IN THE MIDST OF THE COVID-19 CRISIS, GOD IS CALLING US TO SEE THE TABLE HE HAS PREPARED FOR US.
-Pastor Dr. Mensah Otabil at International Central Gospel Church| Sunday Service
Today I am going to look at the fifth verse of the 23rd Psalm and I have titled my message:
A TABLE IN THE PRESENCE OF MY ENEMIES.
Today all of us all over the world feel like we are in the presence of an enemy, that has so much power to hurt us. COVID-19 is a huge enemy that is facing all of us today, it has touched every continent of our world and almost every nation of our world.
It has touched princes, presidents, prime ministers, pilots, priests, painters. It is no respecter of persons and it has confined all of us indoors.
What Can We Do In The Presence Of Such An Enemy?
This is David as the Psalmist seeing himself as a sheep before God and affirming his faith and confidence in God. He says in the presence of His enemies, God has prepared a table before him.
That word “prepare” means to get something ready or in order. To prepare requires foresight and planning, so it’s an intentional work of God. It doesn’t just happen.
- God is intentional about what he is going for you in this season.
The word “table” in this passage is not describing a piece of furniture, it is talking about a meal that has been spread out widely: banquet. A banquet is defined as a fine and elaborate meal that has been prepared for many.
A banquet is rich, fine and abundant.
God prepares a banquet before us in the presence of our enemies, means while the enemies is at work. It is not only the presence of the enemy, there is also a work of God in the midst of what the enemy is doing. The enemy is present, but God is also present and at work.
- May God prepare a table before you, before your family, this nation and this continent.
An enemy is one who is against you, one who oppresses you, harasses you and can embarrass you.
In the presence of the enemy, which for the whole world right now is a deadly virus, God is preparing a table. He doesn’t prepare the table after the enemy has been destroyed, or move the enemy away to prepare the table but whilst the enemy is at work, while there is a threat, while there is fear, while there is insecurity God is preparing a table.
That means that in the midst of danger, God still provides nourishment for His people. God is able to provide nourishment for His people no matter the danger, it’s my assurance.
- I pray for you that God will give you nourishment wherever you are. He will sustain you in the presence of your enemy.
Soldiers eat meals when they are surrounded by enemies in battle but it is very rationed and you have to eat it hastily, but what David is talking about here is not the meal you eat hastily but a very confident and assured sheep who looks around and only sees it’s Shepherd so it knows it can take time and enjoy it’s meal in the presence of enemies. That is what God wants you to know, you don’t have to be in a haste or under any form of pressure, He is able to give you nourishment.
“He prepares a table before me” also means that when everything is against you, God provides opportunity for you. That table is not only nourishment but also opportunity. In the midst of crisis, in the midst of danger there is opportunity. There is something that God is doing in the midst of all that is happening that will give us the opportunity to do better with our lives.
1 Corinthians 10:13.
With every crisis and temptation, God always provides a way out for us.
- God will provide a way out for our family, God will provide a way out for our nation and continent.
Yes, we know part of the way out is social distancing that is why I am preaching to an empty auditorium, washing our hands regularly and you have to be suspicious of people coughing even if they are pastors, but it’s all part of the opportunity which is a way of escape from the danger.
There is something more than avoiding danger, there is seeing an opportunity more than the danger that is presented.
So I believe that in the presence of this enemies, God is preparing a table before us. There will be opportunities, new things are going to happen. There will be an explosion of science and technology.
In Ghana for the first time our enemy is not a witch or a wizard, it’s not an old lady sitting in the village, it’s a virus that has to be defeated with calculated action. I pray we keep that as out focus that our enemy is bigger than that old woman in the village, your enemy is greater than your boss at the office there are bigger issues that are big enemies and we must confront those enemies.
In the midst of all of this, I believe that God is calling on us to see the table he has prepared before us.
Sometimes in crisis, we only see the enemy, we don’t see the opportunity before us. It is amazing that though many are dying, many are recovering. More people are recovering than are dying.
It’s not all doom and gloom, it’s not all about destruction. In the midst of all the gloom, God’s light is still shining. The presence of God is still with us right before this horrific enemy that we are all dealing with.
Today I ask you ‘Do you see the table that God has prepared before you in the presence of your enemies?
Do you see the opportunity that God has opened us for you?
The impression you get from the 23rd Psalm is that the enemies in the Valley of the Shadow of Death are necessary.
They are important, God uses their presence to prepare a banquet before you. What is life without enemies?
What is life with crisis?
What is life without feeling threatened?
It is in those moments that you marshal your strength to survive and to win.
I believe that this is one of such moments.
This is a moment for the countries and nations of the so called Third World, we are about to take a leap over walls in this valley of the Shadow of Death.
There are certain opportunities that are only seen in a time of danger.
- I pray that God will open your eyes go those opportunities, that God will let you see opportunity and not doom.
- I pray for you that life will be your portion.
The psalmist concludes that in that same presence of your enemies, not only does God prepare a table before you, but God also anoints your head with oil. That is a statement of favour.
- May God favour you, May God set you apart for outstanding miracles.
He also says “my cup will run over” – that speaks of increase and abundance, overflow. Isn’t it amazing that in the presence of the enemy He is having an overflow.