Leaving the Table
(Psalm 34:8 – Taste and see that the Lord is good.).
Have you ever sat at a table that wasn’t serving anything you wanted to eat? What was being served there just wasn’t to your taste and what tasted good to everyone else didn’t taste so good to you. I recently read a quote that brought strong conviction to my heart about this. The quote read, “You must find the courage to leave the table if respect is not being served there.” (Tene Edwards). I couldn’t help but relate this to the many tables we sit at today where respect isn’t being served for the One who is deserving of all honor and respect. Jesus said, “He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters abroad.” In light of that, I had to ask myself, “How can I be with Jesus if I am sitting at a table that is serving that which is against him? How can I respect and honor him if I am sitting before things that do not? There is no getting around the Lord’s instruction to “Come ye out from among them, be separate and touch not their unclean things.” The NIV Life Application Study Bible reminds, “The gospel is not only what we believe but also what we must live.” Living the gospel requires separation of ourselves unto the gospel. While most of us would agree that we desire for the evil in this world to be overcome by good, we fail to realize that the overcoming of evil begins with us. It begins with our choice to leave the table of the world if respect for Jesus isn’t being served there.
There are many types of tables of disrespect from which we can choose to sit down and eat, but I think perhaps the table of entertainment seats more than all of them. Every table we sit down to in life belongs to someone. One sure way to recognize whose table you’re sitting at is to take a look at what’s being served there. One look at the menu will tell you if you’re sitting at God’s table or the devil’s. Seldom will you find respect for Jesus being served at the table of entertainment and once you sit down at it, finding the courage and conviction to leave the table can be challenging. Eating certain foods sometimes requires an acquired taste. We can develop an acquired taste for the things of this world as well, and before we know it something that once left a bad taste in our mouth can begin to taste better over time. Our taste buds can become dull to what once offended them. The longer we sit at the tables of entertainment, the less offended we are by what’s being served on them. We’ve all sat down at these tables, hoping they will serve us something good to eat, but they rarely do. Let’s face it, you can’t hope to get good food at a bad restaurant. The difference is if we get bad food at a restaurant, we at least have the good sense to eventually stop eating at their tables!
Sometimes we just go ahead and eat the food set before us at a table, even though it may not be all that good. We can do this in regard to the entertainment that’s set before us as well. Even though we don’t particularly approve of the content of a movie we’re watching or a book we’re reading, we continue to reluctantly eat what’s set before us, even though it may leave a bad taste in our mouth. I have come to realize that there are really only two choices – remain at the table and reluctantly eat of the disrespect for Jesus that is being served there, or leave the table. In II Corinthians 6:14, Paul asks, “For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? That’s a good question; one I need to ask myself the next time I pull up a chair at the table of entertainment. I’m pretty sure I will never find Jesus and the devil sitting in harmony at a table together, so if I know I wouldn’t find Jesus sitting there, I probably shouldn’t be sitting there either.
In his word, God invites us to eat at his table. He has “prepared a table before us in the presence of our enemies,” and he invites us to pull up a chair and join him there. Almost like a mother trying to encourage her child to taste something they’ve never eaten, our Heavenly Father encourages us to “taste and see that the Lord is good” and “promises that he “satisfies thy mouth with good things.” There’s no chance of getting a bad meal at His table! I don’t know about everyone else, but that’s the table I want to have a lifelong reserved seat at. As for all the other tables out there, I’m afraid I’m going to have to ask to be excused. Why continue sitting at a table if it’s serving food that’s not to your taste?
The flesh appeased our hearts deceived
to be entertained our greatest need
at the table of the world we take our seat
hoping to receive something good to eat
between the world and our risen Lord
we choose the world for we are bored
“Come ye out” we hear him say
“choose whom ye will serve this day”
to whom will you bow your knee
the God of Life or your T. V.
search your heart that you might know
to whom you cling to whom let go
and before you take your seat
remember you are what you eat!
(Psalm 101:3 – I will walk within my house with a perfect heart. I will set nothing wicked before my eyes to see.)