Psalm 23
A Psalm of David.
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord
“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.”
I. “Prepare”
Natural meaning:
The shepherd goes up on a plateau of a mountain range called a “table” and prepares it for the flock to feed upon. The shepherd must eradicate all poisonous flowers, scout the area for predatory animals, etc.
Hebrew word for “prepare” is arak: to arrange, set or put or lay in order, set in array, prepare, order, ordain to arrange or set or lay in order, arrange, state in order, set forth. God arranges circumstances so that you are in the presence of your enemies.
People tell me they want to leave a ministry because they do not get along with their ministry head. I tell them that is why God put them there! God arranges, ordains, and sets in order difficult circumstances to demonstrate to us that we cannot do it ourselves, but that He can do all things!
II. “Presence”
Hebrew word neged: before; against; in the presence; and about; what is conspicuous, what is in front of; adv. in front of, straight forward, before, in sight of; in front of oneself, straightforward. Before your face, in front of, before.
God delights in blessing His people in the face of His enemies! He gets right in their face with His canopy of blessing!
At the same time there is darkness in Egypt, there is light in Goshen! This is the greatest testimony to the heathen!
III. “Table”
1. “Table” signifies three things:
  • Food: physical needs met
  • Fellowship: emotional/social needs met
  • Communion: spiritual needs met (John 6; 1 Cor. 11)
2. “Table” represents the table of showbread in the tabernacle, which was a type of Messiah and the cross.
3. “Table before me in the presence of my enemies”
  • The tabernacle was in the wilderness. “Wilderness” signifies a time of testing while in the midst of enemies and demonic entities. For example: Jesus in the wilderness in Matthew 4.
  • The children of Israel ate & drank and saw God in the wilderness (Exodus 24:11).
  • The children of Israel ate the manna in the wilderness. This corresponds with Jesus in John’s Gospel:
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world” (John 6:47-51).
Most saints have as a goal to prosper and move as far away from the city as possible, so they can be blessed. To choose the path of least resistance means to choose the path with the least power.
Scripture shows us the real feast is in the midst of the enemies of the Gospel and our personal enemies. Romans 5: “Where sin abounds, grace does more abound”!
IV. “You anoint my head with oil”
Acts 1:8: Most seem to think that the anointing of the head regards service for God instead of ministering to God. I believe the most important result of the anointing is to empower us to spend more time seeking God in the grace and power of the Holy Spirit.
Before Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit upon His disciples in John 20:22, they fell asleep when they attempted to pray. After that, they prayed 10 days without stopping until the Day of Pentecost. Then, after the Day of Pentecost, the Book of Acts becomes the Book of Prayer!
Even those in the Charismatic persuasion know that glossolalia is primarily to be used as a personal private prayer language between them and God (1 Corinthians 14:2) whereas prophecy is for the edification of the assembled church.
“For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries. But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men” (1 Corinthians 14:2).
David’s primary biblical reference for understanding the anointing of the head comes from the Levitical priesthood. What happened immediately following the anointing of the Aaronic priests?
Exodus 28:41:
“So you shall put them on Aaron your brother and on his sons with him. You shall anoint them, consecrate them, and sanctify them, that they may minister to Me as priests.”
Exodus 40:12-15:
“Then you shall bring Aaron and his sons to the door of the tabernacle of meeting and wash them with water. You shall put the holy garments on Aaron, and anoint him and consecrate him, that he may minister to Me as priest. And you shall bring his sons and clothe them with tunics. You shall anoint them, as you anointed their father, that they may minister to Me as priests; for their anointing shall surely be an everlasting priesthood throughout their generations.”
Leviticus 8:12, 33-35
“And he poured some of the anointing oil on Aaron’s head and anointed him, to consecrate him. And you shall not go outside the door of the tabernacle of meeting for seven days, until the days of your consecration are ended. For seven days he shall consecrate you. As he has done this day, so the Lord has commanded to do, to make atonement for you. Therefore you shall stay at the door of the tabernacle of meeting day and night for seven days, and keep the charge of the Lord, so that you may not die; for so I have been commanded.”
They had to get used to being with no one but God for seven days. They had to get used to having no duties, but waiting on God before they were qualified to minister to man. Moses was on Mt. Sinai for 40 days and nights alone with God. They would die if they didn’t stay shut in with God. The number one reason why many ministers of the Gospel end in ruin today is because they have not learned to be with God and renew themselves.
My priorities as a leader:
People assume that I am running around like a chicken without a head because of all the responsibilities I have as a family man, local church pastor, and director of Christ Covenant Coalition. But I am usually home on Mondays, Fridays, and Saturdays, and also at night from Wednesday to Sunday; I am only out on Monday and Tuesday nights. The remaining nights I am at home with my family.
I get up with my children, help feed them breakfast, make their lunch, pray with them, and help them memorize Scripture every morning before school. Also, I keep my own appointment book and usually never meet anyone before 1 p.m. so I can be free to minister to the Lord every day.
The Zadok Priesthood:
Ezekiel 44:10-11, 13-16
“And the Levites who went far from Me, when Israel went astray, who strayed away from Me after their idols, they shall bear their iniquity. Yet they shall be ministers in My sanctuary, as gatekeepers of the house and ministers of the house; they shall slay the burnt offering and the sacrifice for the people, and they shall stand before them to minister to them. Because they ministered to them before their idols and caused the house of Israel to fall into iniquity, therefore I have raised My hand in an oath against them,” says the Lord God, “that they shall bear their iniquity. And they shall not come near Me to minister to Me as priest, nor come near any of My holy things, nor into the Most Holy Place; but they shall bear their shame and their abominations which they have committed. Nevertheless I will make them keep charge of the temple, for all its work, and for all that has to be done in it.
“But the priests, the Levites, the sons of Zadok, who kept charge of My sanctuary when the children of Israel went astray from Me, they shall come near Me to minister to Me; and they shall stand before Me to offer to Me the fat and the blood,” says the Lord God “They shall enter My sanctuary, and they shall come near My table to minister to Me, and they shall keep My charge.”
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