Service Video Message Video Message Audio %} Scripture Verses Psalm 23:5; John 6:70-71 Worship Playlist O Worship the King by Chris TomlinChrist Is Risen by Matt MaherPsalm 23 by Shane & ShaneCome Behold the Wondrous Mystery by Matt BoswellAmazing Grace by Chris Tomlin Downloads & Resources Be Courageous Dr. Jon Morrissette - 7/24/2022 Good morning everyone. This morning we’re in week six of our Lead Like Jesus series. We’ve been talking through Psalm 23, reflecting on each verse (each key theme) through the lens of David’s life, and more importantly, Jesus’ life. These verses are often read at the end of life, at funerals. I hope by now you’ve seen how these verses hold great wisdom for what it looks like to personally walk with God today, for living a godly life right now! Last week Eric unpacked Psalm 23:4, and spoke about how God disciplines and comforts us with his rod and staff. I encourage you to go back and take a listen—We often think of God as being passive, sitting back. But David sees God actively engaged in life, and working through circumstances, even pain, for our good. This morning we’re in Psalm 23:5. David says to our Lord, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” There is perhaps no greater metaphor in Scripture, for relationships, than a table. Whenever you visit the coffee shop, you’d be hard pressed to find a table without at least two chairs, or as many as ten or twelve. Tables aren’t just a place for cups and plates and food and eating—they are a place of fellowship! I want you to think about the many different people with whom you share a table each and every week. You surely have a table in your home. If you are widowed, or divorced, or separated. . . you sit at that table every night with vivid memories of the person who once sat across from you. Maybe fond memories, maybe painful memories. Or perhaps there you sit with your husband or wife, your children, or other family members. If you are married, its true that you probably chose your spouse. There aren’t too many arranged marriages taking place these days! But maybe your spouse isn’t who you thought they were, your marriage isn’t what you thought it would become, maybe you both changed A LOT! And maybe you chose to have children. Sometimes a child is unexpected, or ill-timed, or sadly unwanted. I pray you love every single one of your children. But maybe they aren’t the exact children you dreamed about, or wanted to have. Maybe they have personality issues, or difficulties or quirks or challenges. Maybe they are a heap of frustration. For every parent that says, “I love my kids, I love being with them, I can’t imagine not being with them, I’m living the dream” . . . there are others who lament, “I don’t think I’m cut out for this parent thing, it’s going horrible, it’s a nightmare.” Someone made the observation that whereas you get to pick your friends, you don’t get to pick your family. The home is one table that often “gets set” for us. You sit at various tables with extended family members. With your in-laws for instance! Whenever I sit down at a table with Lara’s mom I always say, “hello Mother-in-Law” in my best Seinfeld-Neuman tone of voice. And she says, “hello Son-in-Law.” We joke around, but sometimes extended relationships can be a thing of dread. You may dread getting together around table at holidays, special days. If you are a student, you sit at many tables at school, with a great diversity of people. At work, you sit at the table for meetings, for planning, for collaboration. You sit at tables with other people during breaktime, lunchtime. Even at the coffee shop, others come and sit, and inevitably, conversations flow. We don’t often set our own tables—not relationally anyway. Our tables are often “relationally” prepared for us. We don’t get to pick and choose who is at our table. Now we can avoid a certain table altogether, but that is not what I’m talking about. I want you to think about the very challenging and difficult relationships in which you regularly must sit. You can’t avoid every table, not always. We must not forget that Jesus’ kind of outreach was advanced around tables. Jesus sat at tables with “sinners and tax collectors.” He sat, ate, and drank with religiously and culturally deplorable people. Likewise, Jesus’ kind of discipleship was built around tables. It’s true that Jesus “chose” the Twelve. In fact, the gospels are pretty clear that Jesus chose out of the masses those he “desired” and “liked”. On countless occasions Jesus would gather with Twelve around a table for common meal. *We don’t often practice hospitality with people we can’t stand—not for long anyway. Jesus loved Peter, James, John, and Andrew and the others. But if you read the gospels, you realize that even though Jesus chose, desired, and loved the Twelve… one of them was a devil! In John 6:70-71 we read these painful words, “Jesus replied to them, “Didn’t I choose you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil.” He was referring to Judas, Simon Iscariot’s son, one of the Twelve, because he was going to betray him.” How many times do we find ourselves at a table, sitting with an enemy? Maybe “enemy” is too strong a word. We don’t even use or like the word enemy today. To call someone an “enemy” seems childish, demeaning, dehumanizing . . . maybe racist, maybe bigoted. If you see someone as an “enemy” these days, you keep it to yourself because you want people to see you as tolerant and kind, moral and good. You certainly don’t refer to them as a devil. Maybe you prefer a softer word like “adversary” or “rival” or “different” or “other.” What if it isn’t coincidental, but providential, that you find yourself sitting at the table where you sit? What if of all the people God could have put in your seat, he chose to put you there, to fulfill his unique purpose and plan? David says of our Lord, “You prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies. . .” But “Ah Lord, I want to run. I want to avoid this table. I’d rather go hungry than sit in my assigned seat. I’d rather hide under the table than sit across or near my enemy. Lord, I don’t want to face these people at all. Lord, I’d rather you deal me a whole different relational deck of cards. I like the hand someone else is holding better than my hand!” You know what the problem is with asking God to deal you a different deck of cards, a different deck of relationships? You already know. There are multiple jokers and clowns in every deck of cards. You can run. You can move far away. You can try to hit the relational reset button—but eventually you find yourself sitting at a table with much the same dynamics as the table you avoided. By the way, not only did Jesus build his idea of outreach and discipleship around a table, he built his idea of church around “a table.” The early church did not forsake the assembly, but they joined together at tables, in their homes, breaking bread. But in the church, you had Men and Women, Jews and Gentiles, Slaves and Freeman. You had oppressors and oppressed, abusers and abused, victimizers and victims. You had ideological enemies, political rivals, moral bullies and morally broken. You might romanticize the idea of the early church gathering around a common table—but it’s not the table many imagine it to be! And what about the table around which we gather today as God’s people? Again, I wouldn’t characterize anyone here as an “enemy.” But I don’t need to tell you—people are as sharply divided today as they have ever been. And within the church, you have brothers and sisters in Christ who see one another as the devil. • A married couple sit at the Lord’s table, but can’t stand to look at one another, there is bitterness. • A family comes to the Lord’s table, but the heart of the father is turned away from the child and the child estranged from his or her parents. • Two people who’ve done business sit across the sanctuary—and one sits feeling cheated by the other, and is angry—and the other is proud. • At this table sit people who have sinned in their heart against others. There is not just anger, this is covetousness. There is envy. Evil comparisons. Jealousies. There is that problem of lust—that adultery of the heart—that corrodes and sabotages relationships. There are the verbal sins of gossip, slander, malice. • At this table sit lefties and righties, liberals-progressives-conservatives. People who are red, yellow, black and white (as the old song goes). Here sit the rich and poor. Proud and broken. You might ask, what genius set up this relationally messy table? What good could possibly come with me staying engaged at this table of outreach, of discipleship, of the Kingdom of God? The answer is that it was God’s idea. The only possible way to remain seated at a table… whether at home, or work, or school, or in the world, or even in the church . . . is to have courage. First, there is a courage that trusts God purpose—even when we cannot see the larger picture of God’s purpose and plan. I don’t have any special seeing glass, not any more than you do. Jesus didn’t “like” the cup being handed to him, in fact he prayed the cup would just pass. But in the end, he drank the cup God was serving him because he trusted God’s purpose and plan. In the end, though Judas was the “Devil” Jesus called him friend, and kissed him, even as Judas was hatching his plot to betray Jesus. At the table, Jesus was entrusting himself to the father’s purpose and plan and all I am saying is that it takes great courage and faith. What is God’s purpose in your marriage, in your children’s lives, in your family, your extended family, in your workplace or school, in your church? If you are running from that table, you may in fact be running from God’s very purpose and plan. You may be running from words God prepared from the foundation of eternity for you to do. What if we were to learn like David, to sit in the presence of our enemies, trusting not our instincts, listening not to our fears, but trusting God? Not only does it take courage to trust God’s purpose, it takes patience to trust God’s provision. Psalm 23:4, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.”” In Scripture, the anointing of oil is equated with healing. Why in the world is God making me sit at this table of all tables. The answer is—to bring healing—to decimate the dividing walls of our infinite hostilities. The only place where healing really occurs is when you sit with your enemy. David says, “God you anoint my head with healing.” Maybe the first place that needs God’s healing touch is our head. We need to be renewed in the attitude of our mind toward our enemies. “Not my, but your will be done!” God show me what you have in store here at this table? David also says, not only do I experience God’s anointed healing at this table, but “my cup overflows.” Not only does God give me grace to be forgiven of my sin, he gives me abundantly exceedingly great grace to forgive my enemies. At this table, love covers a multitude of sin! By all worldly accounts my cup should be empty but instead, its overflowing—because God is mightily at work!