“Your cheeks are lovely with ornaments, your neck with strings of beads.” (Song of Songs 1:10 NASB)

As we look at the Shepherd King’s[i] words toward our maiden fair we are going to see Him use dozens of word pictures. Last week we looked at an example of an image from nature, this week we see Him muse about her appearance.

He will get pretty explicit as the song goes on, and I will attempt to make some sense of how it applies to the believer’s life.

Today we look at cheeks.

What good are cheeks?

Read the Cheeks!
Read the Cheeks!

They are like the emotional thermometer God has installed in each one of us. They rise and fall with our moods, and flush and pale with our passions.

Emotions are a funny thing in the church. For many years, centuries perhaps the church has frowned upon any display of emotion. I can remember as a 20 something singing a song in church where the lyrics said “I lift my hands up, unto Thy name” and looking around to see 8 hands in the air, in a room of 150 people.

We, the Church, have a limited view of God’s emotions as well. We have a God who is happy and smiling the day we repent and come to Him, and then angry with us every day after that, because we are not walking in complete submission to His will.

This is messed up.

God created us with a broad range of emotions and passions, and they are intended to bring the most out of our lives. There are ways to experience each of our God-given emotions in a way that pleases Him. [Tweet This]

When He looks at our cheeks he is pleased. When we look on Him, He sees the flush of our excitement to be in His presence, and our passion for Him and His will for us.

What about these ornaments?

Ornaments are adornments made for us by skilled artisans to bring out the beauty in our cheeks.

This may sound crazy, but I believe one adornment is worship. When we worship the Lord we engage our emotions, and take the skillful work of others – Poets, Songwriters, Musicians, Artists – and let it bring out the beauty in our emotion. We let our emotions do that for which they were created – bring Glory to Jesus.

Does that make sense?

I know it helps me.

BenThanks for stopping in.

See you next week.

Ben


[i] For the purposes of this series the Shepherd King represents Jesus in our reading of the Song, and the maiden is the individual believer. You can see the discussion on this in my earlier post – “Interpretation – Song of Songs Saturday

I have compared you, my love, To my filly among Pharaoh’s chariots. (Song of Songs 1:9 NKJV)

This always reminds me of the scene in the movie A Knights Tale where William Thatcher is trying to woo the maiden Jocelyn and well sticks his hoof in his mouth.

She asks him to speak beautiful words to her, and this is what ensues:

William:

I will win this tournament for you.

Jocelyn:

Excuse me?

William:

I'll win this tournament in your name. I'll defeat each knight for you.

Your beauty will be reflected in the power of my arm and my horse's flanks.

Jocelyn:

Wow.

Really?

Really? lts flanks?

Not his finest hour.

But the real issue here is that we don’t understand life in a completely agrarian society. Live stock and crops were the currency and wealth of the day. So much of what we will read in these pages relates to life in that society.

So what is our Shepherd King thinking when He compares the Shulamite to a filly among Pharaoh’s chariots?

There are a couple interesting things going on in this comment.

First off, this is actually the only time this Hebrew word is found in the Bible. It’s root comes up more often, but this word specifically pointing to a filly or mare, some even think it should be a group of fillies.

Next He speaks of Pharaoh’s chariots, not the chariots of Israel. He does not say “the Kings Chariots,” but rather points to the world famous fleet of chariots of His most impressive adversary.

Here is the thing.

She is feeling like a new comer, one who is barely capable of caring for her own presentation. She looks in the mirror and sees dark and worldly. She looks around her in the community, and everyone is doing better than she is. She is totally frustrated at her inability to look like everyone else in the Church.

Then He likens her to one of the most prestigious, well-trained, talented, and impressive beasts known to man.

He is saying to her, when I look at you, I do not see the dark and dusty woman of the world, stumbling at every turn. I see your potential as a one who is ready to lead an army into battle, one trained and well disciplined. I see what you are created to be, not where you are in your journey.

This helps me. I know when I fail, or fall short, He sees me not lying on the ground in a heap, but victorious, then he helps me up, brushes me off, and sets me back on my path toward maturity.

Yay God. Thank you Jesus.

This makes me happy.

BenThanks for coming by.

Stop in next week and get a look at what else He sees in you.

Ben

If you yourself do not know, Most beautiful among women, Go forth on the trail of the flock, And pasture your young goats By the tents of the shepherds. (Song of Songs 1:8 NASB)

When our girl asks how to get back into a good place with Jesus, He gives a 3 part answer.

Last week we looked two of the 3 – the bookends.

The first is to live in community – go forth on the trail of the flock

By the tents of the shepherds – walk in relationship with leaders

Today I want to talk about the one in the middle. I kind of stepped over it last week.

“And feed your little goats” (Song of Songs 1:8 NKJV)

medium_2470532891

She got into this mess because having been in a place of wonderful worship, and falling so completely in love with Jesus, she basically got her self involved in everything anyone suggested for her. And believe me, hang around the church for a bit, and you will find plenty to do.

But get this, the solution is not complete abstinence from participation, not pulling back out of fellowship and ministry. Not at all.

The solution is found in walking in community, submitting to godly leadership, and taking on the care and feeding of YOUR little goats.

Let’s unpack that a bit.

Where the NKJV uses the word feed, the NASB says pasture and the NIV says graze. This young Jesus Lover is not told to come up with amazing revelation for a mature flock, but to lead the ones that the Lord has drawn to her into safe and nurturing fields where they can graze in safety.

At one time in my life there was a brand new Christian in my work place. She was like a wonderful sponge and would eat up anything put before her. The biggest challenge was to keep her from listening to some of the crazies on the radio and TV, and get her hooked up with some good safe Bible basics.

This is exactly the method Jesus used when restoring Peter. Do you remember? Peter had failed the Lord and really felt like he had no right to be taking up any more of Jesus time. He was ashamed because he totally blew it and denied the Lord 3 times when Jesus was in big trouble.

But Jesus came to him and asked him 3 times (once for each denial?) “Do you love Me?”

Each time Peter affirmed “You know I love you”

And each time Jesus said “feed my sheep.” With slight variations

Jesus had the same restoration advice for Peter as he did for our maiden

But here is the important thing. He does not say, “get involved, do whatever they ask of you” He says care for the ones I put in your care. Our involvement must be Spirit led and directed or it will crush us every time.

We were created for works that God designed for us, and designed us for. These are the only works that you will be able to do well long term. [Tweet This]

So today, start saying “No” when the Spirit is not giving you a “Yes” and start feeding the little goats that the Lord has drawn to your side.

BenDirector3CroppedThanks for stopping by today!

See you next week

Ben

photo credit: zaser via photopin cc

If you yourself do not know, Most beautiful among women, Go forth on the trail of the flock, And pasture your young goats By the tents of the shepherds. (Song of Songs 1:8 NASB)

Now our girl has suffered some abuse and some frustration at the hand of her mother’s sons, and her heart cries out for only one man, the lover of her soul.

But God’s intention is that we live our out our love affair with Jesus with some guidance.

The shepherds.

These are people in our lives who are throwing kindling on the warm embers of our passion, and fanning it into flame. They draw us forward toward the place where the Good Shepherd is tending His flock.

Especially in the US we have this fierce independence, and easily fall for the lie that ‘we don’t need no stinkin’ pastors,’ or ‘Jesus is my Pastor.’

That is a bunch of phooey!

We need to live in community with those who are headed where we are headed.

David lamented ‘No man cared for my soul.’

Don’t let you passion for Christ alone drive you away from the body. It’s not a perfect system, and you won’t find a perfect Church, but get a shepherd in your life.

Maybe they won’t have the title ‘Pastor’ but God has people around you for a reason.

BenDirector3CroppedThanks for stopping by.

See you next week.

Ben

…O fairest among women... (Song of Songs 1:8 NKJV)

He speaks! Verse 8 contains the Shepherd’s first words in the Song.

MagicmirrorFairest of them all!

With all our girl is stressing over:

  • The conflict of inner and outer cleanliness
  • The abuse of her mother’s sons
  • The disrepair of her vineyard
  • Her feeling of separation

See how He addresses her.

Most beautiful among women (NASB)

He sees her as beautiful, most beautiful – the fairest of them all!

The common meaning of the word fair does not do this verse justice. [yep – I just used fair and justice together] If it weren’t for Snow White’s evil witch and her mirror query, we would not even know that fair means beautiful.

Let me explain something amazing about Jesus here.

Heb 12:2 says that Jesus, for the joy set before Him endured the cross. The reason Jesus went to the cross, is that He could see something about you and I that we, even today, are not seeing clearly.

You say, I am dark and beautiful, but Jesus says, I see the one My Father created unto good works. I see a completely successful, with fully realized potential son or daughter. I saw that while you were still my enemy. I saw that when you were actively hostile toward Me. That is why I laid down my life.

Now you may not walk in our full potential, but God sees you that way. You are beautiful to Him.

raw diamondThink of the diamond cutter who sees the finished gem in the dirty rock. God can see what He created you for.

Don’t get me wrong, you will answer for what you do with all that potential, but when you turn your faces toward the Shepherd, He sees what you can be, and loves you and puts all His unlimited resources in action to get you moving toward that amazing ‘you’ that He sees.

God Bless you today – Turn your attention toward the Shepherd today and walk toward the ‘you’ He sees!

Remember:

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

There is much more to say – so come back next week.

BenDirector3CroppedYou’re beautiful

Ben

Because of the fragrance of your good ointments, Your name is ointment poured forth; (Song of Songs 1:3 NKJV)

What is fragrance?

What does it do?

Here’s the thing. When our Song speaks of fragrance it is not talking actions. Not the visible actions of a Shepherd King, but rather the invisible features 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 God does not change so 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 week 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]

Observe:

When He said His name was JEHOVAH-TSID-KENU  "The Lord is our righteousness" He was demonstrating His passion to make you the righteousness of God in Him.

When He said His name was JEHOVAH-SHALOM  - Our perfect peace - He was demonstrating His passion to come as the Prince of Peace and demolish all that stands between you and peace with God.

When He said His name was JEHOVAH RAPHA  - I am the Lord Your Physician or I am the Lord Your Healer – He was demonstrating 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 His 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. (2 Corinthians 2:14-16 NASB)

The fact is, as our life declares 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 you stand for Christ your life 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 magic words, or secret formulae 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. Has declaration of His Name changed your reality?

Come back next week for more of the Song. Believe me, we are just scratching the surface here.

Ben