Saturday, September 15, 2007

Shepherd thoughts - Part Five

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mind enemies

Before one eats, the table needs to be set. The shepherd scouts out the best grass for grazing, checking for poisonous weeds and predators. Sheep will not eat when they are fearful. The shepherd removes whatever is harmful and guides them to what is most beneficial.

Who sets the table at your house? What do they use? Does it depend on who will be sharing the meal? Place mats or table cloth? Paper plates or china? Paper cups or glasses? Notice who is 'setting the table' in this Psalm. The Good shepherd, God, is fixing dinner for you and me. We must be pretty special to Him. Angels could do this, and in some instances in the Bible they do, but in this Psalm it is God Himself. And He sits down and joins us. One of the ultimate marks of friendship in the Bible is eating together. If you share food and salt you cannot be enemies. Zacchaeus prepared a meal for Jesus after he was forgiven his past actions. Lazarus prepared a feast for the Lord after his resurrection. Our Lord is doing this for us and we are the honored guests.

So what about the 'enemies' part? Right where evil is threatening us or predicting something bad, right there the shepherd is taking care of us. One of the best ways to pray about this type of situation is with Psalm 91. It describes the safety of those who trust in God, especially when faced with calamity. It covers snares, words that would try to trap us into believing in a presence or power other than God, good. That 'noisome pestilence' is malicious speech aimed to cause hurt or resentment. We never need to be afraid, day or night, of any form of error. We are immune from disease, even when it claims through the media to be afffected mulitiudes. No evil can come upon us, no plague of thoughts or symptoms. Look up what Mrs. Eddy has to say about enemies, especially in Miscellaneous Writings. She asks; "Can you see an enemy, except thou first formulate this enemy and then look upon the object of your own conception?"

In the presence of the Shepherd we are guests at His table, protected from anything unlike Himself. Mrs. Eddy also said the Truth removes properly whatever is offensive. Removes it from where? Your own thought.

The shepherd and the sheep are coming to the end of their day. We are coming to the end of this remarkable Psalm. Some of my favorite verses lie just ahead.

Go sit at His table in peace.

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