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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 catches the eye of the King, and He invites 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 gazed at him from afar, but today they make the first moves toward relationship.

Picture a boy who grew up in the faith. He knows the Sunday School stories, perhaps he walked through a confirmation process in his youth. Jesus holds the place of a far off hero, a long ago superstar. Suddenly he encounters Him, perhaps during worship, or his time in the Word—a poignant moment in a sermon. A phrase jumps off the page—a lyric stirs his heart. He gets a glimpse of the beauty of holiness and he's ruined for anything else.

How can we keep this from being a one-time infatuation?

How can we avoid the persistent press of time separating our hearts from His?

She, our Shulamite, faces this question and the Song gives us three ways to keep our relationship with the Lord fresh while we live life in the midst of a world tugging for our attention.

Be Glad – The satisfied soul carries you a long way through the times of separation from  King's chamber. Gladness—joy stands as one of the most powerful forces in life. The presence of the Lord—a visit to the chambers of the Lover of our Souls—stirs up joy. (In His presence is fullness of Joy! Ps 16:11.) Joy creates strength as we step out of the chamber. (The joy of the Lord is our strength. Nehemiah 8:10.) We move from the place of intimacy into the chaos of life with renewed strength fortified by enduring joy.

Rejoice – A worshiping soul refreshes your spirit as the sense of fullness fades. Rejoicing—Praise and Worship—draws the presence of the Lord. When we do not feel or sense His nearness. Worship will call to the surface the resident Spirit of God in us. (God inhabits the praises of His people. Psalm 22:3)

Remember – A thankful remembrance of His words of love and acts of compassion in our lives will hold us for ages. In fact, as we rehearse our testimonies, it stirs up our faith and ignites our expectation for His next act on our behalf. The recounting of a testimony is the seedbed for our next miracle. [Tweet This]

These 3 postures can take us through the “dry” times and hasten the return of the springtime. They will hold us fast to our Savior, even when we are in the valley of apparent separation.

Thanks for coming by this week.

See you next week

Ben

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My beloved has gone to his garden,
To the beds of spices,
To feed his flock in the gardens,
And to gather lilies.

Song of Songs 6:2 NKJV

Our Maiden has been looking for her lover for what seems to be a long while, but as she begins to praise Him, she begins to sense that He is there with her – in His garden – her soul.

It’s so simple it almost seems foolish to say so, but praise draws the presence of the Lord.

Yet You are holy,
O You who are enthroned upon the praises of Israel.

Psalms 22:3 NASB

Oh how I love that verse. I learned it first in the KJV which says He inhabits the praises of Israel.

One way to break those times when it just feels like God is not around is to start praising Him. Begin to talk about Him to others. Go through and begin to speak out the things He has done in your life. Talk about what He is to you. God can hardly resist praise. Praise changes the atmosphere because God is drawn to praise.

This is actually a great reason to keep a record of the things God has done for you and through you. When it’s quiet and everything in you is reporting the lie that He has forsaken you, you can turn to the record, and read about the things the Lord has done for you, in you and through you.

I know when I was younger and my kids were smaller – there were times when I could come home and they would be excited to see me  - the whole “Daddy, Daddy” thing. Let me tell that's just about the sweetest thing, that the “Daddy, Daddy” thing. And that’s the way God feels too. He can’t resist your praise.

I can almost imagine God nudging Gabriel and opening up the curtains of heaven – “Gabe, did you hear what my daughter just said about me!”

Feeling a little God forsaken today?

Pull out your book of remembrance.

Don’t have one yet?

Start today. Think back to the last time you saw Him. What was He up to?

What was the last prayer He answered for you?

Go back there and you might just find Him, right in His garden.

Ben NelsonThanks for stopping by.

See you again soon.

Ben

 

 

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This Song of Songs moves back and forth between narrative, moving the story of the Shepherd King and His maiden bride, and intimate conversations.

The narrative sections depict for us the progression of the life of a fully devoted believer’s walk from interest in the things of God, through intimacy, and into partnership. The conversations give us beautiful pictures of who Christ is to us and in us, as well as how He sees us from His heavenly perspective.

The last bit of narrative had the bride giving her garden, her life, over to the Lover of her soul with nothing held back.

Now we move into a period of the testing of her faith. The Lord will test both areas of her devotion. From the start we've traced her progress on two fronts – intimacy and partnership – the two requests she made of Him in the beginning of the Song. “Draw me after you and let us run together!” (Song of Songs 1:4 NASB)

The Song:

I was asleep but my heart was awake.

A voice! My beloved was knocking:

Open to me, my sister, my darling, 
My dove, my perfect one! 
For my head is drenched with dew,
My locks with the damp of the night.

I have taken off my dress,
How can I put it on again?
I have washed my feet,
How can I dirty them again?

My beloved extended his hand through the opening,
And my feelings were aroused for him.
I arose to open to my beloved;
And my hands dripped with myrrh,
And my fingers with liquid myrrh,
On the handles of the bolt.

I opened to my beloved,
But my beloved had turned away and had gone!
My heart went out to him as he spoke.
I searched for him but I did not find him;
I called him but he did not answer me.

The watchmen who make the rounds in the city found me,
They struck me and wounded me;
The guardsmen of the walls took away my shawl from me.

I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem,
If you find my beloved,
As to what you will tell him:
For I am lovesick."

Song of Songs 5:2-8 NASB

Many commentators look at this as failure – sin – in the maiden, but we will not take that approach. I believe that just as when Abraham finally had his promise in hand and the Lord asked him to give it up, so we can see that the maiden’s resolve is tested on both fronts. I first had this turned around for me by Mike Bickle in his series on the Song of Songs.

This is a meaty passage so don’t miss it.

Ben NelsonThanks for stopping by today.

Don’t forget to shine in the darkness surrounding you.

Ben

photo credit: Mr. T in DC via photopin cc
photo credit: Mr. T in DC via photopin cc

How beautiful is your love, my sister, my bride!
How much better is your love than wine,
And the fragrance of your oils
Than all kinds of spices!

Song of Songs 4:10

It was all the way back in the second line of the Song that our Shulamite maiden called out to her heart throb, this Shepherd King that His love, then just an imagination to her, was better than wine.

She looked at Him from afar, dreamed of a day when He would hold her, when she would breathe Him in, when they would spend luxurious mornings together talking, laughing, loving.

Now they are married, on their honey moon, and the dream is a reality, and the words echo back to her from her past, and from His lips.

This wonderful Shepherd King has taken His place in her life as her King, her Love, her Brother, her Everything, and He breaths those words back to her.

How much better is your love than wine.

This brings me back to the realization of how far Jesus travels to make our relationship work.

Many speak of the Christian life as though it is hard work to keep up our relationship with the Lord, a struggle, a striving, just to keep your faith.

But in this wonderful Song, this picture of the relational nature of faith, we see that her (our) moves are slight, and He (Jesus) is the one leaping over mountains, bringing army’s to bear, and making call after call, pursuing us relentlessly.

One turn of her head, and glance of her eye toward Him and His heart beats faster.

I love that the Lord travels all the distance that separates us when we turn our desire toward Him.

The work of faith is to look to Jesus, turn your eyes on Him.

What a great Savior!

Ben NelsonThanks for coming by today.

Walk in blessing in 2014.

Ben

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Many Waters - SoS header

How beautiful you are, my darling,
How beautiful you are!
Your eyes are like doves behind your veil;
Your hair is like a flock of goats
That have descended from Mount Gilead.

Song of Songs 4:1

Before we dig into this amazing description of the Shulamite through the eyes of the Lover of her soul, I want to step and look at the birds eye view of what’s going on.

The Journey into the Image of Christ

At the end of Chapter 2, you may remember, our maiden demonstrated here own failure, her fear of walking out into that to which the Lord was calling her. Though it was the desire of her heart to run with Him, to follow Him with abandon, in the day of her first calling she held back, she hesitated.

How does the Lord correct His beloved? How does He draw her further? How does He help a Christian grow?

We see a three step plan which not only restores her, but creates a platform for growth in the very area of her weakness.

I want to remind you here. None of us come to the Lord without shortcomings and places we must grow. In fact Christianity is the only club you can join where the only entrance requirement is your lack of qualification.

In some circles the pressure to perform in a Christ-like manner beyond our actual growth creates groups of Pharisee-hearted followers to whom the Lord would say,

"But go and learn what this means: 'I DESIRE COMPASSION, AND NOT SACRIFICE,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners." - Matthew 9:13

The very fact that we are growing in Christ likeness, growing in godliness, says that we have weakness. This growth process is the Christian life. This is, in effect, one of the major patterns of the vibrant Christian life.

Three Step Plan

First, the Lord goes on without her. He let’s her feel His absence. He lets her feel the impact of her choice, the cost of her weakness. God is so good. He draws us forward into areas He know we struggle with, specifically so we can gain personal understanding of why we need to grow out of that weakness.

The next step in her (our) restoration and growth is that Christ shows up and demonstrates His overwhelming strength in that very area of weakness.

She was afraid to go out into the wilderness, so He shows up with sixty armed guards. That is quite a show of force.

Chapter four of the song we find the final step in her restoration, and we will see that she takes a HUGE step of growth in faith when it is all said and done.

Step three consists of affirmation. The Shepherd King now speaks to her for the first time since her failing manifested.

His words are not correction.
He does not speak of disappointment.
He does not speak of any weakness at all.

He affirms her, and declared into her life the beauty and character that He sees.

It is a prophetic declaration, because the Lord sees our potential, and speaks into that potential, so that we can see it too.

As with Peter on the beach after the resurrection, there is no mention of the failure here, only affirmation of who we are called to be, and who He is growing us into.

As we look at these affirmations over the next couple weeks, let them stir up faith in the Lord how is growing you into the image of His Dear Son.

Ben NelsonThanks for stopping by.

Have an awesome Lord’s day.

See you again soon.

Ben