by Tim Youngs
When I’m on a road trip with my family, it’s important to me as the driver to take breaks to refresh myself and get an energy boost. It is imperative that I nourish my physical body and maintain an alert mind for safety on the road. With my mind and body strengthened, my family and I can continue our trip.
On our journeys as believers in Christ, how is our spiritual nourishment? Are we dining at the table God has prepared? Or have we resigned ourselves to eating leftovers? Are we being filled by God, or are we eating whatever’s available? Are we content with what God has provided, or are we hungry for distractions?
Paul addresses this potential problem when he quotes David’s prophecy of Messiah’s rejection: “Let their table become a snare and a trap, a stumbling block and a recompense to them” (Romans 11:9; Psalm 69:22, NKJV throughout). Israel denied Christ. It had been so long since they’d had true nourishment, they couldn’t recognize His food when it was set in front of them.
Malachi 1:7 describes a people who no longer expect or desire great things: “You offer defiled food on My altar, but say, ‘In what way have we defiled You?’ By saying, ‘The table of the Lord is contemptible.’” My prayer is that God would help us not be content with lesser food that cannot sustain us for the long journey. May the Lord challenge our spiritual appetites so that we will be alert to the new direction He has for us. May the Lord push us away from our own tables and place us at His table.
As Israel journeyed in the wilderness, God gave instructions to them to build a sanctuary so He might dwell among them (Exodus 25:23-30). In the holy place was the table of showbread with twelve loaves of bread. This was the priestly nourishment God provided for the long journey. And this table was “continually set” — 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
In the new covenant, at the Lord’s Supper, Jesus invites us all to eat at His table both now and in the kingdom (Luke 22:14-30). He is our nourishment: “ I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world” (John 6:51).
It’s vital for our journey that we partake of this nourishment, not minimizing the significance of eating at the table of Jesus Christ continuously. Hebrews 10:19-25 says that “by the blood of Jesus” we have a “new and living way.” This “way” is the journey God has called us on. Jesus is this “way,” and our nourishment. He’s given us His life and body, and draws us to His table.
As believers, we sit around the table together, being nourished together, considering each other, and provoking each other to love and good works. In this way we hold each other accountable to the journey. We mustn’t forsake assembling at God’s table, partaking in the life of Christ as one family on the way — together.
Tim Youngs serves at the Jasper, AR CoG7.