You Prepare a Table for Me Before My Enemies

Nancy Page’s Sweet Potato Pie at Thanksgiving



One of the most powerful images in the Bible jumps out at the reader in Psalm 23 –

Psalm 23: 5  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; [1]

In a non-war environment, I have a difficult time imagining what it means to have an “Enemy.”  Over the years I have occasionally run into people who may have had a mean spirit, a hateful spirit, but I cannot think of anyone I would describe as my enemy.   I can imagine war time scenarios where countries and their armies square off against other nations and their armies, when the other side is viewed as a neighborhood.  The image in Psalm 23 is refreshing and calming: the table is set, food and drink are flowing and all of this happens in the face of people who do not like them, mean them no good and are contemptuous of their very existence.

More than a fully paid complimentary meal, to have a table “prepared in the presence of my enemies,” the image in this Psalm, is one which affirms the Lord’s support and personhood of the human being.  In life you do not have to be rich to feel like the Lord is blessing you and preparing future blessings.  What I look for is encouragement to keep on pressing on.  My encouragement to those who are reading this piece is this, whatever you are going through, hold your head high, keep fighting, keep pressing, keep loving and through it all, look for the blessing of God where the Lord blesses you in the face of hatred, persecution and rebuke.  Look for the table which is set in your honor.  When you realize there is a table that has been set, sit back, enjoy the meal and thank the Lord for the affirmation of faith.

Psalm 23: 5 You prepare a table before me

in the presence of my enemies;

you anoint my head with oil;

my cup overflows.

6    Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me

all the days of my life,

and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord

my whole life long.[2]



Questions for Reflection:

  • What image comes to your mind when you hear the words, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies”?
  • How do you define an enemy in a non-war situation?




Lord, you continue to bless me.  In the face of those who would do me harm, talk about me behind my back and hurl clever daggers through half-hearted indifference and contempt, you continue to speak to me, encourage me and shower me with blessings untold.  You feed me from the table of a bountiful supply.  Your drink of salvation and eternal life is cool and refreshing.  Your peace is calming and renewing.  Your Spirit is informing, motivating and never ending.  Lord, I accept your blessing this day.  Lead me to the water and I will drink.  Take me to the table and I shall eat.  Bless me this day and I will forever praise your name.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray.  Amen.


Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III

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[1] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ps 23:5). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[2] The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ps 23:5–6). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.