You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
— Psalm 23:5
On our front lawn sits a turquoise picnic table. Behind it is a fence painted with a mural. When the weather turns warm, we use this table to invite our neighbors for coffee chats, street parties, and other fun events. During the winter, we decorate it with snow figures sitting at the table enjoying a meal. The picnic table is a sign of hospitality to our neighborhood. The invitation to come and be part of the gathering is intentional.
Psalm 23 is about intentional care and hospitality. It describes the important work of a faithful shepherd for his flock of sheep. Without a shepherd, the sheep would be hopelessly lost and afflicted by disease or predators. This psalm helps us see how the Lord is our shepherd and we are his sheep.
The mention of a table takes the relationship with God even deeper. The Lord prepares a banquet for us. Our host makes sure that everything is taken care of. When we sit at the table, we acknowledge that we can trust our host to sustain us with all he has provided. Full plates give us all we need while God protects us from the enemies around us.
The picnic table at our home is intended to refresh people’s spirits and give them a smile. May your heart be refreshed and encouraged as the Lord, your shepherd, prepares a table for you today.
Dear God, thank you for preparing a table for us. Thank you for refreshing us and giving us everything we need to live through the battles of this day. Amen.