For behold, the winter is past,
The rain is over and gone.
The flowers have already appeared in the land;
The time has arrived for pruning the vines,
And the voice of the turtledove has been heard in our land.
The fig tree has ripened its figs,
And the vines in blossom have given forth their fragrance. ~ Song of Songs 2:11-13
Wow – this chunk is full of wonderful graphics. When I read this I can see the land bursting with life. Spring is my favorite time of year for sure. My wife and I often walk together in the evenings, and as the days get longer, we are treated to course after course of beautiful blossoms, wonderful fragrances, and well, signs of life.
Let’s pull apart some of these word pictures and see what we can glean.
- End of the Rain
- Fig tree
I am sure the sun is always shining in your life, but I have rainy days. Some rainy days are just drizzly and spitting. In the early spring when you have had a taste of warmth, it can be really annoying.
Jesus promised tribulation for us in this life. There are days when the road is bumpy, the day drizzly, overcast and damp. The temptation is to complain about your lot in life.
There are other days when you feel like you might need to go back to the prayer closet and ask God for an Ark recipe. Big stuff is going wrong, and it feels like you will never survive this winter.
But today the sun is out, and birds are singing, and life is showing up all around.
If it is raining in your life, take heart. Spring is coming, the birds will sing again. I hope this does not sound trite. Life has seasons, so take heart.
Here in Northern New Jersey, one of the first signs of season change is the tiny little crocus. One day, I walk out my back door and find a patch of dirt, the next leaves sprouting and in two more days, there is purple everywhere. My daughter Jess says when you see something purple it is God telling you to stop and enjoy it.
The flowers appear from what looks like dead soil. – one day – no signs of life at all - the next – beauty.
Simple application here: Be careful not to judge someone, especially yourself, simply because, at the moment there are no signs of life, no “spiritual beauty” showing. That guy just looks like a patch of dirt! Give it some time.
Oh Dang, I hate it when the Bible talks about pruning – LOL. (Admit it, one of you out there was thinking that.)
Pruning is an act of compassion, an act of love. We need to get this. I suspect most of you who have been following this Song of Songs study are serious about your walk with Christ. You want to please Him, and grow to be more and more Christ-like. Am I wrong?
Our only hope of growing in the right direction is the pruning of the Lord. The clearest picture of this is in John 15 where Jesus says the Father prunes the vines that are fruitful so they will bear more fruit.
Are you like me? Sometimes my life looks like a Chia Pet. I say yes to every opportunity to help around the church, I say yes to my boss for new projects, I say yes to my kids for special outings and day trips, I say yes to my wife for date night, I say yes to my heart for new plans and schemes to make money, or do ministry. All these little Chia Seeds, drenched by the early spring rains (flat tires, tax returns, home repairs needed…) and my life burst into a full blown Chia Elvis.
My loving Father sits me down and says, “Ben, got a pretty full plate there, don’t cha boy. What part of this did I ask of you?” and together we start pruning, until the priorities are clear.
These three signs of season change are enough for today. Come back next week and we can take a look at the turtledoves, fig trees, and wonderful fragrances of spring.
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