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Image Credit - graphicstock.com - licensed for use
Image Credit - graphicstock.com - licensed for use

Let us rise early and go to the vineyards;
Let us see whether the vine has budded
And its blossoms have opened,
And whether the pomegranates have bloomed.
There I will give you my love.

Song of Songs 7:12 NASB

The Song teaches us time and time again about the importance of intimacy in our relationship with the Lord. It shows us how our ability to minister effectively is birthed in the bedroom (closet) of one-on-one worship and time spent gazing into the eyes of the Savior.

But worship is so much more than spending ‘alone time’ with the Lord.

Our bride now woos her Lover out into the vineyard where their activities will be nurture and care for that which was birthed in that bedroom (closet.)

What happened within this maiden? What happened to the girl who would not follow her Lord out into the hills and mountains for fear of what might lie out there—in the wild?

What happened to the young woman who had her own garden, and tended it alone?

Do you remember when she gave Him her garden? (SoS 4:16)

When we give our lives to Him, He shares His heart with us.

When your heart cries out to Him, “What’s mine is Yours,” He responds saying “What’s mine is yours.” All those who call on His name—His vineyards—His flocks—now fall on your heart. As you minister with Him, nurturing, pruning, helping to graft in other branches, you find that there is an exchange of love, a fulfillment beyond what you have known in the secret place.

Life becomes an act of worship and worship is life. [Tweet This]

The secret place remains a priority, but it’s not the only place your love is expressed.

The Lord’s plan for us is full of wonder in every step.

Thank you Lord for drawing us, for sharing your heart with us, for the life we would never know without you. Blessed be Your great name.

Ben NelsonThanks for stopping by.

Walk in the light.

Ben

4

Many Waters - SoS header

Come, my beloved,
let us go out into the fields and lodge in the villages;
let us go out early to the vineyards and see
whether the vines have budded,
whether the grape blossoms have opened
and the pomegranates are in bloom.
There I will give you my love.

Song of Songs 7:11-12 ESV

Do you remember where the Song starts? Our girl cries out for a two-fold touch—two ways she asks the Lord to move in her life. Draw me after you; let us run. (1:4) We have seen this come to pass in her life. He has drawn her, they have run together.

She has grown and learned and become a mature wife—a partner with the Lord in ministry.

There is a thrill in my heart as I read today’s stanza.

Now instead of pleading for Him to draw her—to lead and allow her to follow—she is leaning into her own ministry. Don’t get me wrong. She isn’t getting out in front of Him in presumption. He is letting the Spirit in her lead her heart and draw Him. He has done such a work in her life, that she is no longer thinking; Draw me. Love me. Minister to me. Now she comes to Him with a heart that accurately mirrors His own priorities.

Let us go into the fields.

Let us lodge in the villages.

Let us go early to the vineyard and see its fruit.

Here’s a big idea…

Much of Christendom thinks of Christian maturity as the day our servanthood to Jesus is complete. Where we act on His every command and our lives walk out a perfect submission in every detail. We don’t make a move with out His specific say-so.

But is that what God goal is for us? Does He want us to be like the angels who carry out His commands?

Or does He want us to be adults.

When you raise a child, is it so they can, once grown, finally obey all your instructions to the letter? Or would you rather see them function independently, carrying out what you have taught them, walking with your same priorities, your same integrity, but using their own free will to express themselves and to express your priorities.

It may be a weak illustration with some holes in it, but think on this just a bit.

Does ‘doing the will of the Father’ mean waiting for instructions before taking each and every step—or—trusting the Spirit within (same God inside and above—right?) to inspire your ideas.

Hey - I get that there are times and situations where explicit obedience is required. Live must be submitted to His priorities and will. But He has given us creative hearts and free wills. These are not in us so that we can chain them in a dark corner of our heart home, but so they can fully express God in and through our redeemed flesh.

Check out what rises up in the maiden’s heart - “let’s go…” She has a pastor’s heart. Let’s make sure Your gardens are flourishing Lord. Let’s make sure they are bearing fruit. Let’s see if there is life in the churches.

She’s not renegade. She sounds just like Father.

Tell me truly - have I gone off the reservation here?

Ben NelsonWhat do you think?

Thanks for coming by.

Ben

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Many Waters - SoS header

So ladies – you just spent the last hour and a half getting ready to head out on a date with your honey, and when he feasts his eyes on you the first words out of his mouth are:

Your hair reminds me of a herd of goats.

But that’s where the Shepherd King goes with our maiden, and not for the first time. As I mentioned last week, these same declarations of her beauty (yes – goat hair is beautiful – you’ll see) are a repeat from Chapter 4, then in anticipation, now in realization.

Your hair is like a flock of goats
That have descended from Gilead.

Song of Songs 6:5 NASB

Hair

What is the Lord saying of His bride?

Long flowing hair speaks of dedication or devotion. We gather this from both Old and New Testament. In the Old we read of the Nazarites who would not cut their hair during their times of dedication to the Lord.

In 1 Corinthians 11, Paul, talking about coverings, says that the woman’s long hair indicates that she has a covering in her husband. So it is with our Shulamite. Her long flowing hair points to the covering she has in her Groom.

But Ben, what about the goats.

Well, I wonder if you knew that the Bible says they are:

There are three things which are stately in their march,
Even four which are stately when they walk:
The lion which is mighty among beasts
And does not retreat before any,
The strutting rooster, the male goat also,
And a king when his army is with him.

Proverbs 30:29-31 NASB

Now, I personally might have gone with the lion, but in any case this devotion we see in her hair is not just beautiful, but it is orderly and disciplined – stately!

Why Gilead? Gilead was a place of plenty, and great place to raise your herds. (See Numbers 32) Beauty was not seen, as it often is depicted today, in the gaunt and emaciated. Rather beauty was well fed at the table or her Lord and under His banner of love.

Teeth

Your teeth are like a flock of ewes
Which have come up from their washing,
All of which bear twins,
And not one among them has lost her young.

Song of Songs 6:6 NASB

My dear, what big teeth you have… The better to ... feed on your word.

Much is said about her mouth in the Song, mouth, lips, tongue and teeth. Some of it relates to her words, her praise, her testimony. But when He speaks of her teeth, it is her ability to eat what is put before her.

If we are honest, we would say, not everything the Lord speaks strikes us as honey to our souls at first bite.

Remember how one minute Peter was on top of the world with Jesus patting him on the back and saying He was getting ready to build His church on the very idea Peter just opened up. The next thing Peter knew he was rebuking the Lord, and Jesus was calling him satan (or at least it must have felt that way to him.)

Perhaps he was a maiden with out twin teeth – top one was right in place, but it had no twin to meet it on the bottom.

She has demonstrated great maturity by coming through the valley time with praise on her lips, and desire for only Him. She said “yes Lord” to the good stuff and the hard stuff.

Temples

Your temples are like a slice of a pomegranate
Behind your veil.

Song of Songs 6:7 NASB

Finally, He remarks about her temples or cheeks. She is flushed in His presence. She is passionate for Him. Her desire for Him reddens her countenance.

Jesus loves passion in His bride. In fact he would rather have you completely cold to Him than for you declare yourself for Him and then live half-heartedly toward Him.

Welcome to Spewsville, population … (oh my)

'I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. 'So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. - Revelation 3:15-16 NASB

And notice one final thing today.

Behind your veil.

Her beauty, her devotion, her hunger, her passion, flow from the secret place, behind the veil.

Oh Saints. (oh Ben) will you give yourself to Him in the secret place today? Tomorrow? All your (my) tomorrows?

BenThanks for stopping by today.

You’re a blessing.

Ben

 

 

 

 

 

9

Many Waters - SoS header

Your hair is like a flock of goats
That have descended from Gilead.

Your teeth are like a flock of ewes
Which have come up from their washing,
All of which bear twins,
And not one among them has lost her young.

Your temples are like a slice of a pomegranate
Behind your veil.

Song of Songs 6:5-7 NASB

Today we find the Shepherd King once again describing His maiden. In fact this description is one He has used before. You can find the exact words mingled with another description from Song of Songs 4:1-3

The last time He spoke these words was directly after their wedding. We saw the wedding procession in the end of chapter 3, then chapter 4 begins with the Grooms enthralling description of His beautiful bride.

It was also before the testing she walked through in chapter 5.

At their wedding, He was affirming what He knew was within her, even though it had not been tested by fire, it had not been given a chance to grow. He gave her credit for these marks of maturity (as we will see) before they were visible, even to her.

What this means to us is that God calls those things that are not, as though they are.

He speaks into our future.

And not only into our future circumstance (because that is what consumes our attention)

but

He speaks into our future character (because that is what consumes His attention.) [Tweet This]

The day that He breathes the breath of life into our spirit
The day He calls us His own
The day He adorns us in His wedding garment
The day He burns the filthy clothes we arrived in
The day He chooses us out of the liar’s orphanage
The day He gives us His own name

That is the day He plants His character in us.
That is the day He grafts us into the tree of life.
That is the day He clothes us in Christ.

And that is the day His view of us is 100% Christ and 0% us.

But now we find our maiden, our bride, (ourselves) having come through the fires of trial and what was...

germ
seed
vision
prophecy

...on our wedding day, now is blooming and bearing fruit.

She is (your are) no longer a dark but lovely stranger to grace

Not simply in possession of a promise and a future

She is becoming the image of Christ, being fashioned by the hands of the Potter into something beautiful.

Next time we will look at the specifics of this declaration of Christian maturity Christ sees in His bride, but for today know this.

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. - Philippians 1:6 NASB

IMG_2337Thanks for coming by today.

Walk in the light.

Ben