The description of a Spirit-led life in Psalm 23 is layered and profound. Last week I shared some thoughts around the “still waters” that He leads us to, of facing the dramas and busyness of life without, while experiencing His peace within. This passage is so rich that I thought I’d devote another blog to unpacking the treasures it holds in its verses. King David, the writer of Psalm 23, says in verse 5, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.” I like to get my imagination on in these scenarios. God isn’t going to pull any old feast out, as though He has to scrounge the back of the pantry for something He can quickly throw together. It would be a feast of epic proportions! He has prepared with foresight, furnished with careful detail, supplied with great provision, a meal for me. The thought that, on my very worst day – potentially a day of betrayal, attack, fear, grief, woundedness – God has already made provision for me, blows me away! As He leads me, He knows the challenges that await me. And He is faithfully awaiting my arrival in that moment, when I will need Him the most, to wait on me with sustenance, nourishment, healing and rest. Any invitation to dine with someone –whether in ancient biblical times or the context of our modern world – is a sign of favour and relationship. The fact that this particular meal was in full display of the writer’s enemies indicates the very public display of God as his ally. God is totally for us! And the Holy Spirit is known as our Advocate! John 14:26 says, “But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” An advocate is someone who publicly speaks and acts for another. He is our champion, supporting us, backing us all the way! And this is the message God sends to our Enemy on our behalf: “She’s got me on her team, Satan. Don’t think you can mess with her!” The relationship factor of dining can sometimes be missed in our busy Western lifestyle. My son, Judah, was on a business trip to China recently, accompanying his boss. Their Chinese hosts had been ferrying them around the town, and commented one evening, as they dined in a Guangzhou restaurant, that they ate too fast. They told them of a Chinese Proverb that says, “Walk fast, eat slow.” The inference of the proverb was simply that they should get their work done quickly but build relationship slowly. They recognised the act of dining together as one of building relationship. To be honest, most other cultures do, but it is a dying art in the West, where we attack eating as though it were on our ‘To do list’, where we almost ‘drive-thru’ our own kitchens to throw down our food, (if not literally) and move onto the next extra-curricula outing, or meeting, or event. Even on occasions when we get the family around the dinner table, the art of lingering and truly enjoying each other’s company is often replaced by the television or multiple screens in everyone’s laps. So, we can totally miss the significance of God preparing a table for us in the presence of our enemies! He wants to enjoy us! And He wants us to enjoy Him! There are things to say, laughter to be had, hearts to be opened, understanding to be given, wisdom to be shared. Our relationship with Him is so important, especially in times of feeling besieged by the Enemy. As we turn our focus to God, the size and significance of the threat that assails us suddenly becomes less. His gentle, loving reassurance gives us perspective. We are reminded again of the magnitude of God and all that He provides for us in our hour of need. The more we linger, the more we understand who we are to Him. He will faithfully lead us to that table, every time we are in need. Let’s learn the art of dining with Him. Heck, let’s learn the art of dining in our own homes again! Let’s celebrate the table – both literally and metaphorically, privately and corporately. It offers food for the spirit, soul and body!