People Who Say Such Things: This Is How We Fight Our Battles

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February 28, 2020

Psalm 23:1-6 (NIV)

1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will 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 anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
forever.

CONSIDER THIS

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.

In the presence of enemies we might expect a battle. Instead, Jesus, our Good Shepherd, prepares a table for us. He sets a feast for us in the midst of our enemies in the middle of the battleground. And He is Himself the feast. 

One of my favorite recent songs of worship comes out of a community called UpperRoom in Dallas. It is called “Fight my Battles.” Though it is one of the most repetitive songs I’ve ever sung, it’s one I don’t tire of repeating. It makes the biblical and theological connection between the Table of the Lord and this table prepared for us in the presence of our enemies. Over and over and over we sing, “This is how I fight my battles,” almost twenty times each time through the song, referencing the Body and Blood of Jesus and the weapons of praise and thanksgiving. After singing the song through five times and then another five for good measure, as worship leaders like to do, it comes to about a hundred repetitions of this one line, “This is how I fight my battles.” 

But is this how I actually fight my battles; sitting at the Table of the Lord in the presence of my enemies in the deep dark valleys of life? This seems so passive. How can one be so relaxed and at peace in the presence of such threats? It raises the other refrain in the song which repeats itself sixteen times.

“It may look like I’m surrounded, but I’m surrounded by you.”

But it doesn’t stop there.

You anoint my head with oil;

It’s interesting to think about the author of this Psalm, David. When the prophet, Samuel, came to his house to anoint the next King of Israel, David was not even considered by his Father as a candidate. He was out shepherding the sheep. Samuel sent for him and he turned out to be the Lord’s choice as the next King.

So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the Lord came powerfully upon David. (1 Samuel 16:13)

Something tells me David remembered this anointing as he wrote the Psalm. 

It doesn’t stop there. The extraordinary, extravagant blessing of the presence of God keeps leveling up.

my cup overflows.

More than enough. My memory goes to the famed wedding at Cana of Galilee when they ran out of wine. Jesus transformed water into wine to the tune of one hundred eighty gallons. Talk about cups overflowing! This is our God—above and beyond more than enough. 

Remember where we began. 

1 The Lord is my shepherd: I lack nothing.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures: I lack nothing. 
he leads me beside quiet waters: I lack nothing. 
3 he refreshes my soul: I lack nothing. 
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake: I lack nothing. 
4 Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me: I lack nothing. 
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me: I lack nothing. 
5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies: I lack nothing.
You anoint my head with oil: I lack nothing.
my cup overflows: I lack nothing.

People who say such things know this is how we fight our battles. They know it may look like I’m surrounded but I’m surrounded by you.

So are you ready to hear the song? Check it out here.

THE PRAYER

Father, I want to be a person who says such things. This is how I fight my battles. Let me say it and sing it until I get it and believe it. In your presence and by your provision I lack nothing. Oh how I want this declaration of faith to destroy my fear and define my life. Thank you for preparing such an extravagant table for me in the most difficult seasons of life. Thank you for anointing my head with the oil of your Spirit. Thank you for overflowing my cup. Come Holy Spirit, and train me be such a person of faith. I pray in Jesus name, Amen. 

THE QUESTION

How is this journey through Psalm 23 calling out to you? Challenging you? Changing you?  

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt
Sower-in-Chief
seedbed.com

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Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed's Sower-in-Chief.

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