You prepare a feast before me in plain sight of my enemies.
You refresh my head with oil; my cup is completely full.

–Psalm 23:5 NET

Psalm 23 appears to shift at this point from a shepherding metaphor to a host providing for his guest. If that’s so, it hints at a precious truth not fully understood until Jesus came. God treats us not only as His sheep but as His friends. “I no longer call you slaves, because the slave does not understand what his master is doing. But I have called you friends, because I have revealed to you everything I heard from my Father” (John 15:15 NET). We see this friendship expressed in Jesus’ last meal with His disciples before His death, and it reflects God’s heart to provide hospitality for His people in a threatening, disordered world.

The Power of Hospitality

Waiting outside

The evening sky just beginning

To brighten with starlight

A worn, thin blanket comforts

My shoulders relax under its gentle pressure

Though still-watchful eyes

Scan the horizon for danger


Won’t you join us? He asks


You! He says with a playful grin


Come, He urges

His broad, warm hand

Closes over mine—small and cold


He guides to a table

Spread heavily with fine foods

Expensive wine completes the feast

Who is this for? I ask

An unhurried pause

Who should it be for?

Someone special, I whisper in awe


My Host settles at the head of the table

And begins to fill a plate

Heaping it with far more than I can eat

Next He pours a cup of ruby wine

After offering simple words of thanks

He begins to eat

And nods at me to do the same


Other guests start arriving

A steward seats them according to plan

Each one greets the Host

With a humble nod of the head

And hungry, weary eyes

The meal’s bounty

Overwhelms conversation


As fatigue gives way and contentment rises

Guests plunge into a “course” of words

Chatter becomes more animated

Someone explodes with laughter

Startled silence

Then echoes of pleasure

Pass around the room


No longer alone

We are a grateful gathering

Feasting on richness enjoyed

In the company of our gracious Host

Who sees us

Knows us

And loves us

As dear friends

Thank you, Love

I had a delightful evening


ACTION: Where do you see yourself in the poem? Why do you think sharing the feast with others is important? Would you like to show hospitality like this? What would that look like? How might sharing hospitality with others assure of the Shepherd’s secure, interested love?



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