Psalm 23:5a

You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
What picture does this create for you?  Seems a little odd to me.  Like sitting down to eat lobster and steak on the battlefront while the enemy is launching grenades at my head.  Not sure I get the picture the psalmist intends.  Let's get some background....
In some of the world's best sheep country, the high plateaus for ranging are referred to as "mesas", which is the Spanish and African word for "tables".  Apparently, the picture David is trying to evoke for us is one of these high, flat-topped plateaus where the choicest grazing was to be found.  These spots were remote and difficult to reach but the shepherd would go ahead of his sheep to locate them and prepare them for his flock's arrival.
To get the mesa, or table, ready for his sheep, the shepherd would rid the area of any poisonous weeds or entangling briars.  He would often distribute salt and other minerals that would be pleasing and beneficial to his flock in strategic spots throughout the area. The shepherd would also clean out the watering holes and springs, making sure that his sheep have a sufficient supply of fresh, quiet waters. Another responsibility of the shepherd would be to look for signs of wolves or bears or other predators.  He would kill any he could locate and then he would be increasingly vigilant once his sheep were grazing there, ever ready to protect them from attack. So, there, in the presence of sheep's enemies, the shepherd prepares a mesa, a table, for his sheep. And because the shepherd provides such security for them, the sheep are able to eat and rest without agitation or fear.

What comfort and confidence that gives us as Jesus's sheep! We don't need to fear because He has gone before us and prepared just what we need.  What does that look like, practically? A "chance" encounter with my friend Ellen taught me this truth.  In fact, God used our 5 minute conversation to not only bless me but also to provide the idea for this series on Psalm 23! (Side note, there are no "chance enounters" - only Divine appointments.  And I wish you could all know my friend Ellen.  Since she lives overseas, sharing the Gospel in a radically UNREACHED country, I don't get to see her much.  But every time I get a quick hug and sweet word from her, I am immeasurably blessed!  And now I can share with you the fruit of what Ellen planted in my heart that day!) Here's the gist of the Truth of this passage...

Since God knows what we are going to face up ahead (because He is I AM, which means He lives in Eternity Past and Eternity Future and the Present...all at the same time!), He gives us just what we need in order to not only "face the problem" but to actually experience blessing and victory in the midst of it.  To feast at the table He has so abundantly prepared in spite of the fact that our enemies are trying to get to us.

So many times, I have feared a potential situation, knowing I could not handle "such and such".  I can get all worked up, just anticipating the "what if's " and "might happen's"!  What a waste of energy.  I have no need to worry or to fear because Christ has prepared the place I am to go and will provide for me just what I need when He leades me there.  I can feast on His Word and find the strength and grace and victory needed for everything He allows in my life.  A feast that would not be possible in the lowlands.

Just a couple of thoughts to bring this home, close out this passage.  First, let's all remember that the "enemies" in our lives are not people.  No matter who is attacking you or threatening you or frightening you, they are not your enemy. Ephesians 6:12 proclaims:  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.  Don't mistake the vehicle of your danger for the danger itself.  Do your battle in the spiritual realm, not the physical one.  Pray!

And when you are in the presence of those enemies, feast at His table.  Find abundant satisfaction in His Word, knowing you are safe because of His protection.  Even in the midst of pain and attack, actually especially in the midst of pain and attack, feast at His table.  Don't fret at what is happening around you or to you because in the midst of it all, He has a table prepared for you.  A table of the choicest foods, selected and prepared just for you.  Do not let the enemy prevent you from sitting at the table with Him in sweet fellowship.  He has prepared it for you to enjoy together.