Developing an Appetite for GodGwen Witherspoon
YOU PREPARE A TABLE BEFORE ME
Psalm 23 is a very popular chapter. You’ve probably heard verse 5, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over,” and your first thought was probably that God was going to hook you up in front of your haters. As I looked into this, I saw many commentaries to that effect. However, as I looked further, I found a deeper truth.
The other common interpretation of this verse is that Psalm 23 is talking about a banquet like the Last Supper images that we have seen. However, that’s not what is happening here. The table that God prepares is a table for two, and on the menu is His body and His blood there to satisfy your hunger and your thirst. His body satisfies your hunger. His blood quenches your thirst. It is your necessary food. Now, if that congers up images of communion for you. That’s exactly it. Communion is a meal to remind us that Christ is the only one who can satisfy, and that’s what is on the table that He prepares. The body is His Word, and He wants to feed it to you.
So, what about the enemies? There are two types of enemies: 1) spiritual and 2) natural. The primary focus of Psalm 23: 5 is spiritual enemies. The scriptures tell us over and over that we are not fighting against flesh and blood, but against spiritual wickedness in high places. Don’t waste time being concerned about natural enemies being envious. (Our only responsibility when it comes to them is to love them.) God wants to prepare a table for you in the presence of demonic forces so that He can prepare you to deal with them. That’s why He wants you to hunger and thirst. The problem is you’re already full. You are spending your life satisfying your appetites, so there is no room for God.
Your flesh has an appetite for four things: 1) gain, 2) food, 3) acceptance, and 4) sex.
Instead of money and ambition, God wants to give you wisdom. Isaiah 47: 10 NKJV says, “…your wisdom and your knowledge have wharped you.” The verse starts out with, “For you have trusted in your wickedness…”
You need food and drink to live, but God wants to feed you.
The approval of others drives you into relationships that can never give you what you need. God wants to help you understand you are accepted in His family, and there’s nothing you can do to deserve it. The root of your identity is in God, your Father, and you have received the Spirit of adoption.
Your body wants pleasure, but your spirit needs intimacy. Without sex, none of us would be here, but sexual expression outside of God’s order is idolatry. Period. It is witchcraft. It is not a coincidence that in the Old Testament there are references to “high places”. Those are “places of worship”–pagan worship. They included child sacrifices and sacred prostitution on platforms to imitate the eminence of God. Sex requires that you offer your body to someone else. If you do that outside of a covenant with God and that person, your disobedience has made you an idolater. 1 Samuel 15: 23 NKJV says, “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry…”
WISDOM IS THE GOAL
I will allow the book of wisdom to speak for itself:
Proverbs 3: 13 NKJV – “Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding.”
Proverbs 4: 5 NKJV – “Get wisdom! Get understanding! Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth.”
Proverbs 4: 7 NKJV – “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding.”
Proverbs 16: 16 NKJV – “How much better to get wisdom than gold! And to get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.”
Proverbs 19: 8 NKJV – “He who gets wisdom loves his own soul; he who keeps understanding will find good.”
FOOLS HATE WISDOM
Psalm 53: 1 says, “The fool has said in his heart, there is no God.” You live like there is no God when you refuse to sit down at the table. You’re already full. Your appetites for success, for approval, for sexual gratification, for natural food have become weights. You’re heavy, and your god has become your belly (aka appetites). Your fast food lifestyle has left you spiritually dead.
If you read down through verse 6 of that same chapter, you will see the mention of shepherds. Those who refuse God’s table end up blindly following shepherds who are just blowing air. The Message translation makes it sound like their declarations are like gas (not the kind that powers your car either).
CHANGE YOUR DIET
Become a faith foodie. You need intimate knowledge of Christ, the Word of God. Please understand that you cannot conjure up faith. You cannot concentrate real hard and suddenly start believing. Remember those enemies that we mentioned earlier? Thoughts. Strongholds. Calamities. Arrows. Accusations. The list goes on. They come to steal the Word. But your Lord prepares a table for you in front of them. He wants to sit down with you to feed you faith. It only comes by hearing and hearing and hearing the Word of God from Christ Himself.
As a child, you started with milk. You added solid food. Then, you ate meat. In the Spirit, it’s no different. Ever notice that even though babies aren’t very good at it, they start trying to feed themselves almost immediately. There are no excuses. You are responsible for what you eat.
You can control your natural appetites with fasting and prayer, and fasting is not just for special occasions. Living a fasted, disciplined life will keep your body healthy and make you spiritually fit for the Master’s use in His kingdom.
YOU MUST EXERCISE
Just as in the natural, when you eat, you have to move. You have to exercise. When you sit at the Lord’s table, and He feeds you, you have to get up from the table and exercise your faith. Hebrews says to run your race. Otherwise, you deceive yourself. Deception is the result of hearing the Word, but not doing it. You trick yourself into believing that because you ate, you have a relationship with God. Because you went to church, you have a relationship with God. The truth is you only have a relationship with God when you sit at the table that He has prepared for you, you let Him feed you, and you act in faith. As you mix the Word with faith, you get understanding. As you get understanding of what He said to you, wisdom comes.
You can’t take a pill. You can’t get an operation. You can’t let someone else exercise for you. You have to do it. The condition of your natural body is the result of what you have eaten and what you have done. It’s the same way in the spirit. Ephesians 3: 20 says that Jesus gave gifts to the church when He ascended. Those gifts were apostles, prophets, evangelists, and teachers. The gifts of these men and women were given to us by Christ Himself, but their role is to train you do the work of ministry. It is not their job to feed you. You cannot live and grow spiritually off of their relationship with God. Your invitation to the table is private, but you will not be hungry or thirsty if your natural appetites dominate your life. Developing an appetite for God requires you to become intimately acquainted with God for yourself.