“The LORD is a Gracious Host”
INTRODUCTION What is the Meaning of Psalm 23.5-6
Psalm 23. In our study, we’ve reached Psalm 23:5-6. And in these last two verses, the imagery changes from the LORD as a shepherd to the Lord as a host.
Psalm 23:1–6 1 The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. 3 He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows. 6 Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Psalm 23 is all about how You can rest in the LORD’s care for you. Verses 1-4 David uses the picture of a shepherd. But verses 5-6 contain host imagery. He is a host and He hosts His people in His house. Verse 5, table, oil, and cup all picture this and verse 6 speaks of the eternal LORD’s house.
Won’t you come? Come into the LORD’s house with me…you’ll see He is a gracious host.
The LORD is a Gracious Host for Life (v.5)
A Prepared Table before Enemies: Lavish protection
Ps. 23:5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
Who this is true for: Christians
Truth be told, only some can enter here into the LORD’s house and sit down at His table. Those who have truly entered the LORD’s house and are a part of His promises.
Over there, along the [right hand] west wall is beautiful piece of artwork telling us of this that says …
“Christ is faithful as a Son over His house– whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.” Hebrews 3:6
By God’s grace, some enter here into the LORD’s house and stay here and feast at His table… it’s those who have trusted Christ and repented of their sin and whom the LORD has indeed saved from their sin.
“Am I one of those who may stay here in the LORD’s house and feast at His table?” you ask.
Of course! He bids you stay! Trust Him as your gracious master and God, and He insists you stay. And you’d know you have entered the LORD’s house and have feasted at His table, if see yourself growing spiritually as you walk with Him in His house … if this is true for you, you have received a gracious entrance into the LORD’s house and so you too can say, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” What a gracious entrance into His house.
What is true: A table is prepared
Now, on the other side of this gracious entrance is a generous feast, a table prepared. The LORD Himself prepared the table, “You prepare a table before me.”
As you would expect with the LORD, He hasn’t skimped out on anything. The fullness of His delights are before us at the table.
ARG: On the [left hand] east wall … another piece of art, which reads … “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king giving a wedding feast for his son. “Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and my fattened livestock are all butchered and everything is ready; come to the wedding feast.” Matthew 22.
Above that, a picture reads … ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.'” Revelation 19:9
No expense spared.
What is prepared before us at this Table? Why, the delightful fruit of His Holy Spirit; depths of joy and the heights of His love, around us at His table are His godly children. We speak around His table of the work of redemption, the power of His cross. And we know true fellowship with Him and with His Son.
A generous feast.
Where does this happen: in presence of enemies
But as we feast, we all notice an unwelcomed guest. “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” However, as we sit around His table, lavishly prepared with His other children, these unwelcomed guests only seem to do His bidding!
We languish at times at His lavished table because of torment, but as we continue our banquet in the LORD’s house, “the song of love to Him above, grows sweeter as the days go by.”
And we talk of all His wonderous love and care, And round my heart still closely twine those ties which nothing can sever, for I am His, and He is mine, forever and forever.
These enemies…sin and even ourselves … but as we fellowship with our gracious host, He reminds us to look down … and on the table itself is written … “Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; 34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 Just as it is written, “For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Death? Ha, where is your sting? Grave? Ha! Where is your victory? Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Put together: Even though our enemies are all around, in plain sight, at this table, the LORD the gracious host bids me feast on His delights.
No fear of harm in Christ’s great hand, though enemies around … I dwell securely and feast abundantly.
No pow’r of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home—
Here in the pow’r of Christ I’ll stand.
TRANS: As we continue our view of the inside of the LORD’s house from the table, we glance again to the door, where there is a little stool, a basin of water, and a vial of olive oil. And we remember our lavish welcome, “You have anointed my head with oil.”
You have anointed my head with oil: Lavish welcome
Because it’s a hot, dusty day in the Middle East, when the LORD bid us come into His house for salvation, He himself washed our feet.
And from our table, we can see over there a sign which reads … “He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean; and you are clean.” John 13:10
And to releive and refresh us from the hot unbearable sun, he anointed your head with oil. This is the action of our gracious host, a lavish welcome.
…. “What is this, my Lord?” you ask your gracious host. And He explains, “When you first came into My house of salvation, I gave eternal life to you, and you will never perish; and no one will snatch you out of My hand. “My Father, who has given you to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch you out of the Father’s hand.”
APP: When you came into His house by a simple trust in Him, you received salvation from sin, it’s power and penalty…the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, redemption from the slavery of sin, you were reconciled to the Father, you received peace with Him, eternity with Him, guidance for today, comfort in sorrow, love, joy, peace … purpose in life …
Trust Him now, oh trust Him now and receive his lavish welcome!
TRANS: Lavish protection, lavish welcome, and now lavish promises
My cup overflows: Lavish promises
After looking at our lavish welcome, we can now look down at our cup at the table and proclaim … “My cup overflows.”
EXP: The cup is His chosen providence for you.
The cup was for a short time an unpleasant providence for our gracious host, when He prayed the night before he was crucified, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.” Praise God, He drank that cup in full…drank full the cup of God’s wrath against our sin, so that our cup might be filled with the joy of eternal life.
And so now, in Christ, in the overarching experience of life with God, “our cup overflows” with His pleasantries.
Printed around our cup at the LORD’s table is … Psalm 16:5 5 The Lord is the portion of my inheritance and my cup….”
So the cup is God’s chosen providence for you. And for you who are in Christ, it overflows!
TRANS: As we combine the imagery of this tour of His house, we know what it all means … this is the present day experience of eternal life; the pilgrim life. John 17:3 3 “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” The enemies are still present as we live with Christ in His house, but because He is near, we can still feast at His table.
Eternal life is not just life that doesn’t end, living forever. No, it’s a quality of life … a quality of life that’s derived from a relationship to the eternal Host.
TRANS: As you look to the end of the house, you notice a door, only to be entered on your final day …. that day when the eternal life you experience today becomes an everlasting reality … And it’s then that you’ll know that the LORD is a gracious host forever!
Above that door reads …
The LORD: A Gracious Host Forever
…Psalm 23:6 6 Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
We can have confidence of everlasting life because in Christ the LORD has already welcomed us into His home. And because He has, we know that “goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life.”
When you are walking with God in this life and you’re a part of his family in His home, you’ll say, “God is good!” When times are tough and there are enemies present, you’ll feast at the table and there proclaim, “God is good!” When times are good and it seems your enemies have all fled away, behold the goodness of the LORD.
For certain, His goodness will follow you. But for certain, His lovingkindness will too. His faithful promises to you in His word, because of His covenant love, He will be loyal to His promises to you! In good times and bad, you’ll proclaim, “God is faithful.”
And in the end of days, you’ll live in His house forever…. where, because of the sacrifice of Christ, we will live with Christ forever and ever. “You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore.”
Revelation 21:3–7 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, 4 and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” 5 And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” 6 Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. 7 “He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son.