Psalm 23, continued
“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;”
Psalm 23:5a, NKJV
The summer mountain ranges or tables were often difficult to reach because they were remote flat lands atop large mountains. The shepherd who wanted the best grazing land for his precious flock let nothing get in the way of his trek up the mountain; whether it was a large boulder or a jagged rock, the shepherd would press on through to those lands that would be best suited for his sheep.
While the snow still covered the land, the shepherd would make his way up the mountain surveying the land, prepping it for his flock. He would carefully examine the land, getting rid of any poisonous plants that might be growing there. He would also survey the watering holes, making sure they were free of debris that would hinder his sheep from having an adequate water supply. The shepherd was preparing the tablelands for his flock so that they could enjoy the richness of the food that grew there.
Even as he lead his flock up the mountain to the tablelands, the shepherd kept careful watch for poisonous weeds that might have made their way back up through the lush grasses or wild animals that might be lurking close by in hopes of pouncing on one of his wandering sheep. It is only the compassionate, vigilant care of the shepherd that would keep his sheep out of harm’s way.
The Good Shepherd has prepared a table for His flock full of the richness of the blessings of God. For us to reach that table though, it will require a trek up the mountain. There will be weeds along the way; things, people, maybe even other paths that will divert our attention away from the Shepherd who is leading us. But friends, our Shepherd has already trekked up the mountain before us; He knows what is waiting there and has already provided us a way out. He has experienced everything we will ever go through. Because Christ left His home is the heavenlies and became fully man, He has experienced sufferings; He has endured great struggles and felt great loss; He knows what it is to be tempted and taunted by the enemy. And, because of this knowledge of man, He understands and identifies with completely. The Good Shepherd has a kind of care and compassion for those belonging to His flock that you and I can never fully come to comprehend. When we struggle, we are not alone; when we experience loss, He grieves with us; when we are tempted, He will provide for us a way out.
We can be sure that He has prepared the way before us in the presence of the one who desires to defeat us. How can we be sure of this? Read what Jesus said Himself in John 10:10, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” He goes on to say, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. But a hireling, he who is not a shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep (John 10:11-16, NKJV).” We can be sure He has prepared the way before us because He laid down His own life in our stead.
Dear ones, the Good Shepherd trekked up the Mount of Calvary in order to prepare a way for you and me. He hung on the cross on top of that mountain in the very presence of His enemies in your place and in mine. After He had suffered beyond anything our feeble minds can grasp, the Good Shepherd breathed His last breath. He was buried in the borrowed tomb of a wealthy man named Joseph. But, the grave could not hold Him in. On that glorious third day He arose defeating death and the grave.
Christ made a way. He prepared the way for you and me to enjoy intimate fellowship with God Almighty atop the mountain of His holy hill. Not only has the Good Shepherd prepared the way for us in the here and now, but He is right now, preparing for us eternal blessings that are to come.
“In my Father's house are many rooms;if it were not so, I would have told you.I am going there to prepare a place for you.And if I go and prepare a place for you,I will come back and take you to be with me that
you also may be where I am.”John 14:2-3, NIV
“Then the King will say to those on his right,'Come, you who are blessed by my Father;take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you
since the creation of the world.”Matthew 25:34, NIV
“Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamedto be called their God,for he has prepared a city for them.”Hebrews 11:16, NIV
I would so love to hear how the Lord has spoken to you through this Psalm. I'm not smart enough yet to figure out My. Linky, so please leave me a comment letting me know how the Good Shepherd has worked in heart in regards to Psalm 23. If you would like to, we would love for you to post on your blog Psalm 23. I love you all so much! You are a joy to my heart!