Hi, friends! Welcome to the Psalm 23 Mug challenge, where I encourage you to spend time with your Shepherd from the first sip to the last of your morning coffee (or whatever you drink!) Here you will find prompts from Psalm 23 to pray through. Feel free to jump in any week, or you can start from the beginning here.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
I love the imagery of Psalm 23. The peaceful stream, the green grass, the dark valley. And then there’s this verse. From the time I can remember first hearing this passage, I always pictured the Shepherd setting up a table with bountiful blessings, and then making my enemy come and watch me eat so they could see what they were missing. With me sticking my tongue out in between bites and saying, “Ha ha….the Shepherd likes me more than you.” Am I the only one who envisioned this scenario?
It turns out that is not what this verse means.
When a soldier is in battle (or David, who spent a good portion of his life hiding and running from a king who was trying to kill him), setting up a table and taking time to enjoy a meal was not on their list of top priorities. When an enemy can attack at any moment, you must always be on guard. Chewing slowly, savoring, sipping, and relaxing and conversing at a table is pure luxury that one could not afford.
Psalm 23:5 paints the beautiful paradox of the Shepherd as both Defender and Host.
He prepares good things for you, and lavishes in your company while you sit in His presence, all the while shouldering the burden of anything that should come to try to steal you away.
While you may not have real enemies that are trying to literally destroy you, distractions abound. They pull your attention so fiercely that it makes it impossible to enjoy the company of your Savior.
Today as you have set aside time to sit quietly with your Shepherd, be comforted that He has prepared good things for you. As you take each sip, confess the distractions that are trying keep you from enjoying all that God has for you.
Put your own “enemy” in this verse…..
“You prepare a table before me in the presence of ________________________.”
Examples: my unfolded laundry, my need to please other people, exhaustion…..whatever the excuse you use that keeps you from getting to the table.
What are some of the good things you are hoping to receive when take the time to ignore those distractions?
Here’s a bonus challenge: Spend a few minutes preparing a table one time this week. This could mean getting out your fine china, or your tea set that’s collecting dust, or even just setting out a breakfast buffet of cereal for your kids before they wake up. You can cover the table with brown craft paper and set up crayons and stickers for your kids or grandkids, or make place cards for your family members, or get out some craft supplies, or make an ice cream buffet with all the toppings. Whatever it is, spend some time preparing to enjoy someone’s company at a table this week. Watch the delight in your company’s eyes realizing that they are special enough to prepare a table for.
And then let that time be a tangible reminder to you of how excited the Shepherd is to have you at HIS table.
Praise God, our Defender, who has prepared a bounty for you today.
Blessings, sweet friend,
Please post a photo of your mug with #Psalm23mugchallenge (or screen shot and share my image) to encourage others to join us! I’d love to hear your thoughts and reflections from the day’s challenge.