Thou Preparest a Table

447823040_674aaeec92

(Flickr Photo Sharing http://www.flickr.com)

 “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.” (Psalm 23:5 KJV)

I used to delight in breakfast in bed, a charming tray of blueberry pancakes with a pat of real butter and the steamy smell of tea in a hearty mug. However, after just being released from my sixth hospital stay over the last year, breakfast in bed has lost its luster. I don’t want a little table prepared and set before me. I realize I sound like a spoiled brat, but the sight and smell of hospital food sends nausea rising from the pit of my stomach.

My thoughts must ascend to a table beyond description. The awe-inspiring table the Lord prepares for those who love Him.

In his book, A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23, Phillip Keller explains that a table (mesa) is the height of the summer range of the mountain.

A mesa (Portuguese and Spanish for table) is the American English term for tableland, an elevated area of land with a flat top and sides that are usually steep cliffs. It takes its name from its characteristic table-top shape. It may also be called a table hill, table-topped hill or table mountain. (Wikipedia)

1024px-IslandInTheSky

The Island in the Sky mesa/district of Canyonlands National Park, as seen from the Needles district. (Wikipedia)

Phillip Keller likewise explains that mesas are remote and hard to reach. The shepherd goes up early in the season to survey the wild country, remove poisonous plants, etc. He goes before and “prepares a table” for the sheep. Christ goes before us to prepare a table for His people.

He has spread the feast! Will you come? Though He goes before us and prepares the way, our enemies are ever present. “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8) As the sheep must stay close to the shepherd to avoid being devoured by a predator, we must stay near to Jesus to avoid being devoured by the evil one. We must stay in continual prayer and communion through His Word. We must walk in the Holy Spirit, not in the flesh.

“Stay close to the Shepherd! The distant sheep, the roamers, the wanders fall prey!” Phillip Keller

After 16 years of living with Myasthenia gravis (an autoimmune disease), I long for physical healing. This last hospital stay was for five days of plasmapheresis. (Plasma exchange). Polluted antibodies were removed, and replaced with fresh plasma. I picture the Holy Spirit coming in and removing my sin and replacing it with more of Himself.

IMG_2072

May I long more for the table He sets before me. The wine representing His cleansing blood, cleansing mine. The bread His body, broken for me, that I might be whole.

By His stripes, I am healed, in this life or the next!

I close with this piercing question from Phillip Keller. Meditate and ask yourself the same thing.

“When I come to the Lord’s Table and partake of the communion service which is a feast of thanksgiving for His love and care, do I fully appreciate what it has cost Him to prepare this table for me?” Phillip Keller, A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23

17 thoughts on “Thou Preparest a Table

  1. Chas Lutz

    Beautiful.  You have a real gift for teaching!  I love combining creation and scripture, like hand and glove!  Glad you’re home.  Happy B-day to Abigail!

    Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

    From:”securely held” Date:Sat, Mar 21, 2015 at 9:59 am Subject:[New post] Thou Preparest a Table

    securelyheld posted: ” (Flickr Photo Sharing http://www.flickr.com)  “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.” (Psalm 23:5 KJV) I used to delight in breakfast in bed, a charming tray of blueberry pan”

    Reply
  2. Sheila Edeliant

    Great thoughts, Cheryl! I never thought of that about the table being the land, but that makes a whole lot of sense. One of our favorite places to hike where we used to live in southern Oregon is “Table Rock,” a neat mesa with an awesome view as you climb — and an even more awesome view from the top. You really feel free up there! 🙂

    May God grant you peace and courage in your journey, and ultimately healing. Blessings, sister.

    Reply
  3. findingourfeetorg

    I’m so sorry to hear about your repeated trips for treatment. I know they are miserable. You always look to the positive though and I know God knows your eyes remain on Him. I don’t know how we could fully appreciate the cost He paid for us… most of us will never fathom anything even remotely close to what He endured on our behalf, but just the same… I am SO thankful for it. I will continue praying for healing in this life, but regardless of His path for you, I look forward to celebrating full healing with you in the next. ❤

    Reply
  4. Ariëlla

    I read your blog late last night. It was too late to write a real comment 🙂 But now I am back in the early morning. It’s impressive what you write. This is the first time I am on your blog, it seems to me that you are very brave!

    This morning I read in my Bible Psalm 41, linked to book CH Spurgeon. Verse 3: “The LORD will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing: you will restore his bed in his sickness.” In my language ( Dutch) I read: “When he is ill, You make his illness completely different.” Our good shepherd is the One who makes our sickness so completely different. In our sickness he gives us sometimes ( often?) a thankful heart, awareness of God’s grace for us, feeling that He surrounds us with His love. All this is a prelude to our future glory with our LORD Jesus Christ. This is what I learned this morning and I would like to share it with you.

    I love what you said about Holy Spirit coming in and removing my sin and replacing it with more of Himself. Thats soo nice!

    Reply
  5. Ariëlla

    This morning I read in my Bible Psalm 41, linked to book CH Spurgeon. Verse 3: “The LORD will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing: you will restore his bed in his sickness.” In my language ( Dutch) I read: “When he is ill, You make his illness completely different.” Our good shepherd is the One who makes our sickness so completely different. In our sickness he gives us sometimes ( often?) a thankful heart, awareness of God’s grace for us, feeling that He surrounds us with His love. All this is a prelude to our future glory with our LORD Jesus Christ. This is what I learned this morning and I would like to share it with you.

    I love what you said about Holy Spirit coming in and removing my sin and replacing it with more of Himself. Thats soo nice.

    ( sorry, I gave you a wrong e-mail in the other comment)

    Reply
  6. Jeannie Pallett

    A table – a hard to reach place is a new thought and it is very true. We have to fight through the lies of the enemy in order to stand and feast at the table. The enemy of our souls doesn’t want us feasting on the sure promises of God and standing from that high place above our enemies proclaiming the truth of God’s word. Exciting.

    Reply
  7. Walter Kahler

    Cheryl I loved your truth and experience with nature and Christ’s sacrifice. I have a sister who has a similar health issue that requires monthly treatments. I admired your courage and trust in God. I have been thinking a lot about the significance of Christ’s sacrifice for us to have salvation. I cannot repay Him for what He has given me all I can do is faithfully follow in His footprints. Thanks for speaking to me.

    Reply
  8. kaylietess

    Hi Cheryl, I am visiting from the SheSpeaks Facebook page. This is such an amazing testimony. I long to hunger for more of what is set in front of me as well. The picture you paint is beautiful1

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s