote and hard to reach places. Before the shepherd would lead his sheep there, he would make preliminary survey trips in order to prepare the way for his flock.
While there, the shepherd would check to see if there were poisonous weeds and he would take drastic steps to eradicate them ...
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