Truth swings the sword of peace with practiced skill
Sarai worried she wasn’t in the right place at the right time. A son had been promised to her husband Abram. But 10 years after the original promise and past the age of physically being able to have children Sarai believes she is not in the right place at the right time and so she sets about changing her burdens into joy.
But she learns God does not need her help. All her hard work and planning only created more burdens and less joy. She heard the clock ticking and tocking telling her she was old, she was out of time, she was late to the party, but she learned she was exactly where God wanted her to be in each moment of time. Each moment of time a place to wait on God to change her burdens into His glory.
He prepares a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
When we are in the presence of our enemies we tend to have one of two reactions; fight or flight.
Both fight and flight are inspired by fear.
But when I’m all ready to stand and fight or run away God invites me to sit down at the table He has prepared for me and hands me a menu. But the question this texts begs to answer is, “What is on the menu”? Isn’t that the important part of choosing which restaurant we want to go to? What’s on the menu? And how expensive is it plays into our decision of where we eat as well.
When God prepares the table He puts on it everything we need.
The answer to the question begging to be answered in vs 5 was given in the verse before it.
“You are with me, Your rod and Your staff they comfort me”.
The shepherd used the rod to defend the sheep from their enemies and the staff to nudge it back on the path or pull it out of stuck places. We don’t need a fight or flight reaction to the presence of our enemies because the Good Shepherd carries the rod to fight for us.
The one and only menu item, prepared in a thousand different ways, on the table God prepares for us in the presence of our enemies is “Love”. Because perfect love casts out fear. (1 John 4:18) When fear is gone, I can sit down at the table God has prepared for me and feast on all of the fruits of the Spirit God has for me; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23) And when I take up my shield of faith which extinguishes all the flaming arrows of the evil one, including fear, (Ephesians 6:10-17) the Good Shepherd fights for me in a spiritual battle in the heavenly realms where I can’t see.
When I live by faith, I believe my fighting for myself is useless and it doesn’t gain me anything in fact it puts me in debt.
On the other hand when the enemy shows up he hands us a menu also and everything served is deep fried in fear. And we do loooove deep fried food, don’t we? All the crunchy yummy goodness of it can be a real addiction.
The enemy serves up plenty of worry. His table and menu abound in plenty of “If I don’t have” and “If I don’t do” and we are fearful that if we don’t do or don’t have what he offers we will not be the person we think we need to be.
The most expensive menu item is “I Must Fight For Myself”. But when I fight for myself, my perception of the free love of God for me given to me by His grace and mercy, gets changed and it feels far too expensive to do because it means giving up fighting for myself and letting God fight for me.
Fear requires us to carry weapons of self defense. They hurt others and harden our hearts to the antidote of fear; Love.
Let’s go back to Sarai. Sarai stood in the land of “No Promised Son”. She is past the age of having children. She can see the land of “I Have My Promised Son” on the other side of her personal Jordan River, but she can’t see the way across. The waters are at flood stage and there is no chance of them receding…ever.
Sarai read the menu the enemy hands her and believes that if she doesn’t order a huge helping of “I Fight For Myself” and do something about it she will never have the son God promised.
She decides to build her own bridge across the river of water stopping her from having her promised son. Now just to be clear, the bridge was already there, built by God Himself. But Sarai ordered from the menu the enemy handed her and she couldn’t see the bridge God had built. Because fear stops us from living by faith and faith helps us believe the promises of God we can not yet see. (Hebrews 11:1)
The bridge was there and it would be revealed to her at the pre-appointed time.
Sarai plotted and planned her promised son, but receiving him brought her no joy, no satisfaction. In fact it made her life more miserable rather than full of more joy. “I Must Fight For Myself” is expensive and puts us into debt.
Our Good Shepherd is a Warrior of Peace. He swings His sword of peace with practiced skill putting fear to death for us. We can never get rid of fear by feasting from the enemy’s menu.
I am a warrior of peace. I fight on your behalf so that My peace will reign in your heart. The battle is won when you seek Me first. A heart that desires Me first always wins the battle.
From sun up to sundown the battles rages across the whole earth. The thing is most turn to idols of peace they have built themselves. Self is not to be trusted because peace given by the enemy is trickery. It gives the power to overcome to self and the heart is deceitfully wicked.
Hearts full of self and lies from the evil one can only do battle within itself creating self destruction.
Ephesians 2:8-9 NASB
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
1 John 4:18
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.
Hebrews 11:1 NASB
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Ephesians 6:10-17 NIV
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.