In Psalm 23:5, we find God preparing a table in the presence of our enemies. These words are so familiar to us that perhaps we do not meditate on them as we should. The Lord does something ordinary but in an extraordinary place. The table is set up right where our enemies are. The enemies are not lurking in the shadows; they are right where we can see them. The danger is obvious, both to us and to our Lord.
And yet, in the face of this danger, our Lord sets an elaborate table for us and invites us to sit and eat. This is quite a vivid picture. It seems at first glance that this would be a very uncomfortable meal to sit through together. Can we really enjoy such a meal? What happens to a people who sit and feast in the face of their foe?
Thanks be to God that the psalm tells us exactly what happens to those who sit down at the Lord’s table. First, those who participate at this table will be revived. To be “anointed with oil” here has the sense of enjoying the fragrant and refreshing oil that anoints our heads and makes our faces shine (Ps. 104:15; Luke 7:46). Those who sit at the Lord’s table will be revived by His anointing oil.
Second, those who sit down at this table will be satisfied. We are told that our cups overflow when we sit at this table. Here is a celebration in which every need will be satisfied. Like the wedding at Cana offering great quantities of our Lord’s best vintage to meet every thirst, this cup will overflow with joy and blessing to satisfy God’s people from His own superabundant resources. Like the wedding at Cana, there shall be no want at that table.
Finally, those who sit at this table will be pursued. If by this we meant that our enemies will pursue us, this would not be a happy end to the psalm. But we are pursued not by our enemies but by our Lord’s goodness and mercy. These two blessings do not just “follow” us, but David says that they energetically pursue us. So, the psalm begins with the Lord as our leading Shepherd (Ps. 23:1), and it ends with His pursuing graces. These graces will pursue us every day of our lives until we are home, safe and sound (v. 6).
The good news of Psalm 23 is that God accomplishes all this even in the presence of our enemies. Those who enjoy fellowship with Christ by faith will be revived and satisfied in this life, even in spite of the best efforts of our enemies. They may oppose us, but Christ the Good Shepherd will lead us, and His goodness and mercy will pursue us, until we arrive safely home.
We enjoy these great blessings from our Lord now, even in the presence of our enemies. So then, imagine just how great will be our feasting together in glory, when the Lord Jesus Christ prepares for us a table in the absence of our enemies and in the presence of His revealed glory.