In the Old Testament, God initiated a number of yearly feasts for His people. These were not optional events, but were written into the Law that God gave to Moses on Mt. Sinai. God commanded The Feast of Unleavened Bread as a time to commemorate the miraculous ways He had set His children free from bondage; the Feast of the Harvest as a time to dedicate the first fruits of the new crops; the Feast of Ingathering as an opportunity to celebrate God’s abundant provision. God knew better than His children the importance of setting aside time to reflect on WHO He is and all that HE HAS DONE. God understands that gratitude sets a heart free, while thankless living shackles the soul. When we focus on God’s goodness and His character, we are not only grateful, but we are motivated to believe Him for more. “Feasting,” God’s way, fuels faith. (Paraphrased from Thanksgiving: A Time to Remember by Barbara Rainey).
While Scripture often uses the picture of a “feast” to represent God’s invitation for mere man to step into His presence, the Bible also contains poignant accounts of humble believers setting a table for God. In Genesis 18, the Lord appeared to Abraham as the old Patriarch sat outside of his tent in the heat of the day. Still waiting to become “the father of a multitude of nations” as God had promised (Genesis 17:4), ninety-nine year old Abe could have picked a bone with His Promise-Maker rather than inviting Him to munch on a leg of lamb. He could have rationalized, “I’ll fix God a feast when He fixes my barren wife...” or, “If God can make me the father of many nations, surely, He can feed me a little lunch as well…”But instead, Abraham chose to feast his way to a greater faith rather than grumble his way to ingratitude, and his choice was credited to old Abe as “righteousness” (Romans 4:9).
When Abraham spotted his Holy guest, along with two other companions, he welcomed them and begged the visitors to stay. “If it pleases you, stop here for a while,” Abraham insisted. “And since you’ve honored your servant with this visit, let me prepare some food to refresh you before you continue on your journey” (Gen 18:5). A frantic attempt to prepare a gourmet meal ensued and eventually this humble father of our faith served his unexpected guests a delicious meal that portrayed his grateful heart. But that’s not where the story ends. While Abraham may have been responsible for the main dish, God had brought a dish to share as well!
“Where is Sarah, your wife?” the visitors asked.
“She’s inside the tent,” Abraham replied.
Then one of them said, “I will return to you about this time next year, and your wife, Sarah will have a son!”(V 9-10). As the Lord lingered at the table set by His own imperfect child, He dished out exactly what Abraham needed: a miracle for dessert!
Perhaps “setting the table for God” is about more than simply spending time reading the Bible. Just maybe it is also about anticipating the presence of an honored guest. In her study of The Patriarchs, Beth Moore tells a poignant story that challenges me to consider my own approach to the Living Word:
Several months ago God swept my young friend Rich’s beloved Mammaw home, leaving his Pappaw alone after 50 years of marriage. Recently, Rich and a friend went to see this dear grandfather for the night. The elderly man soaked in their lively company like parched ground begging for water. Just before bedtime he inquired what they might want for breakfast. Young, single, and rarely cooked for, Rich requested bacon and eggs. They all said good night and headed for bed. Right before Rich turned in that night, he decided to grab a glass of water. When he flipped on the kitchen light, the sight of the small kitchen table completely and lavishly set for breakfast moved him to tears. His grandfather so deeply anticipated the fellowship meal to come that he set the table in advance (51.)
Am I as anxious as Abraham to have God at my table? As delighted as Pappaw to spend time with one I love? Do I anticipate the gift of God’s fellowship in advance? In Revelation 3:20, Christ says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come to him and will dine with him, and he with Me” (NAS).
Yesterday, we carved a turkey, but TODAY I want to carve out time to set a table for my Lord and greatly anticipate the One who can “serve up a miracle for dessert” (Moore).
Today’s Treasure: “In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice;
in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.” - Psalm 5:3