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Divine Hospitality – Freely Offered to Sinners

06/05/2013

After a week away from home I’ve been left thinking much about the state of hospitality industry in this country, and how it puts into practice its ideals and objectives.  In a week away you can get just about every level of ‘hospitality’ – from the over enthusiastic hostess, to the waiter who is so anxious to impress that he even rushes to the door to open it as one leaves, to the totally indifferent, rushed off her feet stewardess, who can’t be bothered to ask if you want anything.    In Bible times, hospitality must have been a practised art.

The words of Psalm 23:5 seem to suggest that David was reflecting on hospitality too:

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.

David, the psalmist, had been in the lowest of circumstances, – a lowly shepherd boy, dwelling in the meanest of circumstances, and he had dwelt (albeit for a limited time) in the palace of King Saul.  He would have witnessed how guests were being welcomed into the king’s place – had seen them being given royal hospitality, having the status conferred upon them of being invited guests.  He knew what he was saying when he described the hospitality offered to repentant sinners by the Saviour.

They are attending a banquet, where a place has been specifically prepared for them.  A table has already been prepared, and we are enjoying the presence of the Lord, at Hid table, both now and in the future.   (God has prepared a place for his redeemed at the great marriage supper of the Lamb.  Rev. 19:9  Then he said to me, Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’  It is a prepared place, for a prepared people.  Jesus said, In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.  John 14:2.  The table is set, the place cards are written, the invitations are issued!)

They are bing observed but not distracted, for their enemies are all around, yet in the king’s palace they are secure and protected and may fully enjoy the king’s presence and provision.   (The church is under scrutiny like never before.  We are oppressed, we are vilified, we are being misrepresented…  Yet at the Lord’s table, feasting in His presence we are safe and undisturbed.)

They are accorded a royal welcomed!  When a guest arrived at the king’s palace, he would be met at the door and there was great rejoicing!  He would be welcomed in a very special way indeed.

  • He would have expensive anointing oil poured over his head.  When an ancient man was in mourning he would put ashes on his head, but when he was glad and happy and rejoicing and full of joy, he would anoint his head with oil – the symbol, not of death but of healing – restoration to life.  To be welcomed to the king’s table was such an event.  In Christ God has anointed us with the oil of welcome and healing and restoration.
  • He would be handed a cup, and that cup was not just full, but brimming over.  The welcome was so great, so warm and so effusive that it was overflowing.  My cup runneth over!

When David reflected upon the hospitality offered to worthy visitors, invited to the court of an earthly king, he was moved to contrast that with the welcome given to the unworthy sinner, who has been invited to the Lord’s own table.  Such is the welcome that we have in Christ.  We could say with Solomon, He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love. Song of Solomon 2:4.  There is no greater hospitality, no greater welcome, than the welcome that is extended to the sinner who turns to Christ in humble repentance, and seeks God’s forgiveness, – there is a place already prepared for that sinner, nothing will distract him from seeking Christ, and he will be royally welcomed in the courts of the King of Kings.  Here’s the experience of one such returning sinner as told by Jesus in Luke 15:

18 I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,

19 And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.

20 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.

21 And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.

22 But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:

23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:

24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

 

 

From → Evangelism

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