Referencing The Lord is my Shepherd…
Aaaah….! My African kindred love this part of Psalm 23! I guess this is because this scripture paints the picture of God’s righteous vengeance on our enemies and rightly so. God says of your enemies, of those who trouble your peace… “I will take revenge; I will pay them back. In due time their feet will slip. Their day of disaster will arrive, and their destiny will overtake them” Deuteronomy 32:35 NLT. So Absolutely! God preparing a feast for you to the while your enemies look on in dismay and shame is a HUGE deal! However, I heard a sermon that shifted gears for me. Shout out to Pastor Daniel Ngo.
Psalm 63: Picture this… David is still not done with his enemies. He is on the run again. this time he is running from his own son Absalom. So he runs into a desert, the desert of Judah where he gets really really thirsty. His body is in a heightened state of awareness… His mind is probably playing tricks on him as he keeps seeing mirages that look like oases in the desert. In that state, all a person can think about is food and water as we revert to our primal, animalistic instincts when we are extremely thirsty or hungry. David also needs to stay alert, he cannot afford to slip because he is on the run and his enemies are on the loose. So what does David do?
He thinks about God and describes his physical experience through spiritual eyes. experience. He says,
You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. Psalm 63:1 NIV
When you are thirsty every other desire takes second place to the desire for water and so it is with God. When we thirst after God, all other desires and longing need to take second place to the longing to be filled with more of God. This is where I am going with this, David goes on to say:
You satisfy me more than the richest feast. I will praise you with songs of joy. Psalm 63: 5 NLT
David speaks of a feast, but not in the context of vengeance but with the realization that God satisfies us even more than the desire for vengeance, for vindication, for recompense. It is easy to ask God to set a feast before you but it takes a greater longing to look beyond the feast to the God of the feast. David said You satisfy me more than the richest feast and believe you me if God spreads a feast for you then you can be assured that it will be the choicest and the richest of feasts. But David had found the secret to satisfaction. It was not in the feast per say… it was in God.
This reminds me of a practice I saw in a Nigerian traditional marriage. During the ceremony, the bride is asked to go to this table where there are many presents and pick one for herself. The expectation is that she picks the bible because in the bible will be her wedding ring. It’s the same concept God lays a spread before for us… You can take what you want from the table. You can choose to magnify the fact that your enemies are present and focus on that and order vindication off the menu and not experience the rest of the meal. Or you can choose God off the menu and find all you need in Him.
David made his choice. With his enemies all around him, he recognized that the most important feast was to feast on God… O taste and see that the Lord is good Psalm 34: 8 KJV.
Taste is one of the most engaged senses. You can see from afar, hear from afar, smell from afar but to taste.. you have to be intimate with whatever you are tasting. The shepherd has prepared a table before you… your enemies seen and unseen are all around you… What are you going to do? Are you going to focus on the enemies and get only a few things off the buffet table or are you going to let yourself get lost in the experience of the feast, are you going to taste and see…
Note the scripture did not say see and taste… sometimes we are like doubting Thomas. We want to see first. Sounds like me trying new food (and if you know me you know I am a picky eater)… it must first appeal to my eyes and then my nose before I put it in my mouth but I dare you to take the plunge. Dare to taste of God even when you cannot see Him, even when you cannot feel He’s near, even when His works are not visible. I guarantee the outcome is always the same: THE LORD IS GOOD. That is why he is our GOOD shepherd!