“Thou prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” Psalm 23:5a
It’s an odd thought to have a table set for one, “In the presence of (one’s) enemies.” Some believe the psalmist was referring to the ancient practice of hospitality that expected people to provide a traveler with food and water, before they continued their journey. Which could put a person in the situation of hosting a personal enemy.
But, when I read that verse in Psalm 23, “Thou prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies,” I imagine a celebratory head table at a banquet, overflowing with fruits, breads, main dishes and desserts. I think of awards, honors or recognition made for one’s service, valor or courage. Meanwhile, a person’s enemies sit in the far back, fuming as they are forced to watch. At least, these are my thoughts when enemies make themselves known to me.
The psalmist, believed to be King David, experiences God’s grace in this moment of favor. Not to gloat, but as a simple acknowledgment that those who meant him harm were powerless, in the presence of God grace.
How many anxious and sleepless nights have these words reassured us . . . Be the enemy human, grief or disease.
The table is set and we are invited to feast, on the mercy, compassion and grace of God.