I continue my focus on God’s goodness this week by looking at verse 5 of Psalm 23 (NKJV):
“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies…”
My focus is influenced by the five-session, video-based small group study, Good things: Seeing your life through the lens of God’s favor, which I have the privilege of engaging in with three friends, as part of a larger, Life Group study event at my local church.
The author of the study, who is also a pastor, unequivocally states, “God is the source of all goodness and good things.” He spoke at my home church last Sunday and one of the things he highlighted is, David, psalmist and king of Israel, kept noticing the good in the most difficult situations. Psalm 23:5 is an example of this trait of David. He declared, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies …”
As I reflected on David’s declaration, I recognized that David could have focused exclusively or primarily on his enemies; after all, it is a human tendency to focus on the difficult or what-is-not-as we-desire in our lives. David, however, recognized that God was both protecting him and providing for him even in dangerous situations.
The author and pastor encouraged us to (like David), “Notice the table in the presence of our enemies,” to train ourselves to look for the goodness of God. And I wonder, “Was David able ‘to notice the table’ God prepared for him in the presence of his enemies because he expected to see God’s goodness?” This expectation of his is clearly stated in Psalm 27:13, “I am certain that I will see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living” (HCSB; emphasis added). He was not hoping to see God’s goodness while still on earth. He was certain he would see God’s goodness. His certainty was not based on his perception that he deserved the goodness of God but on his knowledge that God is good.
Do we share David’s certainty? If we do not, it is likely that the antidote, the cure for our uncertainty is to deepen our knowledge of the One we call Father. A growing, intimate knowledge of our Father is a lifetime process which requires a heart that longs to know Him and the practice of time with Him that includes prayerful, consistent study of His Word. Before you exempt yourself because you are not sure you have a heart that longs to know Him, hear this, “Yes, God is working in you to help you want to do what pleases him. Then he gives you the power to do it” (Philippians 2:13, ICB). Or, as one of my favorite Bible teachers notes, God can fix our “want to.” He is such a compassionate and loving God, I believe that even our “wanting to want” creates a place for Him to work in our hearts and lives.
I am issuing a two part challenge: 1(a) Review one of the difficult experiences or seasons of your life and notice God’s goodness during that time; and/or, 1(b) over the next 24 hours, look for the goodness of God in your life and list all evidence of His goodness. 2) write a blog post about what you notice and link it back to this post with the tag #noticingthetable or share some or all of what you noticed in a comment. You also have the option of doing a visual post using photographs.
Let us train ourselves to “notice the table” He will always prepare for us. Blessings.