The sheep that has a faithful and powerful shepherd fears no evil. It knows that the shepherd will watch over it and is able to defend it from the fiercest enemies. And for the sheep of Christ's flock this is far more certain than for any earthly sheep that depends upon a human shepherd. All of Christ's sheep can and do sing: My food Thou dost appoint me,
Supplied before my foes:
With oil Thou dost anoint me,
My cup of bliss o'erflows.
So easily we forget that truth. However, we had better keep in mind every day that God prepares a table for us. Did you see that the last time you sat down to eat? Did you see all your food furnished by God? And did you thank Him for it?
David changes the figure a bit here in Psalm 23:5. Sheep have no table, and although we do, we depend upon God for all our food. And we are more really surrounded by enemies than earthly sheep are. We have the wicked enemies not only of Satan and his host of fallen angels, but also the world that far outnumbers the church. Yet in their presence God fully supplies all our needs.
And since our Shepherd's rod and staff hold off all our enemies, we can sit down at our table and in comfort eat what God provides. We can be sure that we will lack nothing that we need to reach His heavenly house.
If now you see what David could not yet see, it is true that not only in the presence of our enemies does He fully supply all our needs, but He uses these enemies to prepare us a heavenly table. They broke the earthly house of flesh of His Son, nailing Him to His cross. Yet God was using them so that heavenly dainties might be prepared for us to such a degree that our cup runneth over.
With a tremendously liberal hand our Good Shepherd prepares a table for us and soothes us with the oil of His Spirit, so that our human language cannot fully express it. And never in eternity will that cup be anything less than a cup that is still overflowing with blessedness.
What bliss lies in store for us by God's boundless grace!
Devotions on the Heidelberg Catechism
Song for Meditation: Psalter number 304
Why not sing along??
Quote for Reflection:
… when he says, that God raised up Christ by his Spirit, and that he also communicated his Spirit to us, there is nothing that can be alleged to the contrary; so that he thus makes sure to us the hope of resurrection.
– John Calvin
- Date: 23-January