“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies” (Psalm 23:5)
“For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through His life!” (Romans 5:10)
“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:19)
Throughout this Lenten journey we have been meditating on Jesus, our Good Shepherd, but in the last few days we have also been reminded that we are lost sheep. In fact, we are sheep that have willingly gone astray (Isaiah 53:6). We had a part in this separation from our Shepherd. We rebelled against His loving leadership and declared independence from Him. We didn’t need a shepherd. We were fine without Him…or so we thought. It is hard to think about being God’s enemy. It is easier to think of ourselves as “lost” and now “found”. It is not easy to think of ourselves as enemies of God, but the Scriptures tell us exactly that. Our sinfulness is in direct opposition to the will of God. The bottom line is that we were all enemies of God, “but God demonstrates His own love for us in this; while we were still sinners (enemies) Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8)
Do you see it? We should not move away from this verse in our beloved Psalm 23 until we remember where we came from. You were the enemy in the room looking at the table prepared for those who believe. You did not choose to be, but you were still invited. You did not want to sit down and eat but you saw others eating and enjoying it. It was too good to be true. You were skeptical and then you saw someone that you knew and they asked you to join them…and the rest is history…your history. Now Jesus prepares a table for you in the presence of His enemies and yours.
The cross is what makes this possible. The verse above is clear…we were reconciled “by the death of His Son”. All of the barriers that disqualify us from coming to the table have been removed because of His sacrifice on the cross. Our sins have been forgiven and we who were once enemies are invited to be friends.
This is important to remember as we go back to our verse. Now we can see that the presence of our enemies is not only for our benefit, but theirs as well. Those who are still fighting against the Gospel. Those resisting His invitation see you at the table enjoying sweet fellowship. They are not sure what to do next. Will you invite them to sit?
Do you remember what it felt like to be the stranger in the room? You were out of place. It felt awkward. Then, someone invited you to sit with them. As the church, we are called to His table and to invite others to join us. Who is in your life right now that you can invite to the table?