Indeed, our couch is luxuriant! The beams of our houses are cedars, our rafters, cypresses. (Song of Songs 1:16-17 NASB)

I want to observe a couple very simple points today in this wonderful Song of Songs.

Notice the word that is repeated 3 times in this verse and a half? “OUR”

Our maiden is expressing joint ownership.

In verse 4 she said

The king has brought me into His chambers.

Again in verse 12

While the king was at His table

She began with a longing in her heart to be noticed by Him, to be drawn by Him to run with Him. And in my mind it was a long shot in her heart.

But today she is talking about their couch.

Ok – Couch – some (well most) popular translations have it Bed – speaks of the rest that comes in an assurance in her relationship. No longer is she tentative with Him, wondering if He cares for her, or if it was her imagination that His gaze was toward her.

She can rest

And not just sit alone in a chair, but they are seated together.

It is not the picture of the woman with the alabaster box any more when He sat at the table and she washed His feet with her tears, and ointment, and dried them with her hair. Now they are seated on a couch together.

It is luxuriant and green – green speaks of fruitfulness and life. The abundant life seated with Christ in heavenly places. It is a wonderful picture.

Next we see what she notices about the house – the beams and rafters. It is a strong and secure shelter from life’s onslaught. Cedar and cypress will not rot, and last for ages.

This bespeaks the security we can have when we are in a vibrant relationship with Christ. I do not speak of some security based on a point in your history, where you can say, “I prayed a prayer at such and such a time in such and such a place.”

If your security is based on your past, you might want to look at your surroundings. Are you in a house built by the Master Builder with strong and long lasting cedar and cypress, or are you in a shack on the beach, where the crashing waves threaten every day?

Our girl has the security of position (seated with Christ) and location (in a house prepared for her.)

Come back next week.

BenWe are actually going to start Chapter 2!!!!

See you then

Ben

How handsome you are, my beloved, And so pleasant! Indeed, our couch is luxuriant! (Song of Songs 1:16 NASB)

She has been gazing on Jesus – eyes (dove’s eyes) fixed on His wonderful face, and it’s growing on her.

In this first chapter of this wonderful song, she has come from a distant admirer with a crush on this seemingly unattainable man – the Shepherd King – to a place now where they have found one another, and are in love.

As she gazes on Him, and hears His love declared to her, His beauty in her eyes grows, and fills her every thought.

What is it that is so handsome about Jesus?

Isaiah prophesies that He will not be physically attractive:

For He grew up before Him like a tender shoot, And like a root out of parched ground; He has no stately form or majesty That we should look upon Him, Nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him. (Isaiah 53:2 NASB)

So what is His great draw? His holiness.

Oh, worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness! Tremble before Him, all the earth. (Psalm 96:9 NKJV)

There is a beauty to holiness that is not immediately evident. As you behold, gaze on, and ponder the wonderful holiness of the Lord, that which the world despises begins to grow in beauty, until we join in with the words of Keith Green “Oh Lord, You’re beautiful, Your face is all I seek.”

As we draw near to Him and He to us, we come under His correction – sometimes with out a word spoken, and His correction is for one purpose “…that we may be partakers of His holiness.” (Hebrews 12:10 NKJV)

This is our process of transformation. It comes in drawing closer to the Lord and letting Him have access to and reign over more and more of our lives.

Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: (Hebrews 12:14 NKJV)

BenLet’s press into that holiness today.

See you next week.

Ben

Behold, you are fair (beautiful), my love! Behold, you are fair! You have dove’s eyes. (Song of Songs 1:15 NASB)

This is one of my favorite concepts in the Song of Songs, this idea of dove’s eyes.

What do we know about doves?

First, they say doves are [i]monogamous. Not all birds are monogamous. Doves connect and stick with the same bird “till death do them part.” Some even migrate together, but at the very least they spend mating season together.

photo credit: AlicePopkorn via photopin cc
photo credit: AlicePopkorn via photopin cc

What Jesus sees when He looks into the eyes of our maiden is a faithful partner. This is great because she has yet to demonstrate anything that resembles faithfulness, but it is credited to her account on day one of their relationship. The same is true when you enter into a covenant with Jesus. The moment you step into relationship with the Shepherd King, you take on His faithfulness. He is able to present you faultless before His Father with exceeding joy. (That’s a great place to shout.)

Let’s think a bit about the dove in scripture.

Noah sent a dove from the ark as the water was receding. He sent the dove out 3 times. The first time it went out and returned – it found no resting place. The second time it went out and came back with an olive branch. Finally it went out and found a place to live.

Here is a picture I saw tonight as I re-read the account of Noah's dove. In Genesis 1:2 we see the Spirit of God hovering over the water, with nowhere to light. In Mathew 3:16 we see the Spirit of God descending over the waters of Jesus’ baptism. The dove stays for 3 ½ years, but returns again to the ark, this time with an olive branch, that branch from the root of Jesse (Romans 15:12,) the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6.) Finally a short time later, accompanied by the sound of a mighty wind (Acts 2:2,) He again hovers over the earth, and this time He stays – the earnest of our inheritance. (Ephesians 1:13)

So our girl ventures out of her place of safety and tests the waters, and she finds the olive branch of Jesus’ faithfulness.

photo credit: Bill Gracey via photopin cc
photo credit: Bill Gracey via photopin cc

Finally, and this is my favorite, they say doves have unique eyes. Dove’s eyes have a single focal point. They effectively have no peripheral vision.

Here you can understand this one thing is attractive to the Shepherd King about our maiden, her unflinching gaze toward Him. When she looks at Him she sees nothing else.

So it is with you and I. As the old chorus by Helen Lennel goes

[ii]Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

Misty Edwards has written a wonderful song she calls Dove’s Eyes (click for a link to a YouTube of her singing it.) The lyrics are my prayer today. Will you join me?

===

I don't want to talk about You like You're not in the room
I want to look right at You I want to sing right to You

I believe that You are listening
I believe that You move at the sound of my voice

Give me dove's eyes

Give me undistracted devotion for only You

Misty Edwards

===

BenThanks for coming today.

See you next week.

Ben


[i] http://www.ask.com/wiki/Mourning_Dove

My Beloved is to me a cluster of henna blossoms In the vineyards of Engedi. (Song of Songs 1:14 NASB)

Ok – here we go again with these cryptic references to things and places we don’t know.

Let me start today with another “I’m no scholar” disclaimer. I will say that there is great value in scholarship, so please don’t take my admission as any dishonor to the scholars in our midst. Not at all!

That said – here is what I understand:

Engedi was famous for it’s gardens and vineyards. They were mature and well maintained, and famous far and wide for their beauty and sweet fragrances.

Here is the thing – the beauty and fragrance of her Lover point to the fact that unlike her first encounters with religion  - (remember the bucket brigade?) – which were burdensome and full of stress, when she actually gets up close to her Shepherd King it is a sweet fragrance and beauty that can only be compared to this world famous garden.

Throughout the Song we are going to view the vineyard as the personal spiritual life of the believer. As she gazes on Jesus, she sees that a relationship of this kind is nothing like religion.

Sadly, it is all to easy for the most rigorously spontaneous of us to fall into religious patterns, and lose sight of the fact that His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

O beloved, there is such a wonderful freedom and blessed joy that comes with our yoking ourselves with the Lord Jesus.

I pray the Spirit that anointed Jesus for the liberation of each of us would set you free today.

Breath deeply of the fragrance of freedom today.

Ben
Come back next week.

Ben

My Beloved is to me a cluster of henna blossoms In the vineyards of Engedi. (Song of Songs 1:14 NASB)

Today I am going to take a little time to point out a progression in the life of the believer that we are going to follow through the Song of Songs.

It has to do with the focus of our relationship with the Lord.

Our Maiden began the last two statements about her beloved with the phrase “My Beloved is to me…”

Many, if not all of us start here, focusing on what the Lord has done for us. Oh, and by the way, we are in good company, It is, of course, David who tells us “forget not all His benefits” (Psalm 103:2)

How much of our worship has to do with what the Lord is to us.

Let me say again, this is not a bad thing, but it is not the end. There is a higher form of love. And our maiden is going to change.

Consider these other 3 verses spread across the Song.

My beloved is mine, and I am his; He pastures his flock among the lilies. (2:16)

I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine, He who pastures his flock among the lilies. (6:3)

I am my beloved’s, And his desire is for me. (7:10)

Do you see the progression? As her relationship with Christ matures, her focus slowly moves away from herself, and onto Him. [Tweet This] It is no longer what Christ offers her in their life together, but what she can offer Christ.

Check it out:

  • My Beloved is to me
  • My beloved is mine, and I am his
  • I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine
  • I am my beloved’s, And his desire is for me

Do you see the move from self-centered to Christ-centered life?

Christianity is a continuum for sure, and we are all on a journey. I believe you will love the transformation you will see in our Maiden, and if you will lean into your relationship with the Shepherd King, I believe you will love the transformation in your own life.

BenLet’s walk this out together.

See you next week.

Ben

My beloved is to me a pouch of myrrh
Which lies all night between my breasts.

If you stop the man on the street and ask him, “what is myrrh?” most likely he will think you are trying to think of how to ask your question. Myrrh is not a common product today.

Anyone brought up in a society that reads the actual Christmas story will know that Jesus received it as a gift from a stranger from afar. And you might have a sense that with this myrrh comes a strange foreboding.

But that is about as far as our understanding of this ancient spice goes.

Myrrh is only mentioned 16 or 18 times in the Bible, depending on your translation. Eight of them are right here in our Song. Clearly it is a significant picture in this song, so I want to develop it a bit.

Here is what we know:

It is very precious.

When Jacob (now Israel) was preparing a gift for the Egyptian ruler (his son Joseph) who held Benjamin captive, myrrh was among the precious cargo.

Then their father Israel said to them, “If it must be so, then do this: take some of the best products of the land in your bags, and carry down to the man as a present, a little balm and a little honey, aromatic gum and myrrh, pistachio nuts and almonds. (Genesis 43:11 NASB)

Myrrh was an ingredient in the anointing oil God described to Moses when he was setting up the tabernacle as described in Exodus 30:23.

In the New Testament we only have 3 or 4 mentions of the spice.

First, at Jesus Birth Matthew 2:11 tells us that Jesus was given Myrrh at his birth by one of the eastern visitors. Most say that this gift to Jesus was pointing to the death He was born for.

Mark tells us (15:23) that while on the cross they offered Jesus wine mixed with Myrrh to drink, but He refused it.

Finally John tells us in 19:39 the Nicodemus brought 100 pounds of Myrrh and Aloe to prepare Jesus for His burial.

It was commonly used as a burial spice due to the strong scent, but only by the rich due to its extravagant expense.

In the Song we will consider it as a symbol of death, either the death of Christ on the cross for us, or our own daily death of self-denial as we walk out our fellowship in His suffering.

In today’s word picture, our maiden is wearing the myrrh between her breasts, resting upon her heart.

The idea here is that we are rescued by the love that drove Jesus to the cross, and so we wear the symbol of that death close to our heart.

Many today wear a cross of polished gold upon their heart. Some as a fashion statement, some as a religious artifact, but still many because of the reminder of Christ’s horrible death and magnificent resurrection.

This bundle of myrrh is a similar reminder of Christ’s sacrifice, but it carries with it that aroma, the sweet savor of His sacrifice always surrounding us.

Just as Jesus carried to the cross the scent of the spikenard with which Mary washed His feet, so the fragrance of myrrh would go with Him into his tomb. These two wonderful fragrances can only lead us to the high water mark of Christ’s love for us, the wonderful Cross.

BenThanks for stopping by.

More on the song next week.

Ben

While the king was at his table,
My perfume (spikenard) gave forth its fragrance.
(Song of Songs 1:12 NASB)

I don’t know about you, but when I read this line I cannot help but think of the woman – Mary – who crashed the Pharisee’s party and washed Jesus' feet with her tears, and dried them with her hair, and then broke open her alabaster box of ointment and lavished it on the Saviors feet.

Mary therefore took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. (John 12:3 NASB)

I know that there are markers in each account that might make them seem like more than one story, but I choose to blend them into one telling.

The story of Mary washing Jesus’ feet is the essence of the transformed life.

Mary has a history, probably a woman of the night, demon possessed, and given over to sin. She may well have been the woman caught in adultery.

But there is more to her history than her past. (I like the sound of that) [Tweet This]

She was forgiven! Her past sins were unwritten, blotted out.

Those in the room with her could not see it. They still saw the loose woman.

But that woman no longer existed.

Now, in the shell that used to hold a whore, there was a worshiper.

The heart that used to shut down for a one night stand, was now a heart that poured out a life savings, wasted, squandered, lavished upon the feet of one man, her heart forever His.

Have you known this transformation?

Do you know this love?

Throw yourself at the feet of Jesus and hear those words whispered to your heart – Your sins are forgiven, go and sin no more.

BenThanks for reading today.

See you next week.

Ben

Related articles:

The scent of Jesus

One Act of Worship

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