You prepared a table before me (Psalm 23:5)
“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies…”
Sometimes sheep face an enemy far more intelligent, threatening, and successful than the usual wolf, bear, or lion. This predator doesn’t scatter and strike as the others do, he sneaks and steals. He waits until the cover of night, undetected the thief will come to take for himself what is not rightfully his.
”Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”
It wasn’t unusual that the shepherd would find one of his sheep missing and after searching near and far he would find his sheep in another pasture among another flock.
What could the shepherd do in this situation?
How could he prove that his sheep were stolen?
How does he regain his property?
In Psalm 23:5 the word “prepare” in the Hebrew is normally translated “to set in order” as a waiter setting the table for the dinner guests, I find it interesting that this same word can also mean “to set forth” as a legal case.
The little shepherd boy who became a king tells us of another King who would shepherd into freedom those who had been stolen by the enemy and imprisoned due to sin. After all the evidence was prepared Jesus set forth His case on the table of communion, testifying of the body that would be broken and the blood that would be shed as a remission for our sin. Based upon undeniable evidence God the father, the Righteous Judge declared us clear of all charges.
We’re forgiven, and upon faith in Jesus we are Holy and can enjoy intimacy with Almighty God. Just as the shepherd called to his sheep in John 10, Jesus calls to us through the open door of salvation and it’s our responsibility as the sheep to respond to His voice, to come to Him, to believe and walk out of the prison of sin and into the freedom of salvation.
”Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called “Today,” lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, while it is said:
“Today, if you will hear His voice,
Do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”“