WHAT’S IN A TABLE?
The imagery of a table in Scripture is fascinating. The Hebrew for a meal is shul, while the word derived from the root, shulchan, has three meanings, a table, reconciliation and a lamb’s skin. It is quite difficult from a Gentile and western point of view, to see the connection between these three meanings, but not for a Hebrew.
To a Hebrew person, a meal meant much more than people eating together. People could not sit around a table and eat together if they had issues between each other. Therefore to eat together meant that they had been reconciled. If you were invited to a meal with someone with whom you were at loggerheads, sitting down together meant that both parties were willing to put the past behind them and do life together from then on.
If there was no table, the lambskin would have been used as a picnic blanket upon which the meal was spread; a beautiful symbol of the cost of reconciliation. In order to have a ”table” a lamb had to die. The application is obvious.
“The table” features right through the Bible. Before the children of Israel left Egypt, God instructed them to eat a meal, families together. They could not leave on a hazardous journey through the wilderness if they had issues in the family. They were to be reconciled to each other by eating a meal together before they left.
David’s most loved song, Psalm 23:5: “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies…” –is not permission to thumb your nose at them but an invitation from God to be reconciled to your enemies. Jesus put it this way: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 5:44. Paul understood the imagery, which he quoted from Proverbs 25:21, 22: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him…” (Romans 12:20)
Perhaps the two clearest examples of this practice can been seen in Jesus’ invitation: “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him…” John 6:56. This is not cannibalism. This is reconciliation.
The second is found in John 21. All the disciples had failed Jesus; one betrayed Him, ten had fled and one denied Him. What does He do? He stands on the beach and cooks breakfast. Then He issues the simple invitation, “Come and have breakfast.” (Verse12) Wow!
So Jesus says to the Laodicean church, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and ear with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20. Reconciliation!
Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Have you read my new book, Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart (copyright 2015, Partridge Publishing)? You’ll love it!