Psalm 23:1&5 “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want . . . Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies.”
The Word of God uses numerous titles and descriptive terms to convey the character and nature of Our Lord; one being that of a shepherd. In John 10 Christ refers to Himself as the “good shepherd” and in I Peter 5:4, He is called the “chief shepherd.” One of the most intimate references is in “Psalm 23 where David refers unto “the Lord” as “my shepherd.” As his personal shepherd, David lists multiple benefits of have the Lord as his Shepherd; one being the Shepherd’s Table.
Within the text, David emphasizes the provision of the table, “a table.” The word table refers to a leather mat or skin that is rolled out so that a complete meal may be placed upon it. What the Lord has for David is not small morsels or crumbs to help David get by until he can find something better, but there is a complete meal. This pictures for us the sufficiency of the Lord. As David’s Shepherd, the Lord wanted him to rest confidently in His ability to supply his every need.
Secondly, David emphasizes the place of the table, “before me.” The word “before” has the idea of the face as the part that turns. The table is going to be spread out in the very presence of David. God is not going to have to move or change David’s situation to take care of him. This pictures for us the satisfaction of the Lord. As David’s Shepherd, the Lord is going satisfy the longing of David’s heart right where he is.
Lastly, David emphasizes the peace of the table, “in the presence of mine enemies.” It goes without saying the sheep have enemies; David, personally made mention of a bear and a lion. The table of sufficiency and satisfaction was going to be set “in the presence of mine enemies.” In front of, in the sight of, just opposite of where those that cramp, vex, besiege and are the adversaries of David, God sets the table and invites David to come and dine. This pictures the security of the Lord. As David’s Shepherd, the Lord is going to provide him with a security that assures David that he can graze in peace and need not fear the presence of the enemy.
David acknowledges that he has a personal relationship with the Lord God, Jehovah. This particular relationship is that of sheep and shepherd. It is a relationship, in which Jehovah has not only taken responsibility for the care of David, but as a shepherd has a love for sheep, Jehovah has a special love relationship with His sheep; He is a shepherd, friend, and companion. Of the many benefits of having “the Lord” as “my shepherd” there is that of the Shepherd’s table. The provision, the place, and the peace of the Shepherd’s table assures us of the sufficiency, the satisfaction and the security that is ours when “The Lord is my shepherd.”