The King hath brought me into his chambers: we will be glad and rejoice in thee, we will remember thy love more than wine: the upright love thee. – Song Of Songs 1:4 KJV
Today we see our first brush with intimacy between our Maiden and the King.
Out of a nation of women, the Shulamite has caught the eye of the King, and He has invited her into His chambers. The courtship is ON!
Just to be clear, marriage is a few chapters off, but here she gets the first taste of one on one interaction with the King. Up till now, she has gazed at him from afar, but now she has met Him personally.
It is like one who has known of Jesus, perhaps Sunday School stories, or a formal religious experience being turned on its head when we have our first encounter with Him.
She is faced with how to keep this relationship fresh and alive. The Song gives us three ways to keep our relationship with the Lord fresh when we are out in the world.
Be Glad – The satisfied soul will carry you a long way from the Kings chamber. Gladness – Joy is one of the most powerful forces in life. Joy is stirred in the presence of the Lord (In His presence is fullness of Joy! Ps 16:11) and Joy creates strength as we step out of the chamber of the Lover of our souls (the joy of the Lord is our strength. Nehemiah 8:10)
Rejoice – A worshiping soul will refresh you when satisfaction fades. Rejoicing–Praise and Worship–draw the presence of the Lord. When we do not feel or sense the presence of the Lord, worship will call to the surface that which is resident in you. (God inhabits the praises of His people. Psalm 22:3 KJV)
Remember – A thankful remembrance of His words of love and acts of compassion in our lives will hold us for ages, and in fact, as we rehearse our testimonies, it stirs our faith and expectation for his continued participation in our life. The recounting of a testimony is the seedbed for the next miracle.
These 3 steps can take us through the “dry” times and hasten the return of the springtime.
A few days back, I put up a post called “Satisfy Your Deepest Longings” about how our longings are not sin but God designed and given to us to manage. It stirred up some conversations here and on social media, but one reader posed a question I wanted to answer here.
What are a couple of examples of how the longing for greatness is practically worked out with humility? There’s freedom tucked in there somewhere.
I love this question.
As I considered her question, a thought poked its head into my mind. Muth. That’s what we called my mother in our family. Muth was amazing. I grew up a few years back (okay–a few decades back) when Muth worked full time as a mom. At least while I demanded care. When I hit my teens, Muth went to work, but while I was little-tiking she was momming full time.
The job tended to be thankless, the hours grueling, and the pay, intangible. It’s exactly what the women’s movement of the sixties and seventies militated against. Women fought for liberation and won. Women have some freedom to choose work over home if they want.
And I’m not thinking about ranting about that. I’m pretty egalitarian for a white male in his sixties.
But I’ll tell you something about Muth. She was the greatest! I don’t think my brothers would argue the point, and I know Fath wouldn’t. It turns out greatness exists in the most unlikely places.
You find it in the servant’s heart.
When the boys (Jesus’ disciples) were arguing about who would be the greatest in the kingdom they saw coming down the pike, Jesus tweaked their passions.
He didn’t rebuke them for wanting to be great.
He didn’t chide their foolish ambition.
He didn’t tell them they should take a vow of loserness.
He simply gave them the secret to true greatness.
“But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; – Mark 10:43
It’s not wrong to desire greatness, the path is just not what we think. The path to the top of the corporate later runs through the servants quarters.
True greatness takes off His robe, puts on a towel and washes the feet of the one who would that night betray Him, and the others who would scatter and deny before sunup.
Our young lady has boiled her life plan down into two simple priorities.
She is not looking for riches.
She is not looking for fame.
Just 2 things – Draw me and we will run.
Draw me into your everlasting everloving arms of intimacy and we will run together in a life of ministry.
Have you ever run into a new believer, and been moved by their fresh passion. As we discussed last week, we sometimes mistakenly thrust them directly into the work of the ministry only to see their passion fade and their disciple wane.
Have you seen a young and passionate Christian sign up for Bible School and then Seminary, where they are taught all the how-tos of ministry; how to craft a sermon, how to develop a vision, how to plant a church – all of it great information. But all too often these young recruits for God’s army have lost their focus, their passion, their simple priorities.
I am convinced that much of what turns out as burnout, is due to our upside down system of preparation for ministry.
Why does this happen?
It is because we get the cart before the horse. A carefully and fully developed life of intimacy is the first ingredient to an enduring life of ministry. [Tweet This]
Have you found that sometimes you get the cart before the horse?
There is good news. It is never too late to go back to step one. I don’t care if you have been in ministry for 40 years, or if you just met Christ this morning. It is never too late to press into more of Him.
Let me start with the idea that our Maiden’s heart cry has 2 parts. I long to be with you in intimacy (“Draw me”) and we will work together in ministry (“let us run.”)
But there are times when we mess this up in the church.
Have you ever seen this happen?
A young man or woman is wonderfully touched by the awesome love of the Savior and begins to come to church. They are so completely engrossed with worship and would do anything for the object of their love.
They so want to please the Lord that they “report for duty.” They volunteer for everything. They are there every time the church opens its doors.
We put them to work gladly, and work they do, but soon the zeal begins to fade.
I believe we have shut down a critical area of the Lord’s work in a life. We do this all too often.
Don’t get me wrong here. I’ve been in church leadership, and I know all too well that getting people involved can be a challenge, and getting folks to chip in and join the workforce is not easy.
By the same token, we are going to see in graphic detail how in the life of the Shulamite, in these next couple chapters, this strategy did not work out too well.
Here’s the thing.
In God’s economy Intimacy begets Productivity, but there is a gestation period. We understand this in life!
A fruitful life is intended to flow out of intimacy.
And this is the pattern for a healthy, burnout proof, long life of ministry. We must not short circuit the romance phase.
When we push people into ministry too soon, we can inhibit their ability to continue to return to intimacy, and they will face burnout. Intimacy is where we are refreshed, and when we elevate ministry over life worship, we can cripple the ability of our ministers to be refreshed and refueled.
We must also be careful not to judge others by the season we are in. We may be in a season of worship, and we can look at the worker-bees and think – they just don’t get it, while at the same time the worker-bees are thinking that the worshipers are no earthly good.
Both Wong–God’s work in us takes time, and seasons are the way He works.
Therefore the maidens love you. (Song of Songs 1:3 NASB)
Who are these maidens?
In the Song of Songs, they come up from time to time. They act as the Chorus in a Greek play might, taking on many roles.
When they are referred to as the maidens or virgins, we will take them to be those who have not yet begun to passionately pursue Christ.
Can you make that a little plainer, Ben?
Ok – how about this? These are fellow believers who look at your passion for the Lord and think you are just a bit unbalanced. When they observe your worship, sometimes they think, “I wish I loved God like that,” and sometimes they say to themselves, “Well, he doesn’t have to make a fool of himself, does he?”
You know these people. They do love God, and there is some level where they wish they had your passion and your zeal.
They are in a different place in their walk with the Lord today, but one day soon, they may find themselves calling out to the Saviour “Kiss me with the kisses of your mouth” along with you.
If as you read this, you find yourself among the maidens–looking askance at our passion wasted Shulamite–know this, you can have this passion too. Paul told Timothy to stir up the gift that was given to him.
If you are a Christian, you have the Holy Spirit living inside you, then let me tell you this. The Holy Spirit is head over heels in love with Jesus, and if you allow yourself to be moved, you will be too.
Go for it!
Thanks for stopping in this week. Come back next week when we look at the Shulamite’s 2 part life cry.
I have been pondering last weeks post for the last few days, and it is really rocking my world. The whole concept that “As His name is declared, His passion is revealed.” WOW
I have to tell you, that was fresh revelation to me.
This phrase “His name poured forth” has been rumbling around my brain for days now.
I picture th Mary breaking open an alabaster box of ointment (worth a years wages) and pouring it out – wasting it – on Jesus’ feet. The perfect picture of you and me pouring out our lives, many would say wasting them, living for Jesus and leaving the outcome in His hands.
Some will say you waste your life on Jesus, others will notice that you smell just like Him as He gives His life as a lamb to the slaughter.
I picture that gruesome image from “The Passion of the Christ” of Mary, the mother of Jesus, sopping up Christ’s blood poured forth while He received those 40 lashes.
I picture blood and water poured forth from His side when the Roman soldier pierced Him.
I picture Jesus baptizing His Church, as He promised He would, in that little upper room as He poured forth His Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost.
Finally I picture Jesus pouring forth His Church, shining with the light of His glory, over a dark and listless world. That light spreading far and wide as that world gets a deep breath of that wonderful fragrance.
I know there is more pouring forth to come – there are seals to be broken and bowls to overturn. But that is for then.
This is for now!
Ointment poured forth in Bethany
Blood poured forth at Calvary
Spirit poured forth at Pentecost
The Church poured forth globally
Each without reserve,
Each without stumbling over the cost
All with one aim
fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 12:2
You are that joy that was set before Him, and so is your neighbor!
Have you taken His name?
Will you bear the name of your Husband the Bridegroom-Shepherd-King?
Will you be His name poured forth on your circle of influence?
Will you be that sweet savor of live to them that are saved, and are you willing to bear the stench of death, and you die to your self so others can get a whiff of the aroma of Christ.
Say yes today!
Thanks for stopping in today. I trust this helps you. I know it stirs me up.
See you next week.
If you did not read last weeks post it is worth the few minutes it would take.
Here’s the thing. When our Song speaks of fragrance it is not talking about actions. Not the visible actions of a Shepherd King, but rather the invisible aspects of thoughts and emotions – His passions.
When we talk about God and emotions we (the Church) have a strange box for God. We feel like God has this amazing joy when we are born again, and He spends the rest of our lives angry with us.
There is even theological argument out there that says that if God does not change, He cannot have emotions.
This is all so messed up. We are created in the image of God, emotions and all. If we learn nothing else from the Song of Songs, it is that we have an emotional Father.
There is however action in this verse and we don’t want to miss it. The fragrant ointment is poured forth.
Here we see the internal essence of Jesus, His thought life, His emotion, His passion, poured out by the declaration of His name. Last time we looked at His name, but today I want to draw your attention to this idea.
As His name is declared, His passion is revealed. [Tweet This]
When He told us His name was JEHOVAH-TSID-KENU “The Lord is our righteousness” He demonstrated His passion for His righteousness to be expressed through your life.
When He taught us His name, JEHOVAH-SHALOM–Our perfect peace–He demonstrated His passion to come to us as the Prince of Peace and demolish all that stands between us and peace with God.
When He said His name was JEHOVAH RAPHA–I am the Lord Your Physician, the Lord Your Healer–He demonstrated His passion to heal you to the uttermost.
Interestingly enough Paul talks about fragrance too.
But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things? – 2 Corinthians 2:14-16
The fact is, as our lives declare by word and deed the name of Jesus, His passion is poured forth on our circle of influence, and it has an impact. It may draw some to Christ, and it may push some away. In any case, when we stand for Christ our lives will no longer be neutral.
Do you need that ointment poured forth in your life today?
Do you need that healing balm, that peace that defies understanding?
Let the name of Jesus wash over you even now. Declare His name out loud over your circumstances today.
If you are sick say out loud something like “I am yours Jehovah Rapha–the Lord who heals me”
If you are stressed instead of blessed – declare “I am yours, Jehovah Shalom”
Hey – we are not talking about magic words or secret formulas here. But there is power in the name of Jesus.
That’s good, isn’t it? Share what you learned, or what fresh revelation you received, or even what made you mad here today.
Come back next week for more of the Song.
Believe me, we are just scratching the surface here.
Because of the fragrance of your good ointments, Your name is ointment poured forth; Therefore the virgins love you. Song of Songs 1:3 NKJV
I have written about the fact that God reveals Himself by His name throughout the scriptures. At the bottom of this post are some links to other posts going through some of the Old and New Testament Names of God and what they reveal about Him.
But today I want to share 2 things from other sources about the Name that is as ointment poured forth.
My former Pastor, Chet Klope, and I were chatting about the book Les Misérables by Victor Hugo the other day. (Now a few years back.) It is one of his favorite books of all time, and I had never read it. My son had given me a 3-month audible.com subscription for Father’s day, so I got it in my head to download the audiobook and give it a listen.
I started today, and just a few chapters in I ran across this:
“Oh, you who are!
“Ecclesiastes calls you the All-powerful; the Maccabees call you the Creator; the Epistle to the Ephesians calls you liberty; Baruch calls you Immensity; the Psalms call you Wisdom and Truth; John calls you Light; the Books of Kings call you Lord; Exodus calls you Providence; Leviticus, Sanctity; Esdras, Justice; the creation calls you God; man calls you Father; but Solomon calls you Compassion, and that is the most beautiful of all your names.”
Victor Hugo. Les Misérables (Kindle Locations 642-645).
Isn’t that wonderful? Pastor Chet told me that I would hear the gospel on every page, and I am so in love with the Bishop today. But hey- I am only in a few pages – so don’t spoil it for me.
This short passage made me think again of the sermon I have somewhere on audio cassette of Oral Roberts preaching a sermon called the 4th man. Today I found a website that had a transcript of a portion of the message that thrills me every time I hear it.
Check this out:
Who Is The Fourth Man?
Oral Roberts Sermon (c. 1956)
Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counselors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.
Who is the Fourth Man?
I tell you that…
In Genesis, He is the Seed of the Woman. In Exodus, He is the Passover Lamb. In Leviticus, He is our High Priest. In Numbers, He is the Pillar of Cloud by day and the Pillar of Fire by night. In Deuteronomy, He is the Prophet like unto Moses. In Joshua, He is the Captain of our Salvation. In Judges, He is our Judge and Lawgiver. In Ruth, He is our Kinsman Redeemer. In I and II Samuel, He is our Trusted Prophet. In I and II Kings and I and II Chronicles, He is our Reigning King. In Ezra, He is our Faithful Scribe. In Nehemiah, He is the Rebuilder of the Broken Down Walls of our human life. In Esther, He is our Mordecai. In Job, He is our Dayspring from on high and our Ever-Living Redeemer. In Psalms, He is the Lord our Shepherd. In Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, He is our Wisdom. In the Song of Solomon, He is our Lover and the Bridegroom. In Isaiah, He is the Prince of Peace. In Jeremiah, He is the Righteous Branch. In Lamentations, He is the Weeping Prophet. In Ezekiel, He is the Wonderful Four-Faced Man. In Daniel, He is the Fourth Man in the burning fiery furnace.
Who is the Fourth Man?
In Hosea, He is the Faithful Husband, forever married to the backslider. In Joel, He is the Baptizer with the Holy Ghost and Fire. In Amos, He is our Burden-Bearer. In Obadiah, He is the Mighty to Save. In Jonah, He is our Great Foreign Missionary. In Micah, He is the Messenger of Beautiful Feet carrying the Gospel. In Nahum, He is the Avenger of God’s Elect. In Habakkuk He is God’s Evangelist, crying, “Revive thy work in the midst of the years.” In Zephaniah, He is the Savior. In Haggai, He is the Restorer of God’s Lost Heritage. In Zechariah, He is the Fountain Opened in the House of David for sin and uncleanness. And in Malachi, He is the Sun of Righteousness, rising with healing in His wings.
Who is the Fourth Man?
In Matthew, He is the Messiah. In Mark, He is the Wonder-worker. In Luke, He is the Son of Man. In John, He is the Son of God. In Acts, He is the Holy Spirit. In Romans, He is our Justifier. In Corinthians, He is the Gifts of the Spirit. In Galatians, He is the Redeemer from the curse of the law. In Ephesians, He is the Christ of Unsearchable Riches. In Philippians, He is the God Who Supplies All Our Needs. In Colossians, He is the Godhead Bodily. In I and II Thessalonians He is our Soon-coming King. In I and II Timothy, He is our Mediator between God and Man. In Titus, He is our Faithful Pastor. In Philemon, He is a Friend that sticketh closer than a Brother. In Hebrews, He is the Blood of the Everlasting Covenant. In James, He is the Great Physician. In I and II Peter, He is the Chief Shepherd who soon shall appear with a crown of unfading glory. In I, II, and III John, He is Everlasting Love. In Jude, He is the Lord Coming with Ten Thousands of His Saints. And in Revelation, He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.
Who is the Fourth Man?
He’s Abel’s sacrifice. He’s Noah’s rainbow. He’s Abraham’s ram. He’s Isaac’s well, Jacob’s ladder, Issachar’s burden, Judah’s scepter, Samuel’s horn of oil, David’s slingshot, Hezekiah’s extension of life, Isaiah’s man of sorrows, acquainted with grief. He’s Peter’s healing shadow. He’s Paul’s mighty wonders and miracles. He’s John’s pearly white city. He’s the pearl of great price. He’s a rock in a weary land. He’s the prince of Peace and the Government of our life is upon His shoulder.
Who is the Fourth Man?
He’s the root system of our life. The source of your total supply. The one who is able to deliver you from the flames of human life. The one who enables you to live by your faith and empowers you to obey Him and gives you the strength to refuse to compromise. He’s the restorer of your total life. The healer from the crown of your head to the soles of your feet. The one who enables you to survive. He’s the saying one, who created you in His image, after His likeness, who says we are Whosoevers, receiving Whatsoever we say. He’s the one who resides in your heart. The one at the point of your needs. The one that’s closer to you than your breath. He bears no greater title than a Friend of Sinners. The Friend of the now. He’s wrapped in your spirit, in your soul, in your body, and in your circumstances of life around you everywhere. He’s here in the now. He is the one of signs, wonders, many mighty miracles, and marvelous works. There is no other that can deliver after this sort.
Who is the Fourth Man?
I tell you…He is the God I serve. The Written Word of God manifested in the Flesh and Spirit. He’s JESUS CHRIST, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS! He’s my Savior, my Lord
Our poor maiden is struck with all of this.
She looks at this Shepherd King and this lowly maiden from a nearby village is drawn into the thoughts of luxury, of the lush life, of a life with the man of her dreams in royal robes and plush surroundings.
She sees his rugged handsome beauty and she wants to spend time in His arms.
One look as He passes by stirs passion deep within her.
She imagines that drinking deeply of the scent of Him would surely intoxicate her.
Her longing for intimacy with this man runs to the depths of her soul.
You know, for Christians, longings can be tricky. We feel like passion creates a problem. We try to push our longings down. For centuries longings of any kind have been frowned upon.
We find ourselves expressing our longings in ways that are destructive, and so begin to repent not only for the sin but for the longings and desires themselves.
This is a problem since God created the longings, and built them into who we are. They are deep inside, and if we live a life suppressing our longings and passions, we end up denying the very life God intended us to live, and the wonderful things He intended us to feel and experience.
Mike Bickel and Deborah Hiebert wrote a book called “The Seven Longings of the Human Heart” where they detail seven longings (there may be more, but Mike lists seven) in every person.
p class=”p1″>A longing to be fascinated
A longing to possess and feel beautiful
A longing to be great and successful
A longing to know intimacy without shame
A longing for assurance of being enjoyed
A longing to be wholehearted and passionate
A longing to make deep and lasting impact
These longings are not part of your sin nature, they are built-in by your creator. They require management, not suppression. [tweet this]
In fact, God intends for the complete fulfillment of each of these in our lives, both here and in eternity.
Don’t forget this is the God who put in the pen of David,
You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever. – Psalm 16:11
This same God created pleasure. What sorts of deep passionate pleasures await us in heaven. I suspect it is more than we could ever think or imagine.
Personally, I love my life here, but I can’t wait.
Fact is, God intends for us to walk in a great measure of this pleasure and wonder here and now. As we unfold this Song we will see the joy and fulfillment of partnering with the One who created us, and designed us, and bought us, and loves us all to crazy!
Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him. – Psalm 2:12 NIV
The maiden has two great and repeating requests that run throughout the song and here is the first. At this point, she is an admirer of the Shepherd King. She may think that He doesn’t even know who she is. But she is smitten!
Ok – I know, I told you that the maiden was going to be each individual believer, and we start right out of the gate kissing on the mouth. You ladies may be ok with this, but I might be losing the guys in the second verse.
Let me suggest that we read this as “May He kiss me with the kisses of His Word.” There – I know I feel better already.
We are going to spend a lot of time over the next weeks and months (Lord willing) applying word pictures and metaphors, and here is our first.
Since, for our purposes, we are going to consider this Shepherd King to be Jesus, a kiss from His mouth – would be His Word.
When we look at the mouth of the Lord in the scripture we are usually looking at His Word and His speech. For example
Then the LORD said to me, “You have seen well, for I am watching over My word to perform it. – Jeremiah 1:12
The Word of God is food to us. In Matthew 4:3,4 Jesus tells us man does not live by bread alone, but by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord. In Matthew 6:11, in the Lord’s prayer, Jesus asks God to give us each day our daily bread. God gives us bread not stone as a good Father in Matt 7:9. Matthew 26 shows us that the broken body of Jesus is the broken bread of communion and we understand that healing is the children’s bread from Mark 7:27. So this divine Kiss is the favor and healing and complete salvation that God offers.
Join me in asking the Father for the kisses of the Words of Jesus. O Lord kiss us today with the kisses of your Word.