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From the editor: At the Table

J Grant

The departure of the Children of Israel from Egypt and the remarkable events that followed are well described in Psalm 78. "He divided the sea, and caused them to pass through; and he made the waters stand as an heap. In the daytime also he led them with a cloud, and all the night with a light of fire" (vv.13-14). Despite such a mighty deliverance and the provision of the sweet waters of Elim (Ex 15.27), there arose in their hearts a spirit of rebellion against the Lord. The psalmist quotes the words that came from their mutinous lips: "Can God furnish a table in the wilderness?" (Ps 78.19).

The clear answer was that He could, and indeed did, as the manna was given. He rained this down on them, sufficient to meet the needs of all as they enjoyed the bounty of the "corn of heaven" (Ps 78.24). Such a bounty had never before been bestowed - "angels’ food" (Ps 78.25) to satisfy them completely. In Egypt no such provision was available. They had come from darkness to enjoy the provision set daily before them. But so have we! The kingdom of darkness has been left behind, and daily we enjoy what our God has provided, the spiritual food that is so vital for the health of our souls.

He had been born into the royal family but now was living far off from Jerusalem, in the land of Lo-debar. It may be that he feared a summons to Jerusalem to stand before the king. Some in Israel may well have considered him to be, as a son of Jonathan, the legitimate king. But the rightful monarch, chosen of the Lord, now sat on the throne, and one day the summons came. As he entered David’s presence Mephibosheth did reverence and heard words of welcome that he had never thought would fall on his ears: "I…will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually" (2 Sam 9.7). He came from distance to enjoy the privileges bestowed on him. What grace David displayed! Continually Mephibosheth would enjoy the king’s menu and his position of sitting at the king’s table. It would not be his to partake of servants’ food, nor to eat at servants’ tables. He would sit with the king, delight in his company, and feast on what he enjoyed.

We also have such a privilege as we came from a distance. When sin entered it cast Adam and Eve out of Eden, at a distance from God. But now, no longer kept at a distance, we can draw near and enjoy the fullness of all He has provided. Under different circumstances, but enjoying the same privileges, the Shulamite was caused to declare, "He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love" (Song 2.4). We, too, should have an appetite for the things that the Lord enjoys and fully partake of them.

The raising of Lazarus from the dead must have had a profound effect on the village of Bethany. Despite that memorable occasion, Lazarus was simply "one of them that sat at the table with him" (Jn 12.2). The Lord was still the commanding presence. He alone stood out amongst them. But Lazarus was one who had come from death to enjoy the presence of the One who delivered him. It was the Lord’s power that had accomplished this. It was Lazarus’s privilege to enjoy it.

Paul reminds the Colossians that before salvation they were dead in their sins (2.13), but quickly adds that they had been "quickened together with him", that is, with Christ. Such a miracle has been worked in our souls, the glorious change when we put our trust in the Lord Jesus. Now we, too, can enjoy being one of those who sit at the table with Him.

So we have come - out of the darkness of Satan’s kingdom, from the distance of Lo-debar, and from the state of spiritual death in which we languished. We have come by His grace alone. We have come on the basis of His work alone. We have come to be near Him, to sit with Him, and to enjoy His presence, His power, and His bounty. Let us draw near and daily enjoy all He has provided.


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