enemy In The Presence Of My Enemies enemy
"Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies" (Psalms 23:5a).
    As a teenager, I went out fox hunting with a friend and his dad one evening. My friend's dad had a 22 riffle and I had one also, but my friend did not have one. Therefore, I let my friend use mine and I used the fox caller which made the sound  like the squeal of a wounded rabbit. We sat down at the bottom of a small mountain in its shadow and I began to use the caller. We had been there for some time when my friend's father whispered that a fox was on the way down the mountain. Sure enough, I spotted the fox making its way running down the mountain. As I sat there, I had a strange feeling hit me. Since I was the one using the caller, the fox was running full speed toward me... the supposed supper for the fox. Again, I don't have a gun. I glanced at my friend who was unfamiliar with my gun and having trouble getting the safety off. Just as I was about to get up from my crouched position to leave out of the fox's path, my friend's father shot and hit the fox. I will never forget the experience of being the object of a predator.

    Later, as an young pastor of a small church in North East Texas, I had an somewhat similar experience.  This time, one night, I took some teenage boys out wolf hunting using the same varmint caller.  We quietly sat in a vehicle at the edge of a wooded clearing.  I used the caller for some time and then turned on a spot light to see sets of eyes staring at us from around the edge of the clearing. Again, although we were the hunters, in another sense, I was also the food for some predators. 

    Now, allow me to paint another picture. There is a small kitten which is not afraid, but standing in the middle of a circle of some large, furious, hungry dogs. There also is a large bowl which is rounded and running over with delicious cat food setting before the small creature. Let me add another factor. The dogs are restrained by their master so they won't dare attack the kitten or steal its food except by permission of the master.. Recognizing there is always some weakness in an analogy, see yourself as being the kitten surrounded by your enemies, but having a table set before you.


1. If we are focused upon looking at the enemy, it may be difficult to see the table that God has set before us.

When Jesus suggested to the disciples to sail to the other side of the Sea of Galilee, they most likely thought that he had lost his mind because they probably knew that the demon possessed men lived there. When the storm arose on the sea, the disciples reacted in great fear. However, Jesus knew that there was a table prepared for him there. The demon possessed men were healed and at least one of the men began to spread the gospel to the whole region. (Mark 4:35-5:20).

2. God prepares the table before us.

We don't prepare the table ourselves! Quite often people wear themselves out trying to prepare that table when God has already prepared it. Mary sat down at the feet of Jesus to the learning table that Jesus set before her. Martha tied to create her table by preparing a table for Jesus. (Luke 10:38-42). "But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her" (Luke 10:42).

3. In the presence of your enemies.

This can not be heaven because the enemies won't be there. It has to be here on earth. "But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life" (Mark 10:30). "Who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting" (Luke 18:30).

4. We have to come to the table.

Pride, fear, disbelief, feelings of unworthiness may keep us from coming to the table. We must believe that we can come, eat, and enjoy. However, to receive, we must come to the table. "And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them" (Mark 6:5). Why? Because of their unbelief.

5. We are not to crawl under the table as a dog and beg for food.

A woman from Canaan came to Jesus to request that he heal her daughter. She received 4 rejections before she got what she came for (Matthew 15:21-28). Her final response was, "And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table" (Matthew 15:27). However, we are the children of the King, not dogs. "And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together" (Romans 8:17).

6. We need see ourselves as worthy to eat.

We are worthy to eat because He has made us worthy. "Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over" (Psalm 23:5). God anoints those who are worthy to receive it. "Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will" (Ephesians 1:5). "Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom" (Luke 12:32).

7. The table is full and running over.

"Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over" (Psalm 23:5). In the story of the prodigal son, the Father had the servants to bring the best robe, a ring, and shoes for the prodigal. He had his servants to kill the fatted calf so that the son could eat and have a party. There was also music and dancing (Luke 15:22-25).

8. The table is filled with good and not evil.

"If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?" (Luke 11:11-13). "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose" (Romans 8:28). "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever" (Psalms 23:6).

9. We must keep our focus on what God has prepared and not on the enemy.

a. This will keep us with the attitude of gratitude. "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you" (I Thessalonians 5:18).

b. Otherwise, we become fearful and will lose our appetite to eat. The man to whom his master gave one talent reacted in fear. "And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the
earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine" (Matthew 25:25). He even lost what he had. "Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents" (Matthew 25:28).

10. We should not leave the table to fight the enemy unless directed to do so by God.

If we leave the table to go fight with the enemy, he may sneak around behind us and steal what God has prepared for us. "The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly" (John 10:10).

11. He prepares a table before us in the present of our enemies.

When we see the enemy come, we should know that God has prepared a table for us if we are submitted unto God. Jehoshaphat became surrounded by his enemies, but God prepared a table before him. Through obedience, Jehoshaphat went out to take up the spoil that God provided. "And when Jehoshaphat and his people came to take away the spoil of them, they found among them in abundance both riches with the dead bodies, and precious jewels, which they stripped off for themselves, more than they could carry away: and they were three days in gathering of the spoil, it was so much" (II Chronicles 20:25).

12. One major key is to ASK.

When the prodigal's brother found out that his father had given his the party, he became angry and said that his father had never given him such a party. "And he [the father] said unto him, Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine" (Luke 15:31). All the elder son needed to do was to ask!