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This presentation is based on Psalm 23 that is a well known scripture, put to song and recited often by all kinds of people, some of whom never enter a church in their lives.

It has amazing truth or revelation—an insight into our relationship with God, but should be read in its original format.

The Bible was not written in English or any of the modern day languages and many nuances and subtleties of the text’s meaning in the original language such as Hebrew are lost in translation processes.

The standard KJV translation of Psalm 23 verse 5 is:
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

We generally agree that the Psalm opens with a statement:
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

It is logical and correct to assume that if the Lord is our shepherd, we must be His sheep. Our “problem” however is that, in the translation processes, we easily miss small and seemingly insignificant details, like the omission of a comma, a colon or semi-colon. To illustrate, look again at verse one,where I deliberately omit the semi-colon. Read it without a pause...

The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want.

We could take it then to suggest that we do not want the Shepherd. It may be splitting hairs perhaps, but I hope that this illustrates that those funny shapes associated with a letter have meaning.

Inclusion or exclusion of one, or using the wrong one may change the entire message of a word, a phrase or a chapter.

The two images seen here are two of many such occasions in the Hebrew alphabet.

Both are associated with the second letter known as bet, but can have different meanings..

This letter has a dot in the middle portion.

It used as the letter B.

This letter does not have the dot in the middle portion..

It used as the letter V.

Section title

Jesus said in Matthew 5:4 that the smallest letter such as a jot or a tittle would not pass away until certain prophecies were fulfilled.

That jot is the smallest letter in the Hebrew alphabet.

That jot is the smallest letter in the Hebrew alphabet. If, as often happens in modern day English translations, one of those funny shapes is overlooked or inserted incorrectly, the entire meaning may be wrong.

Yes, I am being pedantic perhaps, but when we factor such things in to our bible study, we may see an entirely new or different picture and dare I add correct. This what happened when I looked at Psalm 23 again in that manner. It blessed me and I am sure it will bless you. Allow me to share it in the Hebrew and the English.

You spread a table for me in full view of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my drink is abundant.

ta-a-ROKH l’-fa-NAI shul-KHAN NE-ged tzo-r’-RAI, di-SHAN-ta va-SHE-men ro-SHEE, ko-SEE r’-va-YAH

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.

The Hebrew word neged used in this verse, usually means in the presence of, but it also means opposite or against. Neged often implies a confrontational stance.

You prepare a table before me

The Hebrew word for before me is lefanai and it also means in front of, but not ever in a confrontational way.

We now have a problem. Why are different words used, when one would have sufficed?

There are two different meanings.

One meaning may be that this is a kind of peace offering. It is a place where we can sit around a table, over a meal, engage in meaningful discussion and peacefully resolve any differences. But the change in the Hebrew from lefanai (before me) to neged (opposite or in front of) tells us what is really going on. To understand what is actually happening, we need to look at what preparing a table means in Scripture.

But you who forsake the Lord, who forget My holy mountain, who prepares a table for Gad, and who furnish a drink offering for Meni. Isaiah 65:11

“Yes, they spoke against God: They said, Can God prepare a table in the wilderness?” Psalm 78:19

Setting a table means showing respect—and providing what is needed. In the verse from Isaiah, the setting of a table is a way of paying respect to pagan gods, but in Psalm 78, it refers to the Lord providing the needs of Israel in the desert.

When our verse states that You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies, we can look on this as, Lord, you give me all I need to be respected and victorious in the face of my enemies.

One translation of this Psalm states You anoint my head with oil

The problem with this translation is that the Hebrew word for anoint is mashach—but it does not appear in this verse.

It is seen everywhere in the Bible where someone is anointed—but this verse just does not say that. The word here is dishanta and it never means anoint. The root of this word actually means to fatten, make healthy or make fresh. It really has nothing to do with the anointing we associate with pouring oil over someone’s head as was done in the Old Testament.

We could now look on this verse as saying, You have freshened, strengthened and equipped me.

David was praising the Lord for giving him everything he needed to defeat his enemies—including the confidence to be victorious. We need this today, more than ever perhaps. Like David, we could tell the Lord, You have anointed me with oil. And through this anointing, You have given me the strength, vibrancy, and confidence that I need to defeat my enemies.

At this point in our history, we are facing increasing hostility, simply because we call ourselves Christians.

The South Australia government recently passed bills to remove the name Christmas from the list of our public holidays.

They wanted it to be known only as December 25 (I do not believe that December 25 is the “right day” when Jesus was born and can explain this in much greater detail later if so requested). Thankfully, due to public pressure and lobbying, they backed down. But they are still pushing ungodly agendas That is only one of the many things our present government at both federal and state level are implementing and sadly in many instances rather furtively. They are sneaking in legislations that appear to be little different to extreme socialism. One of the world agendas is that we will finish up with nothing and will be happy. When we have nothing and no one know what to do and who to turn to, that is setting the stage for a one world government and you should know the prophetic consequences.

Many pastors in other countries have told me of increasing hostilities also—and on analysis, most of the opposition is coming from religious sources! Pause for a while and reflect on that. Check it out...

I’d like to draw your attention again to the beginning of the Psalm when the Lord was described as a shepherd. If the Lord is a shepherd, then we are His sheep and the Psalmist refers to himself grazing in green pastures in verse two—but what sheep graze on is something we would not find very appetizing. The Hebrew word in the verse He lays me down in green pastures is yarbitzeini and it is a word that refers throughout Scripture only to animals laying down as seen in Genesis 49:9,14 and Exodus 23:5.

Verse five states that we are sitting at a table and drinking from a cup.

Since when do sheep sit at tables and drink from cups?

Sheep are not beasts of burden. They do not serve the shepherd or bear any of the burdens of his work. Sheep are clueless,  often stubborn, wander around and get lost and need protection They are selfish beings who are cared for by the shepherd.

They will graze unceasingly and perhaps get ill if the shepherd does to move them on.

We  all need guidance and protection (sometimes from ourselves). We all seek comfort. Our basic goals are not much beyond food and a comfortable place to lay down or drink, but if the our relationship with the Lord us is focused only on being kept keeping us safe and comfortable, this is not a very mature relationship with Him.

Some people can be as fully dependent and as clueless as sheep and like sheep, they can wander.

There is a higher, more meaningful relationship with Him whereby we can reach the point when we are no longer sheep.

We are human beings created in His image. We can be fully aware of things. We may face enemies but we can defeat them with the help of the strength and confidence that God provides for us.

We are his anointed agents to defeat evil and there is an active part in this that we must play. God does not do all the work.

Sometimes we may act like sheep and then stray mindlessly and God needs to shepherd us back to where we are supposed to be. But as we mature in our relationship with Him, He empowers us and gives us responsibility. He sets the table. He fills the cup. He gives us strength and confidence and assigns various tasks to accomplish and accomplish them we shall—but we have to do it.

Let us now see the events leading up to Calvary. It is often said that the Jews crucified Jesus, but I suggest that is not so.

The religious leaders orchestrated His death, arresting Him at night and interrogating Him when most civilians like you and me are asleep! If the church is asleep, which it is, God help us! The church is a slumbering giant.

At daybreak, the people’s council of elders, including both head cohanim and Torah-teachers, met and led him off to their Sanhedrin, where they said, “If you are the Mashiach, tell us.” He answered, “If I tell you, you won’t believe me; and if I ask you, you won’t answer. But from now on, the Son of Man will be sitting at the right hand of HaG’vurah, Luke 22:66-69

He stated that He would be sitting at the right hand of God. In Matthew 19:28, He spoke of sitting down. In Matthew 22:41-46 He spoke of sitting down where reference was made, in Psalm 110, of David—a shepherd.

In Matthew 25, the Lord spoke about separating sheep from goats, referring to ALL people. That includes us.

When the Son of Man appears in his majestic glory, with all his angels by his side, he will take his seat on his throne of splendor, and all the nations will be gathered together before him. And like a shepherd who separates the sheep from the goats, he will separate all the people. The ‘sheep’ he will put on his right side and the ‘goats’ on his left. Then the King will turn to those on his right and say, ‘You have a special place in my Father’s heart. Come and experience the full inheritance of the kingdom realm that has been destined for you from before the foundation of the world! Matthew 25:31-14

He spoke of sitting in Matthew 26:64. See also Mark 10:35-40, 14:62; Luke 12:37, 13:29, 14:8-11 and Hebrews 1;13.

There are many other scriptures we could look at, but these few reveal a pattern or a principle that applies to us. Part of this pattern includes separating sheep from sheep! This is a normal occurrence with shepherds! They separate sheep from each other for various purposes such as for shearing or for breeding purposes. Jesus is in the business of separating His sheep from His sheep!

Paul spoke of our poor condition without Christ and told us that Jesus changed everything as follows:

And his fullness fills you, even though you were once like corpses, dead in your sins and offenses.

It wasn’t that long ago that you lived in the religion, customs, and values of this world, obeying the dark ruler of the earthly realm who fills the atmosphere with his authority, and works diligently in the hearts of those who are disobedient to the truth of God.

The corruption that was in us from birth was expressed through the deeds and desires of our self-life. We lived by whatever natural cravings and thoughts our minds dictated, living as rebellious children subject to God’s wrath like everyone else.

But God still loved us with such great love. He is so rich in compassion and mercy. Even when we were dead and doomed in our many sins, he united us into the very life of Christ and saved us by his wonderful grace!

He raised us up with Christ the exalted One, and we ascended with him into the glorious perfection and authority of the heavenly realm, for we are now co-seated as one with Christ!

Throughout the coming ages we will be the visible display of the infinite, limitless riches of his grace and kindness, which was showered upon us in Jesus Christ. For it was only through this wonderful grace that we believed in him.

Nothing we did could ever earn this salvation, for it was the gracious gift from God that brought us to Christ!

So no one will ever be able to boast, for salvation is never a reward for good works or human striving.

We have become his poetry, a re-created people that will fulfill the destiny he has given each of us, for we are joined to Jesus, the Anointed One. Even before we were born, God planned in advance our destiny and the good works we would do to fulfill it! Ephesians 2:1-17

God has “invited” us to join Him! In John 15:15, Jesus said that He no longer regards us as servants (although we do serve Him) and because we are His friends, we do not need to “stand at tables” as servants do, but sit together to dine. We also know from scripture that there is a wedding.

We shall not be ”guests” but His “bride”! But His bride has to make herself ready!

Traditionally, a bride prepares herself for her great day and there is much to be done.
She goes to a hairdresser, she has a beautiful gown made, she has a bouquet of flowers.
She arranges for the wedding photographs, a wedding car, a wedding cake, her going away clothes and the honeymoon is planned. When she arrives at the church and walks down the aisle, people stand as the wedding tune is made. It is a big event for the happy couple.

It shall be a happy event for us too, but according to the book of Revelation, “the bride hath made herself ready”.

Since when do sheep sit at tables?

In closing, allow me to share a portion of Revelation that I believe is very relevant. It is written to a church!

The Lord is asking the church to let Him in!

See, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I shall come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.
“To him who overcomes I shall give to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the assemblies. Revelation 3:20-22

We are being invited to sit at the Master’s table. Please R.S.V.P.


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