They [The Israelites] spoke against God, saying,
“Can God spread a table in the desert?” —Psalm 78:19 NIV
I know something about setting a table. After all, as a Junior High 4-H member, I earned a badge by giving a demonstration about how to set a table. Ever since that time, I find that I enjoy setting the table for guests more than just about any other preparation. I also like restaurants that use real tablecloths and cloth napkins, the kind of place that says, “We prepared for your visit.”
What does a beautiful table with lavish food represent, particularly in the Bible? I believe that most of all, it denotes a hospitable welcome.
In verses that speak of God and the table, we see that the guests are honored by the preparation. Even when we live among our enemies, as in Psalm 23, God says to them in effect, “Look who I love and honor.”
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. (Psalm 23:5).
As a result of the invitation to Christ’s table, we can delight in His lavish provision.
I delight to sit in his shade, and his fruit is sweet to my taste. He has taken me to the banquet hall, and his banner over me is love. Strengthen me with raisins, refresh me with apples, for I am faint with love. (Song of Solomon 2:3-5).
Not only have I set a table, I have lived in the desert. Oh, not a desert with sand and heat. But, one of waiting for God, one of hospital corridors, one of surrounding enemies, and one of unfulfilled dreams.
In these places, I come with faith to God, and say, “Please, O Lord, spread me a table in this place.” And, He does!